“Make good choices with money, set goals. Never think of yourself too much. Never underestimate yourself too much. Work hard, it pays off. Always try your best, even if you don’t always win. Focus on what’s important,” Zoe, Grade 7.
In celebration of Youth Day, which takes place on 16 June every year, learners at Riverside College based on Burgundy Estate in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town, wrote letters of commitment to their elder selves.
“Have you got a car? A home? Are you successful? Have you had a part time job and experience? Are you earning an income? Do you have the knowledge to be what you plan to be?” – Keane, grade 7.
Inspired by a book entitled Me to Me: Letters to my 16 and a half-year old self, a collection of letters written by South Africans, including the likes of Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, artist, Loyiso Bala and academic, Jonathan Jansen, to their younger selves, the letters offer an interesting and unique insight into the minds of young South Africans – their dreams, ambitions, hopes and fears.
“Have you got a girlfriend? Are you engaged or married? Even if you haven’t done any of those things, I’m sure you will still be happy. Enjoy your future; take every day as it comes. Remember, I’m going through worse – high school. Nothing can be this bad,” Joshua, Grade 8.
“Have fun, enjoy life, don’t always take everything so seriously. Keep your head up. I’m still learning to do that. Don’t make the mistakes I made,” Tara, Grade 8.
Insightful, funny, nostalgic and sometimes sad, the letters offer a glimpse into the minds of young people and their perception of their adult self.
“When you were young, you had two dreams in mind. The first dream was to become a physiotherapist with your very own practice and the second was to have big white wedding and start a family. Slowly the second dream died and the first one became even stronger. I know this sounds heartless, but you need to focus on your career before you start a family. Get your degree first,” Kerryn, Grade 11.
Youth Day, which commemorates the start of the Soweto riots of 1976, is marked across the country on 16 June. It honours the young people who lost their lives during the Apartheid years and serves to remind South Africa of the importance of its youth, bringing across the message that something like “the Soweto riots” should never happen again.
Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications
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On behalf of Riverside College
Founder and Director: Elana Edwards