South Africa: Organised Young People Are the Enablers of a Just Education System

The capacity of young people to organise is a tool for liberation in South Africa’s communities. Young people have long played a key role in the fight for a just education system and society.

On 17 June 1976, learners came together in Tembisa, a township on the East Rand, to march in solidarity with Soweto learners whose uprising was changing our country.

In 2012, 36 years later, Equal Education (EE) members — most of whom were learners — were inspired by the activism of their predecessors as they marched that same road at the beginning of the struggle for decent school toilets in Tembisa.

A year after that, the power that we as young people have to force positive change for the schooling system was proven when the basic education minister was pressured to adopt a historic school infrastructure law that binds the department to provide basic infrastructure to all schools.

Yolanda Sewela

But as we commemorate the lives of the class of ’76, many of whom died fighting for quality education, and we appreciate the victories of the youth of today, we are painfully aware that we are “not yet Uhuru”.

Many of the promises of the democratic government…

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