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YOUTH MONTH 2015 LAUNCHED IN SOWETO
ADDRESS BY NYDA EXECUTIVE CHAIRPERSON, YERSHEN PILLAY ON THE OCCASION OF THE LAUNCH OF YOUTH MONTH 2015
Minister in the Presidency for Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation, The Honourable Jeff Radebe,
Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation, The Honourable Buti Manamela,
Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, The Honourable Rejoice Mabudafasi,
Gauteng MEC for Education Mr Panyaza Lesufi,
Deputy Executive Chairperson of the NYDA Board, Mr Kenny Morolong,
Board Members of the NYDA present,
The Chief Executive Officer of the NYDA, Mr Khathu Ramukumba,
Ward Councillor Mr Themba Msibi,
Representatives of the June 16th Foundation,
Youth leaders from various political formations and civil society organisations,
Representatives of the media,
Comrades, Colleagues and Friends,
Today we launch Youth Month 2015. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Freedom Charter and the 39th anniversary of the 1976 Youth Uprisings. As a nation we have emerged peacefully from the dark days of Apartheid through the collective struggles and sacrifices of black, white, coloured and indian youth. We are consolidating our advance towards a truly non- racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa that belongs to all who live in it. As the youth we will lead the struggle to end racism and all forms of discrimination.
of 1976 stood up against oppression, made their voices heard and changed the
course of history for our country. History is littered with examples of young South Africans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for a better, more peaceful, democratic and prosperous South Africa. So too is the present. When the reputation of our country was being questioned as a result of the recent violence against foreign nationals it was the youth of South Africa who mobilised communities and organised mass protests to openly and unanimously condemn the violence. It was the youth of South Africa who saved our country from being labeled as Xenophobic. It was the youth who took to the streets to defend our country’s reputation and prevent it from being dragged through the mud by a few criminal elements in society.
Some may argue that a great deal has changed since 1976 and the youth of today bare very little or no semblance to the youth of 1976. In fact some go as far as to label the youth of today as complacent, dependent and lazy. Such a characterisation could not be further from the truth and those who do so are guilty of generalising in the extreme. Not all youth are lazy. Not all youth are
apathetic. Not all youth are complacent. Our generation represents a new force of youth development focused on creating opportunities for ourselves and for society as a whole. Yes, the National Youth Development Agency has supported you and we will continue to support you but as we have said many times before, the NYDA is merely here to support and not to lead. Youth must lead and the NYDA will support.
In the last financial year we have supported more youth than ever before and we are proud to indicate that some of those beneficiaries are here today. R29 million was disbursed to 1 043 micro and small youth-owned enterprises through the NYDA Business Grant Programme. The NYDA further provided non-financial business development support to 62 990 young aspiring and established entrepreneurs. We are indeed making significant strides in promoting youth entrepreneurship.
Today we can speak of an NYDA that has proudly supported 938 044 young South Africans with career guidance interventions and 1 253 049 young people with valuable information to access the plethora of opportunities provided to youth by government. It is worth noting that the NYDA Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund has to date provided 586 young people with scholarships to the value of R40 million since inception. The NYDA Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship was launched
by President Jacob Zuma in March 2014 and is aimed at promoting academic excellence.
We have done a lot but we are cognizant of the fact that we are capable of doing more.
Honourable Minister, Deputy Minister, MEC, distinguished guests and young South Africans. It is with great pride and excitement that I announce the NYDA’s Youth Month Programme for 2015:
This year the government of South Africa will be celebrating Youth Month under the theme: Youth Moving South Africa Forward!
On the 6th day of June 2015, the NYDA will host the annual My History Educational Tour on the 1976 youth uprisings right here in Soweto, Gauteng. This event allows school pupils to participate in a cultural and historical tour of all the monuments related to the 1976 youth uprisings and this year we are adding a social dialogue to the programme. This social dialogue will allow young people to debate and share their thoughts on where we have come from as a nation and where we ought to be 60 years after the adoption of the Freedom Charter.
On the 11th day of June 2015, a Youth Parliament will be convened to give young people an opportunity to experience Parliament and to debate issues around youth development.
On the 12th day of June 2015, Deputy Minister Manamela will launch and convene the first meeting of the Presidential Youth Working Group. This working group will be an assembly of Deputy Ministers and 30 youth leaders from various sectors of society who will deliberate on issues of youth development and ensure that youth issues are prioritised in all sectors of our economy.
The NYDA will be opening a new Local Youth Office in Eldorado Park, South of Johannesburg on the 13th June 2015. This local youth office will add to the 180 local youth offices that the NYDA currently has in operation across the length and breadth of the country providing valuable information services and support to young people. The opening of this local youth office is a shining example of how government delivers on promises. President Jacob Zuma visited Eldorado Park in 2013 after personally receiving heartfelt letters of appeal from community members who needed assistance in dealing with the evils of drug abuse and crime. The NYDA followed up the President’s visit by hosting a youth dialogue and bringing products and services to the youth of Eldorado Park. It was during this dialogue that the youth of Eldorado Park unambiguously and unequivocally agreed that if there is one thing the NYDA must deliver on it must be the opening of an NYDA local youth office in the community. This will be done on the 13th June 2015.
On the 14th day of June 2015, the NYDA will host a live dialogue in partnership with the SABC which will provide an opportunity for youth to discuss the promotion of a non-racial society.
The 16th of June 2015 will be the most eventful and youthful national youth day ever. June 16th 2015 will not start and end with a rally. This year, President Jacob Zuma will be launching a new and exciting programme for youth development. The programme will go live for youth to access on June 16th and on the 17th day of June all partners will host a joint press conference to share more about the programme and details of how it will be beneficial to youth. So watch the space, something new is coming! The National Youth Day commemoration will be celebrated at the Tshwane Events Centre in Gauteng and we encourage all young people to attend and participate in the celebrations of the day.
On the 19th June 2015, a Youth in Business Forum will take place in the Eastern Cape to discuss ways to further support youth-owned enterprises.
The first ever research driven youth development institute will be launched on the 25th June 2015. This institute is the outcome of a partnership between the NYDA and the University of Johannesburg and will be responsible for conducting youth development research, developing and piloting youth development models and disseminating youth development knowledge to inform youth related policies. It will be the first of its kind.
Concurrent to all these activities, we will be visiting schools and communities in the Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal and Limpopo with the NYDA Sanitary Towel Dignity Campaign where young girls will be provided with the sanitary towel dignity packs.
We are pleased to announce that various provincial and local initiatives will also implemented by all 14 NYDA branches nationally. A full list of these events is available on the NYDA website at www.nyda.gov.za. A mini site has been created for the purpose of sharing information on all Youth Month activities.
I urge all stakeholders to support us in ensuring that Youth Month 2015 is the best, most eventful youth month ever, after all for us as the NYDA every month is youth month and so it should be for all South Africans.
We are the limitless Youth!
I thank you!