WithgirlsOn June 16 I got to celebrate my first ever youth day with the people who really know what youth day is about. I headed into Atlantis (a coloured township outside of Cape Town) with a documentary team who are filming a piece on abuse called “Our Own Stories, Our Own Voices”.  I am going to be working with the director Lungiswa Sithole, producer Yvonne Hart & four teenage girls who are survivors of abusive situations. I will be helping them to write a song that will share their story & inspire other teens to see hope where they may feel there is none...

NodrugsKids_nodrugs_1Coon_kids_3 Given that it was Youth Day, I found myself slap bang in the middle of a community celebration unlike anything I have experienced. There were two Coon Carnival bands, being lead by dancing children & a march of Atlantis residents to say ‘NO’ to drugs in their community. Everything convened at a community center where the residents handed a memorandum to the police to ask them to work with them to fight drugs in their community.

After that we all filed into the hall & were treated to performances by the youth & a talk from a local MP. He spoke with such passion about his memories of June 16, 1976 when the world was shocked by what happened to protesting students in Sharpville.  I sat there & really took in what our country’s history has done to so many communities. That I could be there & feel safe and welcomed, given that people with white skin like mine were responsible for the atrocities of apartheid, was incredible. I can’t think of many places where a country has come together to heal the past with acceptance & tolerance.

Withlungiswa_1I felt proud to call myself South African and to know that I am committed to making a difference in this country & seeing people have the opportunity to live their dreams & stand up for their right to be who they are.