By: Portia Motheo and Janus Snyders
Youth day 2009 commemorates 15 years of democracy and reflects back 33 years ago when the youth stood up for education in their mother tongue.
As part of an AfroAIDSinfo community project, the learners of Eastville, Liesbeeck and Mitchell Heights Primary schools in Mitchell’s Plain, South Africa commemorated Youth day on 12 June with the theme “Develop our youth, the leaders of tomorrow.” The day was filled with activities that emphasized the theme of the day.
The Web and Media Technologies Platform of the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) was accompanied by a scientist, Mr Hilton Donson, who represented the MRC-UNISA Crime, Violence and Injury Lead Programme. He explained to the learners and community members the importance of leadership in reducing violence in schools. “Literature and results of a study that we conducted 10 years ago amongst schools in Cape Town proved that injuries and violence are one of South Africa’s most notable public concerns,” Donson said and elaborated “One of the lessons we learned is that if we have children at primary school that intend to hurt each other deliberately in the sense of bullying and violence, then this culture could manifest itself among them as they grow up and into adulthood”.
Donson further cautioned that if the culture of violence established at an early stage is not addressed, it could certainly further develop into more extreme behaviour around violence in the later years of schooling.
In his talk at Liesbeeck Primary school, Donson also revealed the results of a study conducted in the Cape Town area which showed that of the more than 400 suicides during 2007, 25 deaths occurred among the youth. This however only portrays a part of the picture as there are many attempted suicides of which we are unaware.
Mr Donson further noted “It seemed that victims of violence in homicides and suicides are more often males than females. Among other, this could be due to the pressure experienced by males to be the “leaders” in the society and communities”, he added.
For more information about Hilton Donson’s talk on leadership, violence, suicides and HIV listen to the podcast below:
Part 1 – Leadership and violence (English) / Xhosa version
Part 2 – Leadership and suicides (English) / Xhosa version
The article and audio documentaries have undergone an editorial process.
Donson H, ed. A profile of fatal injuries in South Africa: ninth annual report of the National Mortality Surveillance System. Cape Town, Medical Research Council, 2008, accessed 20 May 2009).
Everrat, D (2000).Keynote article: From urban warriors to market segment? Youth in South Africa 1990-2000. Development Update, 3(2): 1-39. Special Issue: The Dead Decade? Youth in the Post-Apartheid South Africa.
Date: 3 July 2009