By Citizen.co.za (Simnikiwe Hlashaneni)
Millenials have a more urgent and immediate purpose to change what is wrong in South Africa.
Young radicalism is the future of democratic social justice, if the new wave of young political activists becoming lawmakers is anything to go by.
And for “born-free” politician Fasihah Hassan, who was acclaimed for her role during the nationwide youth revolt for free tertiary education, an angry and impatient youth is the best thing for South Africa’s democracy.
Born to United Democratic Front (UDF) activist parents at the dawn of democracy in 1994, Hassan says she and her peers have a different and necessary perspective on the ills that face the country. It’s the more urgent and immediate sense of purpose that drove the #FeesMustFall movement.
“The world is not a fair place and it’s our job to make it more fair. But once you understand that the world is unfair you understand that all that anger you have is important, but it needs to be channelled,” she says.
Speaking just days before her inauguration as an ANC member of the Gauteng legislature, Hassan says making the transition from student activist to politician, to policy maker has not been an easy road to travel.
“It has been a long and difficult journey which people don’t see. People see the front of the house. They don’t see what’s going on behind the scenes back in the kitchen, so to speak. But I seriously believe the kind of student activism we were doing before and during #FeesMustFall has played a huge role in shaping how I think and deal with the issues.”
As an ANC Youth League branch leader herself, Hassan is not afraid to criticise the organisation that moulded her, saying it was necessary for change in the ANC to be driven from within.
“The difficulty with the older generation is that they see the issues, but they would rather only bring it up internally. Whereas with us, as much as we have a sense of belonging in the ANC, it doesn’t prevent me from criticising where I have seen wrong.”
And with the layers and layers of internal structures, age groups and the gender factor, a young woman might not have risen so quickly into leadership in the ANC 10 years ago, but the ANC elders are beginning to hear young people, Hassan says. She admits that some of the youth disillusionment at the ANC evidenced in the last two elections could be attributed to the weakening of the ANCYL over the past decade.
However, she says channels for young people to be heard within the mother body have improved and have put young women in more meaningful platforms, such as the Young Women’s Desk.