Zuma inspires youth

Thursday, July 30, 2009
By: 
Gabi Khumalo

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma had some inspiring words to impart to the country's youth on Wednesday.

"You must dream, think, be ambitious in a correct way, don't surrender; and fight until you succeed and conquer," said President Zuma, addressing learners from various schools in Gauteng at the Youth Leaders Summit.

The President used himself as an example of someone who overcame obstacles in his youth.

"Who can believe that I didn't go to school. But, I worked hard and succeeded. If you set an objective and work on it, you will achieve it," he said.

Mr Zuma said opportunities existed for the millions of the country's youth,, but conceded that it was difficult for them to take full advantage of them, especially in rural areas.

Government, together with various departments, including the private sector, will therefore continue to see how best it can broaden opportunities for the youth, he said.

The newly formed National Youth Development Agency will also be used to ensure equitable empowerment of the youth and will assist them through the agency to access funds.

The agency, which was launched on 16 June 2009, will implement programmes relating to information provision, skills development and transfer and entrepreneurship.

The President challenged the youth to take advantage of opportunities provided by the Department of Trade and Industry and other departments.

"With unemployment largely affecting the youth, there must be constructive measures of ensuring that their entrepreneurial abilities are enhanced, thus reducing dependence on government and the private sector for employment," he said, adding that government will help the youth to help themselves.

He also challenged Youth Managers to coach high school learners to make the right subject choices so that they could pursue studies in the technical, scientific, medical and business fields.

"If you talk about nation building, you are talking about shaping the youth. South Africa will in the coming years stand tall amongst the nations for making right decisions in the development of young people," he said.

He challenged young people to volunteer their services to their communities, like they did on 18 July, to mark Former President Nelson Mandela's birthday by dedicating 67 minutes of their time to serve their communities.

"True leaders seek ways to improve their country, among other things this involves inculcating a culture of volunteerism among the youth. Most of us, in our various capacities, can afford to dedicate more than 67 minutes of our time regularly to improve other people's lives in this country," he said.

Chairperson of the Youth Managers organization, Mabutho Mthembu said: "We believe that if we develop this society, we cultivate it at an early age, we acknowledge effort by government in nurturing young entrepreneurs."

He said entrepreneurs were not developed in a day.

The Youth Leaders Summit, organised by the Youth Managers organisation, aims to create an entrepreneurial culture among the youth and educate them about financial management.

During the summit, young people were asked to form groups. Each group had to present a business idea and convince judges why their business was the best.

One of the learners attending the summit, a Grade 9 learner from Eketsang Seconday School, Mpumelelo Moyo said it was a useful exercise.

"I've learned the importance of coming up with a good business idea in order to sustain it and that if you have the courage, you can achieve anything in life as well as the importance of saving our environment," he said.