Listen to Teenagers Talking
By Tanika Zeidler
Down at the tip of Africa lies South Africa, a country with golden beaches and beautiful sunsets. Although this country has many beautiful aspects, when you face the facts, there are many issues that face young people.
I can honestly say that South Africa's educational system scares me. The curriculum states that for many subjects, learners only need an average of 40% to pass. This is scary because people are getting into universities even though they only know a fraction of their work. Our universities are also extremely full and most of the time, future students are not chosen based on merit but on other aspects. Recently, student riots have been taking over South Africa and as someone who wants to go to university and study law, this makes me anxious. If the students who are protesting this year will not write their final examinations in 2016 but rather in 2017, this would create a ripple effect as future students will then start their university year late, meaning I, and many others, would also start university a year later. This would also mean that I will have a couple of free months before I start university. It would be ideal to get a job in these months but finding a job as a teenager has proven to be more difficult than I originally thought.
The law states that it is legal to work from the age of 16 but majority of companies will only employ those that are 18 years old or older. This is not the only difficult part of finding a job as a teenager. As a teenager, this would be my first job but this discourages employers as I do not have any experience. I have quickly learnt that to get a job, you need experience and to get experience, you need a job. If I do not have a job, I have no money. Money is essential as a teenager in this country because South Africa is not safe enough the kind for children to walk around freely and meet new people. This requires me to go out to different places and I cannot expect my parents to give me money to maintain my social life, meaning I need to make my own money.
Writing about friends made me think of the fact that 22 years ago, people of different races were separated. This concept seems foreign to me as I have friends of all different races and I cannot imagine my life without them. However, I am still surrounded by racist people, which really aggravates me because I long for a country where we can all get along and not base our opinions on people's skin colour.
Our country is about much more then negative aspects because our country is about much more than, especially because it offers multiple tourist attractions such as Table Mountain and the Kruger National Park. I have been privileged enough visit both of these places. My life is a breeze in terms of my surroundings, but I cannot say the same for other people in the country. Living in South Africa is not a walk in the park , but I can hope that there comes a day where people can walk freely in our country without a fear or worry.
* This story was first published by the City Press on 30 October 2016, page 5.