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Youth Day drug fight: Leondale pupils reincarnate the defiant Soweto uprising spirit

The Soweto Uprising profoundly changed the socio-political landscape in South Africa - of which impact will reverberate for generations to come. Inspired by the revolutionary actions of 1976 youths who risked their lives for the sake of freedom, Leondale High Schools pupils will take to the streets this Youth Day (Thursday, June 16) to fight against a common, new enemy called drugs.

Determined to turn over a new leaf following the notorious ‘dagga day’ viral video, Leondale High School learners are taking to the streets this Youth Day (Thursday, June 16) to officially wage war against the prevalent use of drugs among learners, and essentially the persistent drug trade happening on school grounds.

The learners will be joined by parents, the school governing body and concerned Leondale community members – and those from surrounding areas – in a solidarity move which aims to nip in the bud, the prevalent drug problem ‘among adolescent learners’.

It is alleged that the drugs sold at the school are coming from the Leondale community itself and surrounding areas as incidences of drug traffickers targeting unsuspecting pupils have on a high.

World Changers Candidates’ ambassador Sonia Mbele gives a key note speech!

The march would see a true revival of the fearless revolutionary spirit of 1976 youths in today’s generation of young people, as they take head on, the fight against drugs, “which is destroying the youths of South Africa at the fastest rate than apartheid did,” World Changers Candidates (WCC) chairperson, Lucas Mahlakgane said.

Nceba Ngwenya and Katlego Mabena – as the learners who were seen in the viral video showing Leondale High School pupils smoking dagga on school premise – will, along with representatives from WCC lead the day’s programme and share solutions upon the end of the march.

They will use the day to call on the Department of Education and community leaders active in drug use prevention to assist the school to develop ongoing, effective sustainable drug education policies and anti-substance abuse awareness programs.

The meeting of a heart and a soul: the making of ‘Say No’ anti-theme song

The march comes two weeks after the launch of the anti-drug theme song ‘Say No’ by the Gauteng-based non-profit anti-drug
organisation, World Changers Candidates.

Featuring actress and showbiz personality Buhle Samuels, ‘Say No’ anti-drug theme song will be available on various streaming platform.

Conceived through “the meeting of a heart and a soul”, as Mahlakgane best puts it, the song is produced by renowned South African musician Thapelo Khomo, of the legendary Stimela band, while the much-loved Mzansi actress and TV personality Buhle Samuels gave her all during the recording of the song at The Music Academy of Gauteng in Benoni as the songwriter and vocalist, ultimately giving South Africa its first official anti-drug theme song, with a strong message against substance abuse.

The two were inspired by their own personal experiences of how the ‘drug epidemic’ has taken a heart-breaking toll on South Africans and their families.

The song will be available later this month on various streaming platforms, with proceeds from its sale go to support the organisation’s anti-drug programmes.

Leondale Secondary School Youth Day drug fight / article update (Friday, June 17): this is an update of the original article above, published on Wednesday (June 15).

The images below were taken during the march on Youth Day, (Thursday, June 16) led by Leondale Secondary School learners, World Changers Candidates, community residents and the school’s governing body who took to the streets of Leondale to officially wage war against the prevalence of substance abuse among school learners.

Leondale Secondary School principal Mxolisi Mofokeng with learners Nceba Ngwenya and Katlego Mabena led the march.
World Changers Candidates board members, Tankiso Komane (red jacket) and Lucas Mahlakgane (blue tracksuits, far right) led the peaceful march, along with Leondale Secondary School learners and community residents.
World Changers Candidates board members: NOWinSA editor Tankiso Komane and WCC chairperson Lucas Mahlakgane during the march.
Leondale Secondary School learners and community residents braved the cold weather to attend the anti-drug gathering/march.
Community residents showing solidarity and taking the fight against drugs into their hands.
Labelled by the media as the ‘dagga school’ following the viral video showing learners smoking dagga on World Weed Day in April while still on school grounds, Leondale Secondary School’s Nceba Ngwenya, Katlego Mabena and Principal Mofokeng led the march in a move that shows the school’s commitment to turning adversity into something positive to change their lives.
World Changers Chairperson Lucas Mahlakgane during a live crossing with Newzroom Afrika.
Actor and African traditional spiritualist Gift Sebiloane did a splendid job as the masters of ceremony.
Katlego Mabena and Nceba Ngwenya delivered heart felt speeches on the day, and are using the ‘dagga video’ infamy as a tool for positive change as they take up the role of anti-drug activists among their peers, driving the desired change.
Leondale Secondary School SGB representative was among the keynote speakers, saying it’s time to change social behaviors linked to June 16 celebrations, with people siting down in taverns in school uniforms, and called on all learners, teachers and community members to make healthy choices, and take the fight against drugs serious.

Click the YouTube video below to watch Newzroom Afrika’s coverage of the event.

Tankiso Komane
Tankiso Komane
A Tshwane University of Technology journalism graduate, Tankiso Komane has a vast experience in print & broadcast media business and has worked for some of the country’s biggest daily newspapers, including The Sowetan, The Citizen, The Times, and The New Age. Through her varied work as a journalist, notably as a copywriter for SABC1 (On-Air promotions) and as a publicist for Onyx Communications, she has developed an in-depth understanding of the nature of the media business and how to use it for the purpose of exposure. Her expertise in journalism across various disciplines, coupled with a good reputation, has laid the foundation of a new kind "trust in Journalism" as the media ecosystem continues to digitally evolve.
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