'The passion of our predecessors is gone'

On the anniversary of June 16 1976, 33 years after Hector Pieterson was carried away by Mbuyisa Makhubo, we the new generation reflect on the meaning of Youth Day.

Our new hip-hop religion has encouraged cultural and racial diversity among the youth, but sadly also engenders perverse conceptions of what is considered commercially cool, beautiful and admirable.

It has influenced the perceptions of young people to such an extent that we measure success, power and love in terms of money. Anything bling is cool. Not only excessive jewellery but also fancy cars, designer suits and estate-style living.

Our media revel in the culture of celebrating celebrity, even when they report on politicians. As artists such as JayZ, Chriss Brown and Rihana are captured on the red carpet, so are politicians and their families given celebrity status. What will Jacob Zuma be wearing to his state-of-the-nation address? What car does Dudu Zuma drive?

When considering our struggle, names such as Tokyo Sexwale and Cyril Ramaphosa come to mind. Back then they were activists, free-thinkers and comrades. Today they are politicians and successful businessmen who live the good life.

Today the youth aspires to fame, fortune and indulgence. Though we still fight a battle for quality education , the passion with which our predecessors fought is long gone. We know that young Hector died for the abolition of Bantu education and youth involvement in the struggle. What this means for the youth today is: don' t stop fighting for what is rightfully ours, the ideals for which our forebears fought.