Maverick Citizen

CIVIL SOCIETY WATCH 14 – 20 JUNE 2021

This week: Youth Day walks of resistance and reflection on the impact of civil society

Construction worker Mathew Bhodho waits for work along with about 200 other job seekers at a road junction in Cape Town on 24 June 2020. Unemployment among young people stands at 74.7% in South Africa. (Photo: EPA-EFE/NIC BOTHMA)

This week marks the 45th anniversary of the Soweto Uprising – young people will take to the streets in various parts of the country to voice their demands around burning issues. Meanwhile, civil society will reflect on its role in building legitimacy in African states and how to stand in solidarity with Palestine.

“I don’t have a dream job any more. It’s all about survival now. It’s not about having a dream job because that’s impossible. I wish South Africa would take the youth seriously… trust us and groom us. We are not lazy. We take the opportunities so give them to us.” 

This is according to Zuko Ntsonkotha, one of the young people who spoke to Maverick Citizen in the lead-up to Youth Day 2021. They shared their experience of working hard to educate themselves only to be let down as the government and businesses put obstacles in their way. Youth unemployment is 74.7% in South Africa.

On 16 June, South Africa will mark the 45th anniversary of the Soweto Uprising. Here are some of the ways young people in 2021 will spend the day:

Gauteng youngsters are meeting in the Makause informal settlement in Ekurhuleni at 9am to unite against xenophobia. This is a response to a xenophobic gathering the same day and time in Soweto.

There will be a “walk of resistance” in Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap to: 

  1. Stop the Amazon development;
  2. Stop gentrification;
  3. Save heritage sites;
  4. Demand a Khoi and San TRC; and
  5. The fall of “all colonial statues”.

The walk will begin at the Bo-Kaap Museum at 11am.

Youth Capital will take the Youth Day discussion online. It has invited activists to discuss how young people can use social and digital media to amplify their voices. They will also answer questions about how to ensure digital activism creates tangible results. Join the Facebook Live discussion here at 11am.

All tours will be free on 16 June at Constitution Hill. Space is limited so book online here.

Iziko Museums of South Africa is offering free entry to the South African Museum, South African National Art Gallery, Bo-Kaap Museum, Slave Lodge Museum and the Maritime Centre.

The rest of the week…

On Tuesday, 15 June, researchers from the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance will discuss the role of civil society in building legitimacy in African states. Join the virtual discussion here at 10am.

Later that day, journalists from the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project will discuss how global financial systems contribute to corruption in Africa. To join the webinar at 5.30pm, they ask that you make a small donation, after which you will be sent the registration link.

On Thursday, 17 June, activists and researchers from South Africa and abroad will discuss how to stand in solidarity with Palestine. The webinar will be hosted by the International Labour Research and Information Group at 4pm. Register for the webinar here.

On Friday, 18 June, the spotlight turns to health journalism in South Africa during the pandemic. Science and health journalist Tamar Kahn will be in conversation with Maverick Citizen editor Mark Heywood and researcher Professor Francois Venter. They will discuss whether clinicians, scientists and politicians have been “a help or a hindrance” to health journalism during this time. Tune into the conversation here at 2pm. DM/MC

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