Youth can do Mzansi very proud

I AM fortunate to be a young person growing up in South Africa.

I AM fortunate to be a young person growing up in South Africa.

But today's youth is receiving a lot of criticism, often being accused of lacking ambition, purpose and responsibility.

We are often associated with crime, drugs and risky sexual behaviour, while facing challenges including HIV-Aids, unemployment and maintaining the democracy many young people of the past died for.

Though many people do not believe that we can meet these challenges, I can assure you that the future of South Africa is safe in our hands!

I cannot deny that there are problems, that there are people who are guilty of the things society often accuses us of - but I am certain even the rotten potatoes among us have not spoilt the whole bag - so to speak.

There are still many young people who bring hope. My circle of friends is blessed with such people.

We all have diverse dreams and goals for our lives.

I want to be an engineer. Some of my pals want to be politicians. Others yearn to conquer the business world.

I think this is most evident in the fact that in the new South Africa the number of people striving to attain a higher education increases every year.

That is why we should be grateful to the people who fought yesterday's battles so that people might begin to see the youth through my pair of spectacles; though which I don't only see the problems among the youth, but I also see promising young people.

Young men and young women that are determined to make a success of their lives; understanding their responsibility to contribute and participate in the betterment of their country.

That is why I believe in today's youth; and in a better tomorrow; in the hands of the youth, tomorrow's leaders.

l This is an edited version of Mnelisi Gasa's entry to the 2009 Anglo American and Sowetan Young Communicators Awards, in which he came third.