We honour the sacrifices made by the youth of 1976. The energy and urgency of youth is almost always the impetus that creates great change. Look at our changing world, see who is out there on the front lines, pushing for better – for different.  Today, more than ever, young people are fighting their way out of the neatly labelled boxes the world wants to put them in. They don’t want to be talked at or sold to. They want the chance to be their authentic selves, to have their experiences reflected and valued in the world. To feel heard and understood. To be SEEN.

Speak your truth

I have lived my life backwards. At 37, I’m halfway between two worlds – supposedly grown up, but not so far removed from my own youth that I’ve forgotten how it feels to be finding your way. Became a mother at 15, then completed my schooling and worked my way up in various jobs before finding myself at Quazar. Starting as a technical writer, today I am the Special Projects Manager where no two days are alike.

I’ve travelled, discovering Africa and myself, sat around a boardroom table developing a multi-million-dollar investment proposal for a financial institution, learned about industries across Africa that I’d never thought I’d be involved in, and developing skills I never imagined I’ve have.

In the meantime, I’ve published a book, started an NGO for pregnant and parenting teens, had my face on a billboard (2/10; Do Not Recommend), written and spoken about the challenges faced by young people and young mothers in particular. I never have fitted comfortably into any of those boxes of statistics, stereotypes or labels. I’ve worked hard, but must acknowledge the immense privilege and opportunities I’ve been given which have made it possible. I know how lucky I am.

In the young people I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years, I have seen strength, determination and the will to face challenges that would break most of us. I have seen young people fighting for others, even when it will not benefit themselves. To learn and create opportunities for themselves where it sometimes feels hopeless. I see #creativeyouth with the ideas and ingenuity so needed in our world. The courage to “speak their truth, even when their voice shakes”.

I see you. Thank you.

So – Youth of 2016, I was going to end with some advice for you on finding your path. But nah. We’re with you. You’ve got this.

 

June 13, 2016 No Comments Tracy Engelbrecht News , , , ,