For the first time since she was sworn in, 24-year-old Hlomela Bucwa, the youngest Member of Parliament (MP) in South Africa, addressed the house on Tuesday.
Her address was her contribution to a parliamentary debate on the subject, ‘‘Government’s failure to improve the lives of young South Africans with regard to employment education and training.”
The youngest MP used her six-minutes speech to slam the government for doing little or nothing towards the development of the average South African youth – especially the blacks.
Bucwa’s speech was so much spiced up with strong poetic lines that it got even the hecklers listening and attentive. Quoting the poem The Cloths of Heaven, she said:
“Madam chair, I am moved to share the words of [William Butler Yeats]: ‘But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.’”
The MP pointed out that about 3 million people of her age (around 25) are part of a lost generation, – “mainly black, who are not in education, employment or training. They have been left behind.”
She further turned the spotlight on by telling her colleagues that it would be up to her generation to change the status quo, adding that the youth must strive to live up to expectation and not divided by race, gender or religion.
The MP said the young people who’d given their lives at Sharpeville would “cringe in their graves” to look at today’s government, “which is no longer a selfless government”.
She explained the government is very “scared of its young people and that is why they appoint 40-year-olds to leadership positions instead of people her age.
Bucwa brought her speech to an end by advising the government to tread softly on the dreams of the lost generation. Her speech was widely greeted with resounding claps and a standing ovation – even from opposition seats.
Despite clearly being nervous, many South Africans took to the social media after her speech to appreciate and thank her for her boldness and eloquence.
— John Steenhuisen (@jsteenhuisen) February 21, 2017
@HlomelaBucwa What a moving inuagural speech. Great admiration from Gaborone, Botswana
— Caesar Tshupelo (@caesarBW) February 22, 2017
— Azra Karim (@AzraKarim) February 21, 2017
— Nangamso (@kwinana88) February 21, 2017
Everything You Need To Know About Bucwa
- Bucwa is a former president of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) Student Representative Council (SRC). She was the first female leader to hold the post.
- She was sworn in as DA MP on November 10, 2016, alongside two other DA MPs. The trio made it to the National Assembly following vacancies emanating from the August 3, 2016, local government election.
- Hlomela Bucwa is in her early twenties and is currently a final year law student.
- She plans to take a year-long break from further studies to focus on her political work. The youngest MP hopes to pursue a Masters degree and enroll for tutelage to become an advocate later.
Watch Bucwa’s maiden speech