Sanibona, my name is Malibongwe Sicelo Cedric Dladla. I am a 26-year-old Bachelor of Social Science Graduate, Majoring in Psychology and Sociology and a Google Skills for Africa Graduate in the fundamentals of digital marketing. As you might have already guessed, I am also a writer specializing in poetry, songwriting, long-form writing, and journalism. I am far from self-actualization as per the notes I learned from school, but I am aware that we are operating from a place of lack. I am barely proud to be a graduate in a country with limited employment opportunities.

Lust and wealth are thrust upon us by those who have toiled the struggle and reaped its benefits, while their spoiled rotten kids and their friends have lost conscience of the significance behind youth day. I live in a 27-year-old Demockracy (this isn’t a typo); we are in a rather unfortunate position where our political affinity is at the mercy of the 27 club. I remember hearing that if a political party has nothing but its history to remind, fearmonger, and convince their living patrons to vote for them, they are in trouble.

The self-harm and multiple suicides of our beloved ruling party are rooted in their over-reliance on Madiba tropes, the threat of the official opposition being the revival of apartheid, and God knows which other strategies from the 48 laws of power to get away with corruption, fraud, money laundering, and poor service delivery. Our government would rather turn a blind eye to the fate of Marikana’s history repeating itself than sacrifice their security payroll and exorbitant salaries to be the civil servants they swore to be.

White on Black crimes took a backseat in favor of black-on-black crimes. Students graduate with a mountain of debt. Some get arrested for fighting for free education, which was part of the manifesto of the political parties invested in the collective social, political, and economic freedom of our people, of the black man. Yes, we have made some progress with affirmative action, entrepreneurial success, and the likes; however, as Priddy Ugly laments in his A Reminder From Me To You, we need more militant youth.

Much like the evolution of viruses like Ebola, H1N1, and the recent COVID-19 virus, we need to be wary of how the poisons that derail our emancipation have evolved. While some may argue that it is a naïve perspective to push into utopian ideals in which we are doing things by the book, we are putting our people before ourselves as being in positions in power, and we usher in growth without conflict and bloodshed, there is some practicality towards such an aspiration.

We must question the ideal of the youth being the solution to the current dated and spoiled cabinet who have their self-interests taking precedence over their civil service. The youth who thrust themselves into the rites of passage that leads them to the doors of ANC and Eff offices, the leaders of student unions, have often come under fire for inappropriate behavior. Rape allegations, soliciting relationships from first years in exchange for safety, Res Placement, and protection in cities where the girls have no friends and family plant the seed and initiate the culture of corruption that sprawls into new mediums. Being empowered into more prominent positions as per career mobility while sprouting the ideologies of corrupt culture paints a bleak picture of whether today's youth is a practical solution for Democratic evolution.

From the enforcers of law to men and women who defeat the ends of justice, right down to the grassroots level, the first and most crucial step is to address corrupt culture if we are to truly achieve economic, political, and social reform, which is the apparent light at the end of the tunnel that escapes our clutches with how we derail ourselves. The microscope of corrupt culture needs more than the high court and Hawks to give it a microscopic view; it needs the cynic youth who will not vote. It requires the layman to look at themselves and their environment as well.

We must acknowledge that corrupt culture is an interchangeable trinity of convenience, survival, and ambition. With the world itself coming of age with improved technology, internet access, DSTV shows, and celebrity transparency, we have become more enamored by the opulence that seems to be within reach. While the nitty-gritty of acquisition includes the proverbial selling of your soul and getting your hands dirty, a few sacrifices, and vital checkmates here and there, you may just find yourself quite literally owning Sandton.

Are we at fault for having desires, ambitions, and aspirations surrounding the glamour we are exposed to on a dialy basis? Absolutely not. I believe there is no crime in wishing for wealth, comfort, and the finest of everything for you and yours. However, when we set a precedence that the merits of acquiring the heights of power, affluence, and enterprise are through shortcuts, shortchanging civil duties, and earning a way ahead at the cost of the less fortunate, we will undo the freedom we fought for by sustaining the culture of being our own worst enemy.

The 27-year-old Demockracy is the unraveling 1000 deaths of cynics who see no value or point in utilizing their rights and voting power, their skills of research from their qualifications to make the efficient changes that we all but tweet in arms. We need a policy structure or a reinforcement for a justice system that caters to LGBQTI+ crimes, Gender-Based Violence, and specialized police units that cater to the most atrocious crimes against the average human.

We need to revise the systems in place for white- and blue-collar crimes, policies that become more stringent with how authorities abuse their power if we are to enforce a culture of consequence to combat the corruption that finds new ways to justify itself in the economic, political, and social hemisphere. Beyond morality and abiding by ethical approaches to life and work, establishing an order of fairness in which we challenge the animal farm of history is why we need a militant youth and diligent troops. Otherwise, history will repeat itself with new characters, and youth day will remain far from commemoration and closer to a holiday for booze, boobs, and buffoonery more than it already is.

©2021 Malibongwe Sicelo Cedric Dladla, Under Exclusive Rights to Culture Review Magazine