Contrary to popular belief, June 16 is not about playing dress up in a school uniform (especially not a slutty one), going to what seems to be the hottest party, and getting plastered only to wake up the next morning dragging yourself to work with a regret accompanied by a hangover. Oh no. June 16 is a day we commemorate the youth of 1976. 2016 marks 40 years since the heroic youth of 1976 decided to take their (and our) future into their own hands.
Ster-Kinekor celebrated this day in history by screening the definitive Sarafina! in its cinemas across South Africa. Ster-Kinekor Maponya Mall had a special treat for all those who were there. A group of young girls danced for us to the theme song of the movie. The star of the movie – yes – the legendary Leleti Khumalo also joined us and graced us with her presence.
Watching it today, I realise that I had very little knowledge of what I was watching way back when. Watching it today, I realise how relevant this movie still is today. From #FeesMustFall to the unemployment and drug abuse that plagues our youth, it got me wondering when will this tomorrow will come that will bring our freedom? From the burning of universities to police being public enemy number one, Sarafina! made it very evident that truly too little has changed. With careful analysis, you will realise that the answer was (and still is) right there all along (hint: Fire, played by Somizi Mhlongo, preaches the gospel on one of the ways of attaining the long awaited freedom. And burning no one building has anything to do with it).
Whether you are in Africa or America, Sarafina! still resonates with all that are Africans and are of African descendent. If you haven’t watched this movie, I urge you all (white, black, purple or pink) to watch it right now and make sure your children do too. Go out, discover your history, embrace it, and most importantly learn from it. Open up your sixth chakra, by drinking from the fountain of knowledge and not by simply gargling from it. I assure you, it’ll quench your thirst better than any bottle at any “hot” party will during this youth month.