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By Dimakatso Modipa

Youth of Mamelodi, Eersterus and Nellmapius celebrating youth day in style photo by Dimakatso Modipa
Youth of Mamelodi, Eersterus and Nellmapius celebrating youth day in style photo by Dimakatso Modipa

Various youth organisations in Mamelodi commemorated the 1976 June 16 massacre in their own unique way on Sunday.

Instead of the expected political sloganeering and rabble-rousing speeches, members of these youth organisations observed the massacre by embarking on a fun walk and games programme.

Youth held a programme called Youth for health, whereby they walk a distance and played indigenous games like morabaraba, Diketo, Intonga/Nguni Stick Fighting, Dibeke/Skununu and Kgati.

After a long walk they exercise their body by doing aerobics.

The young people were holding placards and singing songs heading to the Rugby Field sports ground.

The fun walk started at Balebogeng Primary School in Mamelodi East at 7am and ended at the local Stanza Bopape Extension 5 Rugby Fields sports ground in the Far East of Mamelodi.

The said youth organisation includes MB Teen Lifestyle, Siyakha Youth Foundation, Aurum Institute, Voice In Action, Gauteng Men’s Federation, Thandanani Drop-Inn Centre, CPF, Multi Sector HIV Response Unit, # Ke Ready, TAC, Wits RHI, Moses Mabhida Foundation, Built Africa Skills Development Foundation and the IEC including members of ANCYL and MKYL.

Most of these organisations are led by youths.

One of the organisers of the event Nkeletseng Tsetsane from MB Teen Lifestyle, told Tshwane Talks that they are commemorating the June 16 massacre in a different way because youths of today have different challenges as compared to the youths of 1976.

“What we have learned from the youth of 1976 is that if young people gather together under a common agenda, then great changes can be effected,” she said.

“What we are trying to demonstrate here is the power of collective effort can have a great impact in society as there is strength in numbers,” she said.

MB Teen Lifestyle deals with HIV issues among the youth and Tsetsane said the day’s event creates a fun environment whereby youths would have fun while getting tested and counselled regarding HIV/ AIDS.

She pointed out that the commemoration event was unveiled in 2021 and that it is an annual occasion which is observed with different stakeholders each year.

Youth playing diketo photo by Dimakatso Modipa
Youth playing diketo photo by Dimakatso Modipa

Tsetsane said by inviting all the said organisations to the event, the youth of Mamelodi will get to know where to go regarding issues that may be challenging them in their lives.

The invited organisations are led by youth and provide services on matters line drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, homeless shelters, gender-based violence, men’s health, and HIV/AIDS.

Howard Mabena told Tshwane Talks that Youth for Health started 2021 and it was concerned for young people that were being affected by HIV and STI’s.

“Me and Annabel being young took it to the streets and formed an event on June 16 called #YouthForHealth.

Sad Annabel Passed away in 2022 before the 2nd Annual Youth fFor Health Color,” said Mabena.

“We will celebrate the day and dedicate the day to Annabel and next year 2025 it be will officially called the Youth For Health Color Walk and Anna Fun Games,” he said.

Face of Gauteng Teenager semifinalist Ntombifuthi Gwala told Tshwane Talks that she attended the event as it empowers the youth to ultimately achieve great things in their lives.

Youth playing morabaraba photo by Dimakato Modipa
Youth playing morabaraba photo by Dimakato Modipa

Thabang Masilo from Lusaka said he attended the event because it encouraged youth to stop abusing drugs and also to know their HIV status.

Duncan Malapane said a gathering like the one he attended shows that as they are able to gather as youths, they can share ideas and bring about the much-needed changes in the country.

Kgodisho Magoro said to him the June 16 commemorations are a reminder to the authorities that youths must be given tertiary learning opportunities and also be employed.

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