This year marks the 45th anniversary of the 16 June 1976 student uprising in Soweto when young people protested against imposition of Afrikaans by the apartheid regime as a medium of instruction.
The uprising ended tragically with hundreds of young people being brutally killed. Following the advent of democracy in 1994, the new democratic government declared 16 June as National Youth Day and June as the Youth Month.
The declaration honours of the contribution of the youth in the struggle for the liberation of South Africa. This year National Youth Day and Youth Month will be celebrated under the theme: “The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: Growing youth employment for an inclusive and transformed society."
South Africa is fortunate to have a youthful nation. However, the recent unemployment statistics pertaining to young people is cause for concern. The 2020 fourth quarter Labour Force Survey found that about 8,6 million young people aged between 15 and 34 years are not in education and not in employment.
In helping drawing more young people into the economy, government has under the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention initiated various youth development and empowerment initiatives to support young people.
It ranges from formal education and training; learnerships and internships as well as support for youth entrepreneurship. Our initiatives provide the necessary support for young people to take on their challenges and win.
The official Youth Month programme will be launched virtually on 1 June 2021. While the youth of 1976 fought for freedom and the creation of a democratic state, young people are called on to help the country the fight against the spread of COVID-19.
Young people are key to rebuilding and transforming our economy.