Growing up Ekasi witnessing Hardships

Growing up in the township and witnessing suffering, my teaching philosophy as a novice has always been to bridge a gap between our black learners and their white counterparts, but over the years this journey has proved challenging as there have been extenuating factors which were beyond my control, perhaps in my haste to realize this endeavor I became oblivious to the notion of social inequality and the degree to which environments influence social behavior.
What is it that drive the youth of today? Since in many people’s view they are not burdened with images of the past, which are a constant reminder of how different they are, a dehumanizing factor based solely on something as superficial as race, which by the way is a man-made concept and for years had kept our generation caged in the outskirts of society and wrapped up with stereotypical beliefs which left us helpless and debilitated.
A system of institutionalized racism founded on the fallacy of the Darwinian Theory of human evolution. The image of Hector Peterson at the apartheid museum to them might be a symbol of an intangible past which has little or no resonance in their lives but to us a reminder of an excruciating painful past.
The millennials as they are called have been labelled as narcissistic and self-absorbed, they walk around with earphones and headsets, a permanent fixture to their bodies and live in a virtual world that is often demanding and setting unrealistic standards around perfection, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. These social network platforms often sell a dream of instant success and do not encourage the fundamental value found in hard work and determination. Defaced they are able to assume an identity in these social networks which give them a false sense of security and identity.
The school environment on the other hand with its blanket approach has failed to adequately communicate to the individual needs of each child, when in classrooms they are constantly disengaged, and easily distracted forced into a world that does little to bolster their confidence. They are forced to read about William Shakespeare, an excellent writer who has been canonized and bears little or no relevance in their present lives.
The struggles of the millennials might seem different from ours and we might downplay them and question their authenticity when compared to ours but we have to admit that at that age we were also once in a journey of self-discovery where our peers voices often contended with and even made better sense than that of our parents who at the time were also judgmental, it almost fees like a deja vu.
Practically speaking as I’m raising a teenager myself the generational gap often feels wider and unbearable at times. This however is often clouded by moments of similarity, which reflects vivid images of myself in heated arguments with my mother and thinking at that stage that I had answers to everything. Our approach to interacting with teens and millennials should be that of giving them space to grow, find themselves, define their space which will allow them to have a positive self-image.
They should be allowed to find themselves in this maze of life, they should be allowed to manoeuvre on each level with proper guidance and with little judgement since this is hypocritical, listen without casting judgement as it would be hypocritical of us. We need to show empathy as we have also walked down this road. Insert is a poem written by Kamogelo Moremi that he created when asked about his thoughts on today’s youth.
Lorraine Moremi Soweto Sunrise News

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