39 years ago to the day, young South African students in Soweto marched in protest of the iniquities of the Apartheid government, specifically a 1976 government decree that forced schools in so-called “black areas” to use Afrikaans and English in a 50-50 mix as the languages of instruction, to the exclusion of African languages.
The thing is, in 1976, all the person in London or New York or New Delhi got was the newspaper story: a dry and often innocuous report.
Today, we get more than just the newspaper story. Video, the Internet, social media and free online resources mean that there is no reason not to understand the real experience of people from around the world.
Think about this: last year on Youth Day, via the Londolozi blog and social media, we were able to share ancient proverbs from the Shangaan culture, each hand-picked by our elders, allowing an international audience a glimpse into their language and culture (and more importantly, their advice for young people). One previous visitor to Londolozi read that blog on the “tube”, somewhere between Bayswater and Notting Hill Gate.
And over the past year we have been able to share video footage of how our youth (teachers, facilitators and students) are “disrupting” education in new learning spaces supported by Londolozi and the Good Work Foundation, using technology and online tools to deliver discovery (not “education”) to more young South Africans.
The Internet of things, as they say, is limitless. And to that end, on Youth Day, and in the name of the pan-African voice bringing attention to social injustice, we want to share the message of a young South African slam poet who is causing ripples across the Web.
Using a combination of her voice (and language) and the game-changing tools of the Internet, she is bringing our attention to one of today’s oft forgotten social challenges.
This is South African, Lee Mokobe: a young, brave voice who is quite simply smashing the newspaper story of the 70s and reinventing the ways and channels of communicating the stories of the world’s youth.
Written by Ryan James, Londolozi Blog Contributor