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10th annual Ashley Kriel youth memorial lecture

Youth telling their stories: the 10th annual Ashley Kriel youth memorial lecture

“The Ashley Kriel generation struggled and overcame, now this generation’s struggle is to live life fully and realise the potential that is embedded within them.”

These are the words shared by the head of Programme at Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR), Stan Henkeman, during the 10th annual Ashley Kriel youth memorial lecture which was held at the University’s Life Science Building on Thursday, 3 October.

Themed “My voice, Our Story”, the lecture was a celebration of young political activist and youth leader, the late Ashley Kriel, who was murdered during the apartheid regime in the 1980s.

This lecture provided a way to empower young people and help them understand their full potential and their individual roles and responsibilities in achieving their personal goals, while contributing to the development of all societies.

Kurt Orderson, a 29-year old filmmaker from Cape Town who delivered the keynote address, shared his journey and experiences through words and film.

Orderson discussed overarching principles relating to individuality and what he calls “radical subjectivity”, the politics of identity within the diaspora, and ways of defining a vast objectivity.

He faulted South Africans for denying their African roots in favour of Western ones as a result of people accepting “pre-determined stories” as their own history. “Who is telling your story?”, Kurt asked the crowd full of young people.

“You all need to find your individual voices and use those voices to share your story, because you never know how much a personal story of power can change the world”, added Orderson.

It was Adrian Different’s turn next, from SLiP and Inzync, to take the stage. He delivered a crowd-gripping performance with his poem sharing his sentiments on the Department of Education’s failure to deliver books to rural schools.

The evening also included a performance by the iNKcredibles, a group of seven local young poets, namely Palesa, Sam, Vusi, Nthateng, Chrystal, Pulosetsoe and Genevieve. They took to the stage to perform a number of poems employing the range of languages, voices, experiences and cultures of the group to capture the struggles faced by most young South Africans today.