Elders must guide youth - Zuma

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pretoria - The elderly must teach the youth what it means to be South African and love and work for this country selflessly, says President Jacob Zuma

"Our elders should teach our youth about the various periods and phases of our struggle for freedom, about Curtis Nkondo and various leaders of our country. They must learn from them the road we have traveled to get to the era where we can say we live in a free, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa," the President said.

He was speaking at the official funeral of former High Commissioner to Namibia and struggle veteran, Curtis Nkondo on Saturday.

Zuma said that the elderly members of society must teach the youth about the fundamental guiding principle of non-racialism, and "why we say this country belongs to all who live in it, black and white."

He said he was concerned that South Africa was beginning to lose its stalwarts and elders and that they had not left behind a written legacy.

Nkondo died at age 82 last week at the Bedford Life Gardens Clinic in Johannesburg after a long illness.

He was the Chairperson of the Soweto Teachers' Action Committee, President of the National Education Union of South Africa, Vice-President of the South African Democratic Teachers' Union and a member of the Soweto Education Co-ordination Committee.

Zuma said described Nkondo as a teacher who realised the liberating effect of education. He remained a role-model to all teachers as he went above and beyond the call of duty.

"His actions reaffirm the importance of teachers in our communities and in our society.

"Education will continue to be a priority for this government which sees it as a means to liberate the minds of our people, grow our economy and improve the socio-economic status of our people," he said.

The President urged the elders to teach the youth of South Africa about the role of foreign nationals had played in the life and economy of the country.

"Our elders should teach our children and youth about the role played by other Africans in the struggle for our freedom.

"In honour of patriots such as Curtis Nkondo, our youth must understand the role of countries such as Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Algeria, Uganda, Angola, Ethiopia, Cuba, the former USSR and a host of others, in solidarity with us to help us achieve our freedom," he said.

"We owe this to the memory of our stalwarts who understand the role of internationalism in any struggle for freedom," the President said