The Soweto uprising of 1976 brought a very dramatic change in the political landscape of South Africa, it was a turning point which worked as a catalyst to bring some changes in the liberation struggle. The BNFYL salutes everyone who was part of the uprising.
It is during this moment that we remember some fallen comrades, honour those that died for the cause such as the 13 year old boy Hector Peterson who became the first victim of the 1976 Soweto uprising after being killed by the apartheid police. Their revolutionary spirits drive us on; to the banner of revolution that we shall hold on, forever!
As we commemorate this important day in the Youth history, it is very essential to call upon the Youth of Botswana to stand up and fight for their rights as they are the ones mostly affected by the harsh socio - economic conditions prevailing in our country. We, as the youth are faced with different realities, some of these are depressing, stressful and are a reflection of a dream deferred and a hope shattered. Our current realities comprise of the dire conditions of unemployment with young people trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty. Some survive on famine relief programmes as an alternative to death, and, lastly the challenge of HIV/AIDS among young people which is threatening to wipe out the entire generation of young Batswana.
Young people are the victims of crime, drugs, prison, violence, illiteracy and alcohol abuse. Due to unemployment some are now forced into prostitution. Youth in Botswana are confronted with a world without access to education, water and electricity.
Thousands and thousands of street children who eat from rubbish dumps have become a permanent feature of all towns and cities. Thousands of youth are roaming the streets with no hope of ever finding jobs to earn a living. Thanks to the BDP led government which thrives on illiteracy, poverty and gullibility.
The BNFYL would like to take this opportunity to vehemently condemn the following:
- Brutal, uncivilized, barbaric and the merciless murder of an unarmed John Kalafatis by, according to media reports, security agents from various bodies among them the Directorate of Intelligence and Security which is headed by Isaac Kgosi, former private secretary to President Ian Kgama, We also hear that about 10 people have been killed since April, 2008.
- Alleged torturing and assaults on youth by the police as reported in Gazette 01 June 2009 and Voice newspaper dated 12 June 2009. We believe that everyone should be given an opportunity to be tried in a court of law. Ian Khama's presidency has created a phobia amongst the citizens.
The Ministry of Education's reduction of student allowances by P500 is a major transgression to the livelihood of tertiary level students given the high cost of living.
Lastly we also condemn the controversial and preposterous decision to ban politics at UB. We can forecast that this will result in more voter apathy among the most voter apathetic group the youth.
The BNFYL believes that the time has come for the youth of Botswana to stand up. We have no choice but to defend our freedom, democracy and future. We believe that the youth are the leaders of tomorrow and that the future starts now and today.
We need to remain vibrant, fearless, outspoken and vigilant. A bullet from the top office should not scare us. We must remain unfazed. In the words of Che Guevara,"we cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it."
BNFYL spokesperson, Gaborone