Listen to Teenagers Talking
By Sihe Mazibu
Describing myself in conversation often proves to be a task without much difficulty. However, compiling an article about my identity is more challenging. In the turn of the century, 2000, I was born and named Sihle Mazibu. Many view this period to be a carefree one, however, it presents a great amount of introspection and self-development to prepare myself for the senior phase as well as the future.
As a South African teenager, aspirations, goals and dreams play an important role in my daily living and are a necessity in motivating myself to strive for those dreams that seem unreachable. I aspire to get into a career that I am passionate about, hopefully in writing. I hope to pursue journalism and make a difference in society somehow whether it is in my writing or motivating those who may not have their voices heard or the opportunities that I am exposed to. I aspire to be an inspiration to females in order for them to realise their potential. I want to be an inspiration to young black females, like myself, or those who come from underprivileged backgrounds so that they may realise that they are as powerful as any other demographic. My biggest aspiration, although cliché, is to be happy and fulfilled.
As a female, teenage, South African, there are many challenges and obstacles that I may I face in my progression into adulthood. I think my biggest challenge is doubt, especially self-doubt. Believing that you are not as good or worthy as one’s seemingly over-achieving peers is a detrimental belief to hold. This is what stood in my way of doing my best to accomplish or initiate certain activities such as simple extra-murals or even sharing my passion in writing with many others that I unconsciously convinced myself I was inferior to. Socially, my challenge is attempting to excel as a female South African. For instance, a 2016 report by McKinsey & Company Women Matter Africa showed that in the private sector in Africa, only 5% of women are CEOs. This is just one of many statistics that show the difficulty and inequality that women face. The economy proves to be an ever-challenging factor in South Africa and this too may be a challenge for me. Economical and financial difficulty also feed into my dilemma of deciding whether I want a career that I am passionate about or a career that I can excel in financially.
Personally, I think South Africa is a beautiful country regardless of the difficulties and negatives. I believe that one of the ways for us to grow further as a nation is to stop choosing to dwell on the negative events and letting them be what defines the country but rather to mend these negatives and to strive to reach for a place of freedom and contentment. I believe South Africans need to be hopeful and patient no matter how difficult this proves to be. I get extremely annoyed when I hear my peers discussing how they will leave the country for good in the future and then complaining about our current leadership. I think travel and educating yourself on a global spectrum is incredible and even necessary. However, I believe that the youth has a duty to take initiative to better the country in as many ways as possible instead of simply wanting to leave and abandon the country.
*This article was first published in the City Press on 30 October 2016 on page 5.