Life as a Young Adult in South Africa
We say in my language “abukho obunye obuse pokothweni”, meaning “you only live once, there is no space hidden in your pocket”. Being young and curious about what the future holds for you should not be of concern. Instead, it should be exciting. Life is worth living. I grab my challenges with the same attitude I grab my opportunities. One of my favourite quotes is from the mother of the nation, Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela Mandela who says, “I am the product of the masses of my country and the product of my enemy”.
Being a young adult in South Africa is a privilege for me. Life for a young adult here can be like winning the lotto because not only do you get the richness of the different cultures and traditions, but the beauty of the 11 official languages that are in South Africa. Life as a young adult in South Africa has taught me the importance of tradition and culture through the lives of other South Africans. For example, when a boy reaches the age of being a young adult, he has to go to the mountains before he can claim the title of manhood. When he comes back from the mountains, he is then celebrated for becoming a complete man.
I started with one of my favourite quotes from Nomzamo Winnie Madikizela Mandela who was one of the women who fought for today’s democracy. I am able to enjoy the privilege of being a young adult in South Africa because of her. It’s impressive for me to have heroes I can look up to such as Winnie Mandela, a woman who fought against the oppression and laws that oppress young educators, such as the death of a learner named Hector Petersen, a young adult who died in the hands of his peer when they were protesting against the use of Afrikaans.
Life for a young adult in South Africa is quite experimental because there is the life of a township and of a rural area. Both these lives have a different experience. Life as a young adult in the rural area is like running in a desert island, trying to escape but you can’t find an open road. For me, it is quite exciting to have experienced both of these lives and being able to enjoy it.
During lockdown, due to misinformation that being shared on various social media platforms, some of my peeps and I in the township did not care much about Covid-19 as we saw it as something that did not exist. Social distancing was of ignorance to us until the rate of people dying started to increase around us in the community and that was when we understood that this thing is real, and it kills. Mentally, it truly challenged me because now I have to keep in mind that I must wash my hands regularly and sanitize. Covid-19 has been like a helicopter ride.
Being a young adult is an experience you only get once, so it’s important to enjoy it; the satisfaction that comes with being called young means you are fresh and energetic. I am honoured to enjoy the life of a young adult in South Africa.