The Youth Must Discover their Mission

16 June 2023
Abahlali Youth League Statement

The Youth Must Discover their Mission

Last night the Abahlali baseMjondolo Youth League hosted a well-attended political education camp from 6:00 pm till 6:00 am. The discussions were rich.

We agreed that being poor and young does not mean that we cannot think and participate meaningfully in the governing of our communities and the country.

We are residents of this country and we must be afforded the opportunity to have a voice in how our communities and the country are governed. In order to participate in democratic life we need to build our power by organising from below.

The ANC has brought the whole country into a serious crisis. We have grown up seeing our parents suffer under the ANC led government. Now we as poor young people face a terrible situation. Youth unemployment is over 60%. This is the highest youth unemployment rate in the world. Schools are in a very bad state and most of us cannot access tertiary education. We must face very difficult living conditions in shacks, including the constant risk of fires and floods. We also face the constant risk of violence, including from the state. We live in a mafia state ruled by a mafia party.

Many young people who should be contributing to society with the energy of youth are sitting at home, often suffering from anxiety and depression. We are deeply worried about our own futures, and the future of the country. Many young people have lost hope, and some have turned to drugs and alcohol to ease their pain. The whoonga (heroin) epidemic is doing serious damage to people and families, and there is no support to help with this crisis in which a drug mafia linked to the political mafia and the police exploit the pain of young people to enrich themselves.

We have been completely abandoned by the government. We are not a lost generation. We are an abandoned generation. But as Frantz Fanon teaches us “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfil it, or betray it.” We will follow the example of Lindokuhle Mnguni, Ayanda Ngila, Nqobile Nzuza and others and stand up for our lives, for our future, for our country and for what is right.

The ANC has failed the youth of this country and therefore we must vote with our conscious and not with our emotions about the struggle of the past. The ANC of today has nothing to do with the youth who rebelled in 1976. The ANC has betrayed the struggle and the nation. They are our new oppressors. It is time for the ANC to step aside.

But while it is vital that the ANC is removed from power an alternative form of power must be built from the ground up, by democratic organising. It is only by building the power of the oppressed from below that we can build a country in which each person is respected, democratic institutions – including a proper education system – built and power, land and wealth shared fairly. In eKhenana the youth played a leading role in turning an occupation into a commune and we need to follow this example in all our occupations and work towards building a movement of communes, and an international movement of movements.

With so many young people not working or studying it is important that we develop our sports and culture projects, that we continue our political education projects and, also, that we continue to develop our food sovereignty projects.

Last night’s camp was a successful gathering which came up with serious resolutions for the Youth League and affirmed its commitment to play a leading role in building our movement, umbutho wabampofu, into a home for the oppressed that is also a powerful force for building socialism from below.

Thandeka Thusini 076 647 9641
Lindokuhle Motha 0 66 129 4815
Ndumiso Bonginkosi Mhlongo 064 090 3941