No: 2

Winter 2001

A future for
young South Africans

On June 16, 1976, hundreds of school children from Soweto in South Africa marched through the township protesting against the Afrikaans language being taught in their schools -- it was the language of their white oppressors. The South African security forces blocked their path and opened fire on the children, killing dozens and wounding many more.

The Communist Party of South Africa fought with the ANC and the Trade Unions to end apartheid. Today, the Communist Party is the largest political party in South Africa, and many communists hold important posts in the ANC-led Government.

The Party has sent this message to the young people of South Africa on the 25th anniversary of the Soweto massacre:

As we celebrate 25 years of June 16 and the role of young people in the struggle to free our country from apartheid, we also address the role young people must play in our new South Africa and in the future. We must also talk about the interests, needs and lives of young people today and how we can build a bright future for young people.

During apartheid, many young people were active in the struggle to defeat apartheid. However they were not made real players in education, the state, the economy, and other institutions in society. As a result, many young people in our country continue to live under racism, poverty, unemployment, lack of housing, lack of free and good education, HIV/AIDS, criminality and violence.

The majority of young people who face these grim conditions are black, and young black women are the worst affected.

The main reason young people, in particular young black women, lead an intolerable life is the combined and cruel legacy of apartheid and capitalism. This legacy means a good life for a few and an intolerable life for the majority.

The bosses exploit our parents, brothers and sisters at work in order to get maximum profits at the expense of poor and working people. They want an economy which only serves them through cuts on social services, privatisation, and disinvestment from our country. Cutting social services means less tax and more profits for the bosses and less money for education, health, public transport and other social services. This means inequality.

If we do not challenge this, then young people in our country will not have a realistic hope of a better life in the future.

Young people are already challenging this situation through demands for a better education, job creation projects, their music, their own sub-culture and young role models such as Nkosi Johnson and the struggle against HIV/AIDS.

In other words, young people everywhere are plucking up courage to fight for a world which meets the basic needs of all people as a basis for addressing their own needs and interests as young people.

The future for young people is socialism. "Build it now!"

This socialism is not about big words. It is about all the good things young people want in life-a good and free education, recreation, access to health, employment, housing, access to culture, no crime and violence and a good environment.

Socialism is the opposite of what the bosses want and do. Socialism is the opposite of what young people experience today. Socialism means a better life for young people and all South Africans. It also means the ownership and control of the economy by the people.

Young people have the most to gain from a socialist South Africa that will place poor and working people at its centre. Through building socialism the future will truly belong to young people in our country.

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