South Africa celebrates Youth Day on 16 June to commemorate the tragic event that unfolded in 1976 when the youth decided that enough was enough. Without taking anything away from the class of '76, it is important not to live in the past ? we also need to embrace the youth of today.
The 'free' generation often comes under attack for lacking the vision of those who came before them and some have even labelled them the "lost generation". But is this really fair?
We need to bear in mind that the challenges faced by today's youth differ from those of Hector Peterson. Yes, the youth of 1976 will always be legends; but it is time to start recognising our own heroes. Those who have met society's current challenges with bravery and resilience.
While it is good to remember where you come from, it should not come at the cost of overlooking those who are doing everything in their power to make a difference now.
So, bearing in mind the power that the youth holds to change society, we've decided to focus on those who make South Africa proud.
Bonginkosi Dlamini: 30
Bonginkosi Dlamini, also known as Zola 7, is one of the most proactive youths of his generation. Zola makes time to listen to young people about their struggles and the issues that they are faced with. He believes that every young person has the potential to be anything that they want to be.
He has a TV show that's dedicated to listening to people's dreams and doing whatever it takes to make them a reality. People write to him with their requests ? from drug addicts to children looking for their families ? and he does everything possible to help them.
Zola is hailed by many as an inspiration to the "demoralised" youth. He's also a poet, who talks about struggles that ordinary people can relate to.
Thembi Ngubane: 24
This young woman bared her struggle with HIV to the entire world. She carried a tape recorder and kept an audio-diary of her life with the disease. Her story aired in Canada, the UK, US and Australia. Her diary won the Overseas Press Club Award for best International Radio Story in 2006.
She was an ambassador for the 46664 concert and campaigned tirelessly against the disease. In 2007 she addressed Parliament telling leaders to "accept that Aids is here".
She touched many people with her bravery and honesty about HIV/Aids. She died of tuberculosis on 10 June 2009 at the age 24.
Natalie du Toit: 24
South Africa's favourite sportswoman Natalie Du Toit lost her leg at the age of 17 in an accident, but that did not stop her from pursuing her dream. Five months after she had her leg amputated, she was back in the pool. A year later she won medals at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
She went on to swim against able-bodied athletes and she came out tops. This inspirational woman is one of the world's fastest distance swimmers and the only amputee to qualify for the Olympics.
Masingita Masunga: 29
Masingita Masunga suffers from cerebral palsy that manifests itself as a speech impediment. She's from Limpopo and her family raised her like any other child, but her community rejected her. When her parents decided to send her to a normal school the community made fun of her and they expected her to fail.
Masunga proved them wrong; now she's a successful businesswoman in her own right. She is the Managing Director of Tinyungubyiseni Talent Promotion Company, which has helped disabled people to make contributions to society through various programmes. Her company staged the country's first beauty pageant for the disabled, the Miss Confidence SA competition.
She also promotes a music competition for people with disabilities.
Nontwenhle Mchunu: 27
Nontwenhle Mchunu is a young entrepreneur from KwaZulu-Natal. She makes chocolates and plans to create a world-class chocolate brand. Pick n Pay and Protea Hotels are some of her major customers.
Her business has earned her the title of the 'Chocolate Lady'. In 2008 she won the South Africa's Businesswomen's Association Regional Business Achiever Award in the social entrepreneur category for her newly established company, Ezulwini Chocolat.
Mchunu dreams of heading a successful chocolate business in the townships to create jobs for the underprivileged people.
Jo-Ann Strauss: 27
Jo-Ann Strauss has proved that you can have it all ? the looks, body and brains! She was crowned Miss South Africa in 2000 and has dedicated her time since then to charity work. Strauss is a campaigner for the alleviation of poverty and for the rights of all people to education.
She is the chairperson of the Partnership Foundation Trust which equips learners with essential skills for building South Africa. The non-profit organisation grooms young people to become future leaders. Strauss is also a motivational speaker.
Sure, times have changed ? the struggle is no longer black and white, but that does not mean that the struggle is over. Today's youth have their own challenges: HIV/Aids, crime, poverty, and rampant drug abuse. To succeed in times like these is a triumph; to make a difference is extraordinary. This Youth Day, let's celebrate the extraordinary.Can you think of any other young South Africans who should be celebrated? Share your thoughts below..