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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.



Youth have a vital role in fighting the spread of COVID-19.
  • The youth of 1976 fought an oppressive regime; the youth of 2021 are called on to fight the spread of the COVID-19.
  • Youth can become agents of change in their social circles and communities to assist our country fight against the coronavirus.
  • Let your actions speak louder than our words by practicing social distancing and following good hygiene habits.
  • Our fate literally rests in our own hands, and we must therefore continue with frequent hand cleaning with alcohol based hand rub or with soap and water.
  • Young people are encouraged to participate in debates and strategies in the fight against the coronavirus.

Young people are key to rebuilding and transforming our economy.



  • Let us rise to the challenge of leading our post COVID-19 recovery and embrace opportunities created by the “new normal".
  • In unlocking the potential of our youth, we can build an inclusive economy, create employment and transform our society.
  • Young people are called to collectively work towards their economic emancipation, particularly in these challenging times. 
  • The youth are responsible for their own advancement and must take their destiny in their hands.
  • Let us awaken the spirit of 1976 where young people were actively involved in defining their future and country they wanted.
We are broadening the frontiers of opportunity for our young people.
  • The Presidential Youth Employment Intervention creates new pathways into employment for our young people.
  • It ensures that the youth gain the right skills and are able to start their own businesses and get into good jobs.
  • We have also opened employment opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme, Community Works Programme and the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator.
  • The Tshepo One Million Programme targets a million young people with skills training, job placement and entrepreneurship development.
  • Our Youth Employment Service aims to create more than one million paid internships for mainly young black South Africans.
  • Join our National Youth Service, which allows young people to become activists for good by participating in the upliftment of the communities. 
Government is creating opportunities for young people who want be entrepreneurs.
  • Young people with an aptitude for business are encouraged to grab entrepreneurial opportunities available and start their own businesses.
  • It will not only provide them with an income but is the best way to achieve inclusive growth and economic freedom.
  • Government is creating a favourable and supportive environment for youth to become successful entrepreneurs.
  • The NYDA Grant Programme provides young entrepreneurs with an opportunity to access both financial and non-financial business development support in order to enable them to establish or grow their businesses.
  • The Youth Pipeline Development Programme is an IDC Special Scheme business support and grant-funding programme that assists potential applicants to improve the readiness of their proposal.
Empower yourself by obtaining and developing the right skills set required by the economy.
  • Education, especially on tertiary level, needs to be responsive to market demands and skills expectations.
  • Parents must assist their children in making informed career choices and matching their skills to those demand in the economy.
  • Skills such as artisans, healthcare, physical, mathematical, engineering sciences and technology fields are in demand.
  • Government is working to introduce specialised short courses to address the mismatch between the existing educational, training and development programmes and the requirements of the economy.


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