The former President of our Country Nelson Mandela is quoted as saying “It always seems impossible until is done” there are no words that can perfectly capture what the youth of 1976 faced in their stand against an unjust murderous regime.
The task that laid ahead of them when they said “enough is enough” would have been too daunting for any generation to face but with a determined spirit they took that valiant stand and paid the ultimate price, in what is now known as the 1976 uprising where hundreds of young people lost their lives and some were injured and suffered life altering injuries.
This year our country commemorates 45 years since that fateful day when these events occurred.
As we look back into our history we cannot but stand in awe at the bravery that was displayed by the young men and women who took a stand, that caused the whole world to take up and note the human rights abuses that were happening in our country at the hands of the apartheid government.
The bravery shown by that generation is something that the youth of today can learn from.
They were faced with insurmountable odds and used their voice and their feet to take a stand against an institution that had degraded them and their parents.
In the midst of all of this they were able to take a stand that would turn the history of our country.
The famed French author Franz Fanon once saud “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it”.
We can never doubt the generation of 1976 as they became the building blocks for the youth of today.
Their exploits show all of us what is possible when young people stand together in the pursuit of justice.
The youth of today, face the triple challenges that plague our country which are unemployment, inequality and poverty.
The challenges which are in part as a result our countries legacy, require all our young people to band together and to fully exploit every avenue available for them to take themselves and their families forward.
These triple challenges faced by our country have been exacerbated by the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus, which has caused a severe economic fall-out.a
Thomas Paine, who is well known as one of the Founding Father of the United States is quoted saying “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph”.
I find these words to be apt for the challenges that our youth and country are faced with.
While our government continues to utlise utilise youth month to galvanise and focus energy towards youth empowerment and development. It is the responsibility of every young person to be enquisitive and enquire about what opportunities there are for young people.
The fourth industrial revolution is here and requires our young people to be at the centre of the latest trends that are taking the world by storm and bring with them ample opportunities.
It is for this reason that the department of Cogta, which I lead continues to invest in bursaries for young people, and youth empowerment programmes such as the EPWP Programme through which we have recruited 11 000 young people. Who are able to receive training and provide for their families. Similarly we have recruited 500 young people to be interns within our municipalities for a period of two years. These young people come from disciplines such as town planning, engineering, finance and many others which are regarded as scarce skills within local government.
The investment in these young people is yet another indication of our government’s commitment to our young people.
We also continue to provide ample opportunities for employment to young people within the departments own recruitment processes.
While these efforts might a drop in the ocean we strongly believe that this governments commitment to empowering the youth will never waver.
The provincial government’s commitment to procure goods and services from businesses owned by young people, as articulated by the Premier Hon Sihle Zikalala is evidence of the commitment we have to our young people.
To turn our situation around required commitment not only from government but from all sectors of our society. The Business men and women have a vital role to play in ensuring that our young people getting opportunities to improve their level of skills.
As we commemorate youth month, let us all recommit ourselves to the struggle of young people. Their empowerment is our empowerment. On them rests the future of our great country, on them rests the hopes for a better South Africa.
I thank you.