Youth urged to fight against unemployment

Monday, June 2, 2014
Nthambeleni Gabara

Johannesburg - Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has encouraged the youth to fight against combating the challenges of poverty, unemployment and the spread of HIV and Aids.

He said while the youth of 1976 fought for freedom and the creation of a democratic state, today’s youth activism should be directed towards tackling the challenges of poverty, personal development, limited socio-economic opportunities, freedom, apathy and the challenges in developing South Africa.

Minister Mthethwa was speaking at the launch of the 2014 Youth Month at the Hector Pieterson museum in Soweto on Monday.

Through Youth Month, he said, government at all levels will be focusing its energies and resources on matters pertinent to youth empowerment and development.

The 2014 Youth Day will take place in Galeshewe stadium in Kimberly, Northern Cape Province. 

Minister Mthethwa said the strategic objectives of Youth Month are to educate the youth about their history; heritage and the role played by young people in the liberation struggle by reflecting on the events of 1976.

“During this month, we also encourage debates, discussions and conversations about the challenges that confront the youth of today and how they can take forward the baton of leadership.

“We will also use it to highlight government programmes and opportunities for youth development and how youth can access them. We encourage oral reminiscences by the 1976 veterans.

“This we will do as part of sharing the experiences of 1976 and identifying and celebrating untold stories and unsung heroes and heroines in every community and every workplace while mobilising society in the implementation of vision 2030,” he said.

The 2014 Youth Day is highly significant as the country marks 20 years of democracy and freedom. It also marks 38 years since the 1976 Soweto uprising that tragically ended with hundreds of young people killed by the apartheid government when they protested against the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.

Minister Mthethwa said the reason for associating Youth Day with Soweto is because it is in the area where revolts began, gained momentum and spread to other parts of the country.

The advent of the post-colonial and post-apartheid democratic government brought about the new way of looking at the day by rededicating it to the youth of South Africa – hence Youth Day.

The idea was to perpetuate the memory, history of those who died and suffered during this day. It also has become an important Heritage moment that urges all South Africans to carry out their legacy and principles of selflessness determination and devotion that are necessary for success and growth for any society or nation.

Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela said: “Collectively as young people we have to fight the scourge of HIV and Aids. We have to confront the challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

“We have to be at the centre of changing our own lives. There is not going to be anyone, anywhere in the world who would do anything for us if we are not in the fore front of making a contribution to changing our own lives.

“From the lessons of Hector Pieterson, Tsietsi Mashinini and many others who died 38 years ago, they did not sit back, wait, they didn’t say that someone will free us, they were in the forefront of defeating the apartheid regime.

“We are responsible for changing our own lives today as the current generation.”

Representing Premier David Makhura, Gauteng Economic Development MEC, Lebogang Maile said: “It is important to remember the role young people played in bringing about democracy and freedom in our country.

“It is also important that the current generation must be inspired by those who came before them so that they can take forward the economic struggle in our country.”

MEC Maile said the effective role played by the class of 1976 is a clear demonstration of what the collective energies of young people can achieve. -

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