5 youth activists to inspire your kids
In honor youth day 2020.
Young activist Zulaikha Patel. Picture: Jonisayi Maromo/ANA
In commemoration of Youth Day, we take a look at the 5 young activists who have stood up and acted against injustices that they have come across in the world. These five courageous young people should inspire us and particularly young kids to keep speaking truth to power.
It’s only fitting that commemorating June 16 1976 should start with Hector Pieterson, who is the face of the horrendous events that took place in Soweto on that day, when South African students marched against the apartheid government’s stance that the medium of instruction at all schools should be Afrikaans.
Pieterson who was just 13 years old at the time was shot by apartheid police during these Soweto uprisings. Pieterson and his peers are the reason why June 16 is commemorated as Youth Day in South Africa.
Malala Yousafzai, Pakistan
Yousafzai is the youngest Nobel Prize laureate in history, and received the prize in honor of the bravery she showed against the Taliban. She was shot by the Taliban while on school bus after she wrote a piece, under a pen name, for the BBC in which she described her experiences of life in a military occupation.
In the same piece the young activist, herself being from a family that ran a chain of schools, expressed her support of women’s education. After surviving the attack she inadvertently started a movement to support her, and has also become an author and published a book titled “I am Malala”.
Zulaikha Patel, South Africa
In 2016, at the age of 13, Zulaikha Patel came into the spotlight when a video of her protesting her school’s (Pretoria Girls High School) discriminatory policy against natural hair went viral. She led a silent protest against the school’s policy which resulted in a movement to purge the country’s schools of discriminatory hair policies, and the Gauteng Department of education launching an investigation into discriminatory policies against natural hair
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Back in 2015 Nompendulo Mkhatshwa was a Wits SRC president and one of the leaders of the fees must fall protests that gripped the country’s campuses. The protest began in October 2015 and students organized marches demanding that student fees increases be stopped, and an increased contribution by the government towards university funding.
On August 2018 when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg stood at the gates of the Swedish parliament with a placard reading, “School strike for climate” demanding the leaders of her country to bring it in line with the Paris climate change agreement, it was clear that a new era of child activists who won’t back down is here. Thunberg told media at the time that, “It felt like I was the only one who cared about the climate and the ecological crisis,”.
Thunberg stood there for days, through all sorts of weather to make her voice on this matter heard.
“The idea was to sit outside the Swedish parliament for three weeks. I think the timing and the concept must have been right,” adds Thunberg. A few months later she went on to deliver a powerful speech in front of the UN at the event of the 2018 UN climate talks, berating the organisation for not doing enough about climate change.