June 16 2013

The dj’s desks were ready and armed in the company of the biggest, loudest speakers on the market.

Nicely ironed school uniforms crisply hung outside wardrobe doors in anticipation to be worn.

It was not just a long weekend, it was both father’s and youth day.

Drinks had been bought on Friday afternoon and they were enough to keep you hang-overed for the rest of your life.

There were celebrations everywhere. Even an amateur dj had a gig.

The theme as proposed by people unknown to us; “working together for youth development and a drug free South Africa”. It meant nothing, we are educated, unemployed and drugs are our only sense of freedom.

I rose to the most annoyingly loud sound of a house or was it a kwaito track? Never mind. And then it hit me; this is a public holiday and sadly, that is all it will ever be to some.

It is a Sunday and a very special one at that, so hold the thought of an early morning church service. My compatriots need to defeat the hang-over accumulated on the early hours of this morning with a tender, delicious braaied meat. This will be followed by an ice cold cider or should it be a steaming hot tot?

A hang-over murdering breakfast was followed by a visionless loiter around the neighborhood until the time for the important qualifying soccer match came.

They sat in front of a 54 cm television screen, every one looked tidy in their black and white uniform. They didn’t know the significance of their outfit but it felt appropriate.

Have you ever been in Hillbrow and witnessed Nigerian brothers having a conversation in their native language? Well, the noise in this house was nothing compared to that. There was bickering, swearing and at one time I swore the television set was seeing its last minute.

When Bafana Bafana scored a magnificent own goal, that was the end of it. This sorrow needed to be shed, fast. Beers were out of the refrigerator, into hands right into the blood stream.

The speakers showed us what they were made of. The noise level tripled the one my ears were settling to. This was like a shebeen on a pay day evening. For a mere conversation, the voice needed to reach the highest frequency possible.

Vuvuzela’s had been abandoned and lifeless. Beer was now doing the talking. Secrets were revealed.

My compatriots are young and to them, this is a celebration, a joyful noise that means freedom.

In 1976, it was a different story. A tale that means little today to those who enjoy the fruits of its outcome.

Learners took it upon themselves and marched with the purpose of breaking oppression boundaries. This became a battle which saw some of them take their last breath.

In pursuit of equality, recognition and freedom, innocent young souls became victims of tear gas and rubber bullets. In 1976, youngsters traveled a journey to youth emancipation.

Today we celebrate, in whichever way that suits our mood a freedom that took away lives.

After 37 years, the wrath, has little if any meaning at all. We could be lost, we could be lacking knowledge, we could be clueless but we’re lucky because in a non impressive way, we portray freedom. The human in our young mind has forgotten, as people are prone to, the minor things we take for granted were achieved through the shedding of blood.

Today we are emancipated from the chains that held the 1976 youth but we too face boundaries which shrink our magnitude. We however attempt to break these boundaries single handedly in a thousand different directions.

June 16 2013, maybe you could have done it more differently and maybe you did achieved the best results and maybe you spend it commemorating the day your father walked out of your life and never came back, maybe even that thought was difficult to trace for you were just an embryo when he left. No matter your form of expressing appreciation and way of commemorating, I hope you had a fruitful youth and father’s day.


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