The 13-part series showcases inspirational stories that celebrate varied youthful South African perspectives, of our past, present and future. It is a portrait of South Africa built from their vision of and for themselves and their country, going into the next elections. One of the most important themes the series has explored is the issue of active citizenship and what that means as we celebrate 20 years of freedom.
In the first episode of Generation Free
, Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh from InkuluFreeHeid, a non-partisan organisation for youth interested in politics said, "Democracy starts with an X, but it doesn't end there." Meaning that voting is just one element of citizenship. Ways of being an active citizen include exercising your right to vote, being involved in your community through volunteering and not just expecting government to make improvements to the way you live. Generation Free
's social media has been influential in encouraging people to lend their support to 20 hours of volunteerism before Freedom Day on 27 April 2014 to celebrate our country's second decade of democracy.
An episode that has created conversations about the responses to improving our country and, in particular, our response to crime, has been the one featuring Tarisai Mchuchu-Ratshidi, the director of Young in Prison (YIP). YIP works with youth ex-offenders to make the transition from prison to a life after incarceration.
This was a particularly important story to include for Okuhle Media's series director, Jemima Spring. "There is a 90% recidivism rate for young offenders - young South Africans in their teens who will spend the rest of their lives going in and out of prison if they are not diverted off this track," she said.
Amidst these horrifying statistics, Tarisai's story is particularly inspiring. She is an amazing young woman who was so affected by a visit to the juvenile section of Pollsmoor as a law student, that she abandoned her plans to become a high-flying lawyer and has dedicated herself to giving youth that few others care about a second chance at a positive life.
"These young people are the dark reflection of how we are failing as South African society, mostly coming from impoverished communities where violence is endemic, that they are not free to leave, and for whom crime seems the only option," continued Jemima.
"Very little of Young In Prison's funding comes from within the country although we are all affected by the resulting crimes. A small group of dedicated facilitators are providing these young South Africans with other options and the chance to become active citizens who are changing lives themselves by mentoring others and sharing their stories," she concluded. Generation Free
follows on from Okuhle Media's popular Bornfrees
series on e.tv which followed the lives of eight children born in 1994, to examine the question of what it means to have been born into freedom. Now e.tv looks beyond the 167,000 children born in 1994 to examine a generation of young people who grew up during and after our transition to democracy.
Find out more about Young In Prison here: http://www.younginprison.org.za/
And join the Generation Free
conversation on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/GenerationFree.e.tv
or Twitter (@20yearsfreedom