South Africa celebrates Youth Day today, June 16, commemorating the Soweto schoolchildren gunned down in the 1976 uprisings, and the struggle for education and opportunity that SA youth have been involved in ever since.
The 1976 protests against an unjust, repressive education system that forced African schoolchildren to learn in Afrikaans, rather than their mother tongues, were an important milestone in the continuing struggle for accessible quality education and a decolonised, African-focused curriculum.
The youth of today still face their own hurdles — most critically, unemployment and the barriers to entry in education. That is why movements like #FeesMustFall and #RhodesMustFall were formed — to tackle the issue of free education and decolonisation at universities.
HuffPost visited Wits University to find out what students, as today's youth, fear most.
Emarantia Ngomane (21) — BSc. Electrical Engineering
"The system, [because] as a young girl you are taught that you can be whatever you want to be, you dream, you go to varsity — but after that you know there is a system that will probably stop you from reaching those goals. You're black, you're a woman, so you probably won't get to where most successful people are. It scares me, because regardless of how hard you work, there is a system that pulls you back."
Siboniso Zondo (20) — Bachelor of Education
"Unemployment is on top of the list, because nowadays many people are unemployed — especially the youth. In South Africa we lack resources; they do not cater for education."
Bongani Nkosi (20) — BComm. Accounting
"My greatest fear is the political instability in the country."
Dominique Watson (29) — Fine Arts
"Unemployment. I'm studying fine arts, I am in my fourth year, and obviously, there is no guarantee in the arts — I think as a woman and as a queer person that becomes tricky. I do not know if there is a space for the kind of art I make."
Didi Allie (21) — Fine Arts
"I think it is probably leaving varsity, because as much as it, not a safe space, it has become something that we're used to. So I would say [I fear] fully entering adulthood."
Neha Prag (18) — Medical student
"From a very personal lived experience being Indian female in the space [in which] I am studying, it makes it hard to be able to conscientise people into things. I am studying medicine at Wits, and a lot of the time it is hard to tackle problems of patriarchal opinions and ideas within the class."
Clarissa Groesbeek (22) — MA Molecular and Cell Biology
"I think probably unemployment. I think at the moment jobs are scarce, with the economy that is declining [and] the uncertain future that we have as a country."