Youth urged to take charge of their future

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, has called on the youth to invent their own version of the future and go beyond the standard set by the 1976 generation.

The Minsiter was addressing the Representative Council of Learners Conference in Pretoria. It was held under the theme, 'Advancing Learner Participation and Functionality of Learner Leaders in South African Schools’.

“I am throwing down the gauntlet to today’s youth to do something... audacious,” Motshekga said on Thursday.

She said youth must harness the power of its forebears as a reference point to guide the country into the future in a bid to root out social ills including tteenage pregnancy and drug abuse.

Learner leadership

The Minister told the RCL members that learner leadership is not merely a badge of honour but a responsibility to lead by example and to inspire others to live a life of service to humanity.

In the 21st century, she said, the South African youth must play a critical role in shaping the country’s future.

“As the generation that will inherit and lead the nation, youth have the potential to drive positive change, overcome societal challenges, and build a more inclusive and prosperous South Africa.

“The youth has the opportunity to rebuild and reshape the country’s social, economic, and healthcare systems post-COVID-19. The pandemic has exposed existing inequalities and vulnerabilities, especially among marginalised communities,” she said.

Motshekga said youth can actively contribute by advocating for equitable access to education, healthcare and economic opportunities.

“They can harness the power of technology and innovation to bridge the digital divide and promote digital literacy, enabling equal opportunities for all.

“By mobilising their energy, creativity and resilience, youth can rebuild a more resilient and sustainable South Africa and contribute to a better world,” Motshekga said.

Register to vote

The Minister took the opportunity to call upon all young people, aged 16 and above, to obtain Identity Documents (IDs) and register to vote in record numbers for the 2024 national general elections.

Motshekga told the youth that it is not only the "right thing" to do but also a civic duty to maintain the momentum of democracy and elect a government that will carry forward Madiba’s legacy.

“Our democratic project requires the nurturing and injection of youthful exuberance. We seek to build a non-racial, non-sexist, and democratic society.

“By embracing these values, young South Africans can work towards a society that upholds human rights, rule of law, fosters unity, and dismantles systemic injustices,” she said.

The Minister also underscored the importance of learner leadership, impressing on the youngsters to help to shape not only their own educational journeys but also "the collective destiny of society". -