Youth Day 2021 – Remember the one, one by one

How do we change the narratives of inequality in South Africa? It is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the problems we face as a country. Yet, each year, we mark moments in our history. We look at where we have come from and the long journey we still have to go.

These days of historical remembrance are an opportunity for us to do an audit.  How have our actions each year impacted our world? How did we change our thinking and our understanding? Who did we listen to and what did we learn? What have you and I done to bring about hope-filled change over the past year –  as individuals, families, schools, businesses and communities? How did we remember the one?

Today marks National Youth Day. It is also Siya Kolisi’s 30th birthday, and his story inspires us. After his mother passed away when Siya was only 15, he lived with his grandparents. Today, Siya is a household icon. In 2018, he made history as the first black test player to be appointed captain of the South African Springbok rugby team, in its 129 year history. South Africa was unified in pride when, in November 2019, Siya led his team to Rugby World Cup victory, returning South Africa to the top of the world rankings for the first time in 10 years. Siya dedicated the World Cup victory to all South Africans, saying, “We can achieve anything when we work together as one”.

Siya did not get to where he is on his own. His story was made possible by his grandmother, his family, his teachers, mentors, coaches, friends, sponsors, and team-mates. The narrative of Siya’s life changed because of a community of people committed to championing him. His story is about the power of a community to impact the one.

“Just to focus on the one heart, and the one person and the one life that you are changing and remembering that that counts. That is more important than anything else.” – Rachel Kolisi

Focusing on the future of South African

Nearly 40% of our population are under the age of 35. One in four youth are unemployed. The youth are our future and the future is now. Now is the time to strengthen the next generation. Now is the time to remember the one. Let’s take this Youth Day as our ‘Audit Day’. Let us commit to be active listeners and to learn. Let us decide to be doers, not just today, but for 365 days a year.

“It changes you, it changes how think. It doesn’t matter how small it is. Just do something for someone else and see how it makes you feel. It is driving me right now” – Siya Kolisi

We have an opportunity to change the narratives of inequality in South Africa. We have an opportunity to change the story of youth unemployment. We have an opportunity to be a community of people championing and cheering on our youth, just like Siya’s community supported him. Now is the time for us to remember the one, one by one.

To donate towards the Kolisi Foundation Youth development programmes click HERE