Tue. Sep 22nd, 2020

Jozi to Stellenbosch: Youth activists embark on 12-day march for freedom

Mangaliso Sambo and 15 other activists are currently marching, by foot, all the way from Jozi to Stellenbosch in order to inspire change.

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Stemming from Youth Day, Mangaliso Sambo, 24, is leading a march — on foot — all the way from Jozi to Stellenbosch. A student activist and secretary-general of the South African Destitute Ex-Miners Forum (SADEMF), Sambo is trying to inspire change and have certain freedoms implemented.  

With nothing more than blankets, books, laptops and sleeping tents, Sambo and 15 others are currently on Day 3 of their 12-day journey. Sambo said they plan to confront families in Stellenbosch on their arrival.

The march is made up of different student organisations and activists, including the Pan African Student Movement of Azania (Pasma), the EFF Student’s Command (EFFSC) and the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM). 

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JOZI TO STELLENBOSCH: HERE’S WHY THEY’RE MARCHING 

According to Sambo, the march was initially developed through an initiative by SADEMF, who were planning to march to Stellenbosch in order to confront some of the individuals who are linked to several mines across the country. 

“Through generational family ownership and control and who have, for a long time, got away with gross exploitation of our parents, including not paying compensation for mineworkers who won cases that deem them liable for occupational health claims,” said Sambo. 

The reason for the Jozi to Stellenbosch march later morphed when other young activists decided to join. 

“These are the same young people who were promised free education, who were promised jobs, who were in [a] limbo of hopelessness and are equipped more than myself to articulate the problems that we have and the solutions going forward,” said Sambo. 

“It is these young people who said the march to Stellenbosch cannot just be about ex-mine workers but rather must be broadened to address the many issues that the majority of black people face,” added Sambo. 

Sambo called the Jozi to Stellenbosch march a manifestation of the 1976 movement in a post-democratic South Africa. 

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A FEW WHITE PEOPLE DETERMINING THE LIFE OF MILLIONS OF BLACK SOUTH AFRICANS

Although there are currently 15 people partaking in the Jozi to Stellenbosch march, Sambo said more are expected to join as they pass through Bloemfontein. 

“The door remains open to all young people who are interested in standing up to the real power that runs this country,” said Sambo. 

“Interrupting Stellenbosch not only show[s] that we have a real youth that is aware of what is happening but it means we have developed to the point where we are brave enough to face the root and to confront the way that our reality has been shaped to think that a few white people must determine the way of life for millions of black South Africans,” added Sambo. 

Sambo said all industries are, either directly or indirectly, owned and steered by a few individual families who are culturally and financially grounded in Stellenbosch.  

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Out of neglect, lack of quality education, unemployment, job shedding, retrenchments and salary cuts, activists decided to commemorate Youth Day differently this year. Enter the Jozi to Stellenbosch march.

“[We will] take the fight head on to the real engineers of our suffering. The hour of youth has struck and we are forging forward”

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