Pretoria – As the country commemorates Freedom Month, Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo has called on young people to guard and respect their freedom.
“Many people in the world died in order for you to enjoy this freedom. We owe it to those who paid the supreme price for us to be here today. This freedom came at a huge cost and the youth should guard it jealously, [along with] the democracy that comes with it,” said Minister Dlodlo on Tuesday.
She was addressing learners from schools around Gauteng during a Youth Dialogue held at Liliesleaf Farm in Johannesburg, which used to be the nerve centre of the liberation movement and a place of refuge for its leaders.
The objective of today’s dialogue was to start on-going discussions with the youth on what it means to them to “OWN YOUR FREEDOM”, the tag used to follow the discussion on social media.
The learners voiced their views on what they think works well and doesn’t in the country, and the areas in which they would like to see improvements from government and corporate South Africa.
The Minister said even while she was in exile, their resolve to see the country liberated remained strong.
“With no political education and degrees, we understood the politics of the world and balance of forces around the world. Peace became our [guide], and that’s the peace we leave to you to fight for,” Minister Dlodlo said.
She said the new democratic government has opened up a world of possibilities that did not exist before 1994. She encouraged learners to exercise their rights and responsibilities prudently.
“The government is enjoined by the Constitution to ensure that the environment is conducive for you to exercise your fundamental human rights,” Minister Dlodlo said.
Own your freedom
Academic and social activist, Professor Itumeleng Mosala, echoed Minister Dlodlo’s words, strongly urging the youth to “own and share in freedom”.
“This freedom has been achieved but it can still be defended. Make a commitment to defend it for life. Own your freedom, defend and protect it,” said Professor Mosala.
Speaking to SAnews, learner Joshua Mabasa, from KwaBhekilanga High School in Alexandra, said South Africans must first know their rights and responsibilities so that action can be taken if they are being violated.
“We have to show respect for the people who died for freedom. It didn’t come easy. The fight is still on and we must continue fighting for equality and equal human rights,” said the 18-year-old.
For 16-year-old Leela Devar from Randburg, owning your freedom means embracing it and taking advantage of what the country has achieved.
Devar said the dialogue was important because communication is a key to making sure that freedom is apparent.
“We as the youth must own this freedom and talk to the older generation so that they can understand our needs and wants, so that they can also educate us on what we are taking advantage of, which we shouldn’t,” said Devar. – SAnews.gov.za