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Our #storiesmatter - Youth Day lecture
Author: Helette van der Westhuizen
Published: 11/06/2019

The stories our generation of South Africans are telling and the stories we are living, do not add up – we need new stories, according to Ms Lovelyn Nwadeyi, keynote speaker at the Faculty of Theology's Fourth Annual Youth Day lecture on Friday 17 May 2019.

This year the Faculty partnered with the Transformation Office at SU with involvement from the broader campus. Learners from Kayamandi High School also attended the morning.

The title of Lovelyn's speech was Born Free's and Democracy – Freedom and Responsibility. She began her speech by estimating the power of stories, quoting Prof Emmanuel Katongole: “Stories not only shape how we view reality but also how we respond to life and indeed the very sort of persons we become."

Although she rejects the term “Born Free's" because she experiences these words as tools for silencing and diminishing the genuine grievances of young people and particularly young South Africans of colour, it is the first generation for whom a practice of democracy is normal. Nothing was meant to stand in the way of this generation's right to vote and exercise their political preferences.

According to her we need to be a lot more active in choosing what kinds of stories our 'bodies will be invested in', as Professor Katongole suggests. We need stories that challenge the dominant narratives that shape our current reality.

She ended her speech with a wish for her generation: a good dose of revolutionary madness, intellectual clarity and a strong sense of sacrifice, love and commitment to create the future we want to see today.

Students at the Faculty responded in the light of the recent elections and shared their stories and views on voting and why voting was a challenge for them.

According to Prof Anita Cloete, youth work lecturer at the Faculty of Theology, the main objective of the Annual Youth Day lecture is to focus on youth related issues by reflecting on youth agency or lack thereof in the past and today in the socio-economic, political and religious spheres of society. “We are confident that this lecture creates a platform for robust dialogue about matters that affect young people and give them an opportunity to participate in a creative manner", because indeed, their stories - our #StoriesMatter.