Youth all over the world face same challenges
The challenges faced by the youth are the same regardless of where they come from.
This was the consensus when young people across the world converged on a webinar on Sunday evening to discuss issues affecting the youth in their countries.
From racism, youth unemployment to gender-based violence, the group - mostly comprising of young people from the US and Africa - shared their experiences which were similar in many ways.
One of the panellist, Bontle Mhlungu, who currently lives in the US, argued that people who shouted "All Lives Matter" during the Black Lives Matter protests were detached from reality.
“The statement by saying that all lives matter you’re insinuating that we’re all on the same level, that there’s no struggle between anyone and that anyone should be okay and that we’re all fine, but act of the matter is that if all lives matter then none of us would be in this situation we’re in now,” Mhlungu said.
Zoe Richardson, also from the US, said she believed the people screaming all lives matter were merely trying to reduce the fight for black lives to nought.
“All lives matter is just a way for a lot of people to kind of cut down black lives matter and say, "well, if we’re not included then, it shouldn’t matter", which isn’t right,” Richardson said.
“As long people know that black lives matter is a movement and we’re being killed in the streets and nobody cares about us except for black people, it will be helpful to the future for people to understand that and learn and grow.”
The group of about 50 young people also discussed the need to transform education which they agreed was not sustainable in today’s world.
Bonno Kgoboge from Botswana said he found it difficult to even do his taxes when he went to varsity because the education system does not equip students with such skills.
“The things we’re being taught in school, we can’t really utilise them when we actually get into the real world,” Kgoboge said.
“For instance, even after I finished high school I couldn’t do tax for one, I couldn’t understand the basics of mortgages – how do loans work – just simple things that I feel like I would have needed before I actually started at university. So, I think the transformation in the education system is key.”
Khanyi Bingwa said she believed a lot of political leaders “missed the mark” when it comes to addressing youth unemployment where they continuously fail to give young people positions of authority.
“They were once the youth and they were trusted to be in those positions and now they are hogging those and not wanting to move,” Bingwa said.
“If you, as our government, do not believe in us in being in those positions to become ministers at our young age then what is it [that you’re doing]? Corporate is telling us we’re not good enough and now you the government is also saying we’re not good enough.”
Convenor and medical practitioner Dr Fundile Nyathi said: “I hope in some ways these conversations have been able to just give you a sense of the commonality because we sometimes think that just because we’re in different continents there’s a lot that is different between us, but there’s actually so much is common.”