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WHAT DOES BEING “BORN FREE” MEAN IN SOUTH AFRICA.

The born free generation are those people who were born or grew up after the end of Apartheid, this means they should never have to be disadvantaged on the basis of their race, sexuality and background. This generation is able to make choices that will determine where they get their education, how they are educated, which sport to play, and who they can and cannot date, therefore they are equipped on how to start their lives and taking the first step towards their adult life.

Being that they are now the participants of a real democracy, it means they can now vote and they are able to voice out their opinions, this means that they have the freedom of speech, freedom of movement to go anywhere they want and they have the freedom to access employment without reservations that restricted their parents during the Apartheid era. In reality, this generation is free from racial discrimination and they are able to change the community at large.

One question posed was that “how are they really free”? A lot of young people felt as if the so called “democracy” has unrealistic expectations on them. Yes they have ambition and dreams of their own, some want to be doctors, lawyers and go into business and they want jobs with a stable income to sustain their life, but it’s not happening for most of them because of the pressures of being born free. There are several contributing factors to the latter, such as the poor level of education in South Africa, in some areas you will find 60 learners cramped in a classroom that is poorly lit, one can ask themselves if the learners are getting proper learning in such environment. There is also the issue of unemployment which for them is living the life of being excluded from the society and it damages their self-esteem and hopes for their future.

Now the government is trying to improve their lives by introducing the Youth wage subsidies and tax breaks for companies who employ young people. This generation will have to work twice as hard to prove to themselves and their parents because, they have all the opportunities they need to succeed and overcome the pressures of being born free and participants of democracy.

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