Youth must continue to rise

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Pretoria - For Africa to continue its rise, everyone and especially the younger generation must be the change people want to see.

The current generation needs to take up the reins and continue to push for a better continent and a better world.

This was the narrative of Monday’s public lecture to end Africa Month celebrations.

The lecture was delivered by Public Enterprises Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe at Unisa, in Pretoria.

Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) has formed a partnership with the institution to mark the celebrations under the theme “Building a Better Africa and a Better World”.

Deputy Minister Magwanishe told the guests that the task at hand is to drive a new narrative around Africa.

The narrative, he said, should be one of unlimited potential and a renewed hope for a better future.

“We also need to reaffirm our commitment to changing the lives of our people," he said.

“We therefore have the responsibility to protect the dignity of our displaced African brothers and sisters. We cannot change their world without first locating the position of Africa in the world.

“Everywhere we are, we need to cooperate to bring about change. We need to promote this cooperation in all fields of human activity in order to raise the living standards of our people,” Deputy Minister Magwanishe said.

African countries, he continued, need to also learn from each other to make themselves stronger.

“What we as South Africans are capable of teaching our brothers and sisters, from other African states, let us do so without any excuse. In the same breath, we must also allow ourselves to learn from them for the success of the continent,” he said

For Africa to succeed, Deputy Minister Magwanishe said, Africa must not just be exporters of raw materials.

“We need to move towards beneficiating those materials. As long as we export raw materials, to other countries which comes back as finished products then Africa will never realise its true potential,” he said, adding that it’s a programme linked to intra-Africa trade.

“Without beneficiation, we won’t be able to solve our triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment,” he said, noting that we cannot allow others to drive the agenda and determine the country’s future.

Department of Arts and Culture’s Director for social cohesion, Dr Abraham Serote, said celebrating Africa Month is the cause for Africa's reawakening.

He said social cohesion and nation building is a mission of this current generation. He defined social cohesion as the degree of social integration amongst individuals and communities as well as a sense of belonging.

But this mission, he added, is inextricably linked to the “texture of our relations to the rest of the African continent”.

“It’s a mission that we can either fulfil or betray, but either way, history will forever be ready to pass judgement.”

Unisa’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Mandla Makhanya said, as an institution they are proud to have co-hosted such an event which comes at a time when the continent is flooded with societal issues that need it to realign.

“This lecture is timely as we seek views and causes of action towards more just and equitable societies across all fronts,” he said, adding that they have an enabling policy environment in which to contextualise and chart the way forward. -

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