Young folk in dire need of concrete assistance
WE NEED TO stop the much-talked-about youth development and start implementing the youth programmes, so that our youth are empowered and see economic freedom in their lifetime. Youth of today are called the lost generation, and my question is whose fault is it? Whose fault is it when the youth of today commit themselves to alcohol and drug abuse.
We have been locked in meetings and boardrooms discussing youth programmes and challenges for too long. Now it’s time for less talk and more implementation.
Every year, on June 16, South Africa commemorates the 1976 Soweto uprising to pay tribute to learners who stood up against the apartheid government.
They stood together and laid down their lives, fighting for freedom and the right to equal education. Observed as a public holiday, the day serves as a reminder that young people in the country were at the forefront of our struggle. It also provides us with an opportunity to take stock of the strides we have made in addressing issues facing the youth.
It’s not a day to just be merry, braai and be drunk, as the youth of today are known to do. In South Africa we not only commemorate Youth Day, but dedicate the entire month of June to the youth.
This year’s Youth Month takes place in the same year that South Africa will be marking the centenaries of both Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu. These giants of the Struggle fought tooth and nail to see the emancipation of youth become a reality.
We need to encourage the youth to study agriculture and not look down on the farming sector, because this is where their wealth is and where they will be able to contribute to the economy, create job opportunities, fight poverty and malnutrition and, most importantly, ensure food security.
The slow pace of poverty and hunger reduction points to an urgent need for strategies to empower the youth to target areas where poor people live and the activities on which their lives depend.
A successful strategy for alleviating poverty and hunger must begin by recognising that agriculture is at the heart of the livelihood of rural people.
Smallholder farmers produce more than 70 percent of the world’s food supply, yet shockingly they represent more than 50 percent of the world’s hungriest people.
Now that is where the youth need to focus their energy.
Land reform in our country has been at the centre stage of talks, but where are the youth in these discussions? Give them the opportunity to prosper and they can cultivate a promising economic future that delivers benefits for all.
Youth Month comes less than three months since President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the Youth Employment Service initiative that aims to prepare young people for work through training and matching programmes. It is a business-led initiative in partnership with the government, labour and civil society that will offer 1 million young South Africans paid work experiences over the next three years. I urge our youth to wake up and seize this opportunity to build our country and return it to its rightful place. TSHEPO DIALE NKWE ESTATE