Creating a brighter future for our youth
On 16 June it will be 42 years since the tragic and senseless killing of school pupils during the 1976 Soweto Uprising.The deaths of these young people – who protested peacefully for their right to education – were not in vain.They sparked international outrage, which played a crucial role in bringing an end to apartheid.
The massacre also acted as a catalyst for the celebration of Youth Day and Youth Month, which we celebrate every June. As responsible adults, we should all be familiarising our children with the significance of the Soweto Uprising.The protest and the longlasting impact it had holds many lessons for the youth of today.
It reminds all of us of the struggles the youth of the apartheid era went through to achieve a fair education system that would benefit generations to come. It reminds us of their Constitutional right to gain an education. And it reminds the youth that we can make a difference in their own lives and those of others.
It is also a reminder of the crucial responsibility we have to create an environment where our children and young people can flourish. The issues faced by the youth, which include unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse and unplanned pregnancy, can only be solved through collective efforts from all members of society.
Government recognises that it has to create a solid framework for youth empowerment, while also translating plans into action. This is why youth empowerment is central to many of national, provincial and local governments' programmes.
The National Youth Policy (NYP) creates a framework that shapes a common vision to enable young South Africans to actively participate and contribute towards society and the economy. The success of the policy largely depends on the successful implementation of the Integrated Youth Development Strategy, which outlines how the goals of the NYP can be achieved.
Of the many youth programmes being implemented by government, the new Youth Employment Service is one of the most exciting and is expected to have a significant positive impact on youth unemployment.
Launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in March, the programme aims to build active partnerships between government, business, labour and civil society with the goal of creating one million work opportunities over the next three years. This will be achieved through the placement of unemployed youth into 12-month long workplace experience programmes, while also developing black-owned small, medium and macro enterprises.
It is encouraging to see that more than 100 companies have already signed up for the initiative. With business and civil society supporting government's intense focus on the youth, we are ushering in a brighter tomorrow for the people who hold the future of South Africa in their hands.
Communications MinisterNomvula Mokonyane.