About a week back on June 16th, South Africa celebrated 36 years since the popularized and respected youth uprising that happened in Soweto (and later other parts of South Africa). A day that started off as a normal day for many students who were involved, ended up a brutal slaying of young and old, an etching of the youth struggle into the minds of future generations and a ripple in the waves of the butterfly effect that liberated South Africans.
The march was planned by SRC's and was intended to be a peaceful demonstration and the students were to march from school to school picking up fellow students, and meeting at a central point in Orlando Stadium. A plan that was never fully realized. Tsietsi Mashinini, one of the instrumental leaders in the fight for freedom and one of the organizers, addressed the students in a plea to keep them calm after reports that police were coming. If this were a movie, one would know that trouble was brewing and lives would be changed. The rest as they say is history. Many have reported the happenings thereafter, and how many students and people were killed and injured. As history has come to tell us, 12 year old Hector Peterson's death is the symbol of the Youth Uprising and the picture of his death reminds us of what it meant to be a young, black person living in the apartheid era. And as history has come to forget, 15 year old Hastings Ndlovu, the first student to be shot who died much later in hospital from a bullet wound to the head.
Fast forward to 2012.
Today we live in a democratic society. So much has changed and so much more has stayed the same. We are challenged with unemployment, inadequate or lack of education, a steep living standard, lack of affordability, poverty, impoverishment, and most tragically lack of knowledge or lack of desire to seek knowledge amongst other things. The rate of crime increases every day as the youth seem to teach themselves that survival means taking (life) from another, not working to receive. This is not helped by the fact that the same youth are educated, but unemployed. We get told that in order to succeed, we have to be educated. Yet we sit at home, day to day, watching the years go by and nothing comes of that education. Anyway, this is not the point I am trying to get to.
If you observe social networks and read what the country's young 'thought leaders' have to say, you will pick up a trend. I observe such medium, dominantly Twitter where even the voiceless clearly have a voice. The trend I have picked up is that most of them seem to be asking themselves (in turn us spectators) what our revolution will be. What will we be remembered for? What will be written in history books about us? What wars will we win? What systems are we going to change? How much blood will we shed in order to be legendary? And the like...
Now I don't have a problem much with these questions per se, because they are valid questions. My problem is the pressure to repeat history that they seem to invoke. Why is there a demand for history makers and so called philosophers? I doubt the people in our history planned to make history. History cannot be planned, it happens by itself. And considering that we are living in the present, we should not be worrying ourselves about what kind of history we are going to leave behind. The future people will decide on what to take and what to leave out of our generation.
However, each person in their own capacity should strive to be historic. No, not all of us are politically inclined, not all of us will join the military, or get to invent life changing products and services. The people who fall into this category will make their own contribution to history books, but not all of them will make it. Also, being historic is not only based on challenges and struggles. Musicians, filmmakers, designers, actors, doctors, prostitutes, drug-lords make it into history books too. So do you see why I say that each person should in their own capacity strive to be historic. Our thought leaders should stop pressuring us into a wrong kind of revolution, they should be recognizing the evolutionary in all of us, and strive to nurture that.
History does not have to be tragic, it can be beautiful, enlightening, fun, insightful, trendsetting, motivating in ways never seen before. But we all have to recognize the need for each of us to spend intimate time learning the history of those before us. Because in order for us to understand ourselves as people, we should understand how it is that we became what we are as a country today. Some of this knowledge is hidden to the average person, because it is so powerful that it would elevate us as a people to extreme hights. But seeking it and exhausting all information sources will change your life. Guaranteed!
Unfortunately, we are distracted. Our time is filled with technology, social networking, socialism and little things that ensure that we have no time to seek knowledge. Try find how many young people have reading as their hobby today, find out how many of the read proper newspapers, find out how many of them understand consciousness. They exist, but a large number of young people have YOLO motto's, want an ass like Nicki Minaj's and wanna be bad girls like Rihanna and have no idea that book stores exists, debate teams, creative hubs and public speaking platforms.
I want to make history, even if that history means a legacy for my future children and stories that get passed on from generation to generation. I am not going to be a politician, I am not a philosopher, I will not be fighting for a better South Africa for all, or any of those things. I am, however, going to do what I love doing. I am going to perfect my craft, and through that, my history will be made.