Young people taking responsibility to “Live
the Legacy: Towards a Socio-Economically Empowered Youth”
PIETERSON MUSEUM, SOWETO
4 JUNE 2018
of Gauteng Province, the Honourable David Makhura;
of Arts and Culture, the Honourable Nathi Mthethwa;
of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Mr Sifiso Mtsweni;
of the ’76 generation and erstwhile Youth leaders,
from the various youth formations;
It is a great honour to launch this year’s
Youth Month almost 44 years after the brutal act of the Apartheid regime
against millions of innocent and revolutionary young people and children of
South Africa. The generation of ‘76 laid
a solid foundation in our fight against cultural domination and oppression, in
the context of a multifaceted struggle for liberation. They were the young
people who swelled the ranks of the ANC and Umkhonto we Sizwe.
The tipping point for the Young people throughout
the country, as they took to the streets resisting the imposition of Afrikaans
as a medium of instruction, and the apartheid security police responded with
live ammunition, killing scores of unarmed youth on 16 June 1976. We
commemorate Youth Month in honour of the young people, many of whom paid the
ultimate price in the course of our struggle. It is therefore fitting that we
launch this year’s Youth Month at the Hector Pieterson Museum, just a stone’s
throw away from the humble homes of Tata Nelson Mandela and Mam’ Albertina
Sisulu whose centenaries we also celebrate this year.
launch also takes place hardly a month since the passing of one of our
liberation’s cultural custodians, Mr Sam Nzima, who captured for the world to
see the brutality of the Apartheid system which turned live ammunition on a
defenceless but assertive youth. It is
also almost fortnight since we have laid to rest one of our movement’s
stalwarts, Mr Eddie Funde, who had the responsibility (as International Head of
the ANC Youth Section) to integrate the hundreds of thousands of young people
who fled the country in the wake of the ’76 uprisings.
We've been celebrating this youth month since the
dawn of democracy, part of our monitoring and evaluation, we will start a
process of engaging through dialogues with the youth about what youth month
means to them and their views on how it should be celebrated, this dialogue we
will start with the youth of Soweto shortly.
also have a responsibility for their development
Ladies and Gentlemen, I cite Tata Madiba, Ma
Sisulu and these departed cadres as a means of displaying that all of them (and
many more) had one important common feature --- that is they took
RESPONSIBILITY at the prime of their youth, at times beyond their means,
imaginations and age, despite the adversities and difficulties they faced.
It is for this reason that we have chosen the
theme “Live the Legacy: Towards a
Socio-Economically Empowered Youth”, for this year’s youth month, because we recognise the
responsibilities young people have as principal actors in their own socio
economic empowerment. We must live the
legacy. To paraphrase what Tata Madiba
“Our youth is our future. Whether our country
will rise from the ashes of apartheid to become one of the world’s success
stories will, to a large extent, depend on…our youth.”
As we gather to launch Youth Month, we must
recommit ourselves to youth development as envisaged by Madiba and subsequent
generations. Youth month reminds us
about the importance of investing in our youth as a way of building a better
tomorrow. The journey towards building a better tomorrow will be excelerated,
with the youth taking up more responsibility for their own development.
3. Inequality and Youth Unemployment
asking the youth to take up more responsibilities, we are not oblivious to
their realities and challenges. According to a report by The World Bank
entitled “Overcoming Poverty and
Inequality in South Africa”, South Africa remains one of the most unequal
societies in the world in by any measure:
inequality - Conditions Survey 2014/15 found that the
country had a Gini coefficient of 0.63 in 2015, the highest in the world and an
increase since 1994. Further analysis of consumption expenditure trends
provides evidence that the very poor—those in the bottom 10 percent—grew at a
slower pace than the rest of the population between 2006 and 2015
of opportunity - An estimation of the inequality of
opportunity index and its ratio to overall inequality found that inequality of
opportunity in South Africa is high relative to its comparators.
inequality - South Africa has a high concentration of
low income earners (the poor) and a few very high-income earners (the rich or
elite), but only a small number of middle-income earners, resulting in a high
level of income polarization.
of wealth - Ownership of financial assets features
prominently among the factors that influence wealth inequality. For the poor,
financial assets represent 36 percent of total assets compared to 75 percent
for the rich.
inter-generational mobility –Intergenerational mobility
in South Africa is low in comparison to other countries indicating an enduring
link between life outcomes for a given generation versus those of the previous
generation, which is an obstacle to inequality reduction.
level of polarization has not changed over time, and this has had a sustained
negative impact on youth unemployment.
Young people constitute 70% of our population. We can
benefit from being amongst the youngest population in the world if we invest in
our young people then we can reap the demographic dividend, but according
to Stats South Africa 3 million of our young people aged between 15 and 24 years
are Neither in Employment, Education nor Training (NEET). This means
that the bias of government policy must shift towards youth development and empowerment.
Young people have an immense opportunity to influence
South Africa’s political landscape. However, research reflects the low levels
of youth participation in democratic institutions, low voter turnout among the youth
and seemingly low levels of interest in political activities. Young people
should participate in the democratic processes for example the hearings that
are taking place in parliament such as the issue of land expropriation without
compensation. Because land is a critical asset for wealth creation,
agriculture, business, social infrastructure and also for an important asset
that will move us away from apartheid spatial planning.
[ Efforts such as
the recently launched Africa Continental Free Trade Area, which is a single
continental market for goods and services, will require highly skilled
Africans. Young entrepreneurs must be active players in the free trade area. Again
the youth of today have the responsibility to be active participants and
leaders of such exciting and unfolding continental trajectory and path, through
AU led programmes such as the African Youth Volunteer Corps, amongst other
4. Government Interventions
Culture, Health, Sports and Recreation
In actively participating in their own
development the youth have the responsibility to ensure that they play their
part by making education fashionable.
is the single most important equalizer and an important stepping stone towards
employment and the addressing of intergenerational poverty and inequality. This was one of the motivators to providing
resources towards no-fee-paying schools and free tertiary education.
we should increase our investment in the cultural industries. Arts and Culture and
the creative industry in general have the potential to drive sustainable
development and create inclusive job opportunities. Our policies as government should recognise
the viability of industries in sports and recreation and open opportunities for
young entrepreneurs that are involved in those businesses.
people must also exploit the vast opportunities that are in the tourism and
oceans economy sector. These sectors have immense vocational and entreprenurial
opportunities such as
4th Industrial Revolution
and Gentlemen, in taking up their responsibilities towards an educated and
healthy nation young people also have the responsibility to equip themselves to
take up opportunities presented by the 4th industrial
revolution. These opportunities require
greater innovation and a more focussed skills revolution which will equip our
society with capabilities in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and
Mathematics (STEM) areas.
In order to reach our innovation targets we must
increase our gross expenditure on research and development. We must also call
on the private sector to continue and accelerate research based partnerships
aimed at facilitating for product and service development as well as innovation.
programmes such as RU-FORUM, which is an African network of Universities in the
Agriculture, through private sector support of innovations by young people
coupled with partnerships with the academic, civil society and public sectors, we
can facilitate for community based solutions for our own communities.
4.3. The NYDA and NYS
Gentlemen, it is the combination of youth activism and innovation with the
foundation of local knowledge that will accelerate us into the path of the
Africa We Want. Consequently, it is
against this backdrop that part of the task of the NYDA Mobile Office is to
ensure that opportunities are accessible at the fingertips of youth using
mobile phones by giving them access to free Wi-Fi. We must as Tata Mandela and
Mam Sisulu did volunteer our time and skills to support these and other
initiatives aimed at reaching young people and servicing our communities.
One such programme is the National Youth
Service which seeks to provide long-term and
effective ways of reconstructing our society by developing the abilities of
young people through service and learning. The NYS is complemented by the efforts
directed by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) which is
informed by the National Youth Policy and coordinates and mainstreams youth
development across all sectors of society.
will continue to rollout a number of development programmes throughout the
month as we commemorate Youth Month. I encourage youth to take part in these
programmes so that they can benefit optimally from these initiatives.
once said, “Uzoyithola kanjani uhlel’ekoneni!”
Director, allow me to commend all the organisations that invest in youth
development programmes, and to conclude by recalling the words of Tata Madiba on
the passing of Ma Sisulu, he wrote of her:
your selflessness and dedication, through your moral authority and sincere
humility — during and after the struggle — you rightly earned to be the mother
of all our people.
I hope that our cadres and people in
general, will cherish your qualities, learn from them, and emulate them in
their own lives and conduct.
the young women and men of today take it as their responsibility to emulate
this selfless life well lived.
cannot afford any other heinous incident such as the alleged murder of Zolile
Khumalo at the hands of a former boyfriend and fellow student. We take this opportunity to commend the
justice system for the handling of the case of Karabo Mokoena, and call for
such vigilance in similar cases. We also
wish to call on young people, particularly young men, to take up responsibility
in securing the safety of all leaners and students.
Men must take responsibility in educating and
acting against other men who met out violence against women and children we
will not win the battle of violence against women and children. Of course, these heinous acts are a mirror of
the society we live in. Society and
families also have the responsibility to raise responsible young men and women,
we dare not abdicate our responsibility as parents and siblings of the
perpetrators, survivors and victims.