South African students protest against the racist 'bantu' education system during June 1976. This year represents the 31st anniversary of the uprising.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
15 June 2007
The African National Congress pays tribute to the youth of South Africa as the country celebrates Youth Day and commemorates the 31st anniversary of the historical June 16 uprisings.
We have come a long way since thousands of young men and women, united in their cause, joined hands and waged an ambitious battle against a heavy-handed apartheid government.
Armed with zeal to see an end to unjust and discriminatory policies, including the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in schools, they confronted a system that for long had sought to oppress people on the basis of colour.
The generation of 1976 occupies a special place in our history and its members continue to play leading roles in the transformation of our society.
At a time when political activism brought the harshest forms of repression and liberation movements were forced into exile, the youth put their lives and those of their families at risk by mobilising against the regime and built a force of resistance against apartheid policies.
Over decades, inspired by the example of the youth leaders of 1944, the ANC's youth wing, the Youth League, has pursued its struggle guided by the fundamental tenets of moral conduct.
Thirty-one years on, the youth are now faced with challenges of a different kind. Having won the war against the policies of oppression and white minority rule, young people of today need to consolidate the gains of freedom. They need to do this through active participation in economic activity as the nation forges ahead with the fight against poverty and unemployment.
The youth of today need to emulate the youth of 1976 in their desire for quality, appropriate and equal education in a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous country.
As the ANC said in its January 8th Statement 2007, youth empowerment must remain a central feature of our developmental focus. Initiatives that relate to putting in place sustainable platforms for economic growth cannot succeed without the massive participation of South Africa's youth.
This participation is not only critical towards the empowerment of young people, but also serves as a bridge between the first and second economies. We need to respond to the fact that our youth experience more acutely than other sections of the population the barriers to entry to mainstream economic activity, including a lack of access to capital, skills, and experience.
We must continue to address the role and function of institutions like the National Youth Commission, National Youth Service and Umsobomvu Youth Fund within the broader ambit of further elaborating a cohesive and integrated youth empowerment model.
As we confront the challenges of crime, unemployment, lack of skills and other social ills, we call on the youth to form partnerships with institutions at the forefront of initiatives aimed at addressing these shortcomings. The ANC will continue to advocate for the emancipation of young people as we press ahead with our journey towards the realisation of a better life for all.
Issued by: African National Congress
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Mbeki to address Youth Day ceremony
Mbeki will address the national Youth Day ceremony in East London
June 15, 2007, 21:45
Youth Day celebrations will be held around the country tomorrow.
President Thabo Mbeki will address the national Youth Day ceremony at the Absa Park Stadium in East London. The president will make his speech around 11:55am.
Jacob Zuma, the ANC deputy president, and Fikile Mbalula, the ANC Youth League president, will commemorate Youth Day at the Mangaung stadium in Bloemfontein. Other speakers at this function will be Ace Magashule, the provincial ANC leader, and Blade Nzimande, the SACP general secretary. Provincial premiers will address celebrations at various places in their respective provinces.
Reprinted From Hlomelang: The Official Newsletter of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL)
Youth March to claim their future!
“Basically, the market which is premised on apartheid capitalism, has failed to clear unemployment and therefore the liberal logic that when the market is left on its own would ultimately clear any disequilibria has yet again proved to be fallacious, except to help the rich to get richer while the unemployed are made to embrace false hopes for a better future.”
THE ANC YOUTH LEAGUE JUNE YOUTH MONTH PROGRAMME has started in earnest. True to our mission that we exist to mobilize the youth behind the vision of the ANC, as well as to champion youth interests, the ANC Youth League staged its national rally to demand access to skills development and decent work through quality jobs.
On the 6 June 2007, the ANC Youth League marched to the Union Buildings to present a memorandum stating various demands all informed by the June Youth Month theme: "Youth access to skills development for decent jobs".
Statistically it is estimated that of the nearly 40% unemployed people, using the expanded definition of unemployment, more than 70% of these are young people between the ages 15 to 35 years. While the level of the unemployment is indeed very high, it is very disturbing that the youth take up to 70% of this already high figure.
For this reason, we have concluded as the ANC Youth League, that we need to revisit the strategies we have employed to confront youth development in South Africa, considering the fact that we are note faced with an ordinary challenge because by any standards 40% unemployment is no small figure.
It was within this context that we adopted the Integrated Youth Development Strategy as comprehensive approach to youth development, as opposed to the fragmented approach that saw unemployment being persistent over the more than decade of democracy. Central to this strategy, which was adopted by the ANC NGC in 2005, and the youth of South Africa during the National Youth Policy Review Convention in 2006 that was convened by the National Youth Commission, is the mainstreaming of youth development.
Under normal circumstances wherein the unemployment are not as persistently high and are not informed by structural deficiencies as characterized by what others have called a "two economy" scenario, in attempting to explain the inequalities that are informed by race, we would not be as emphatic on issues of mainstreaming because the normal course of development would have dictated that the youth are indeed mainstreamed.
Basically, the market which is premised on apartheid capitalism, has failed to clear unemployment and therefore the liberal logic that when the market is left on its own would ultimately clear any disequilibria has yet again proved to be fallacious, except to help the rich to get richer while the unemployed are made to embrace false hopes for a better future.
Much of the challenges faced by young people are due to the fact that the vast majority belong to the "second economy" which is third world and predominantly black and generally fail to help its young to enter the mainstream economy of our country. What we have is a vicious cycle of poverty, wherein the poor raise their young to be poor adults, and this legacy stemming from apartheid socio-economic engineering perpetuate this legacy throughout all generations.
It is for this reason that we insist that without affirmation action, our economic development in general and growth in particular, would only help widen the gap of inequality if this fails to filter down amongst the majority of our people.
As our youth marched to the Union Buildings to present a memorandum to government, they were doing so fulfilling the historic mission of the ANC to defeat racism in all its political, social and economic manifestations, with particular reference to economic participation through decent work and quality jobs. Simultaneously, the march fulfilled the ANCYL mission, in that it sought to advance the historic mission of the ANC while championing youth interests at the same time, and it is this that characterize us as the youth wing of the ANC.
As we marched to the Union Buildings on the 6th June 2007, our youth were enraged by the glaring statistical facts that points out they constitute 70% of the unemployed and that 40% of the unemployed youth have never held any job before. Also, 60% of the employed earn less than R2500 per month.
The fragmented approach to youth development wherein the issue itself has been treated in a piecemeal basis, with projects that were meant to massively enroll the youth such as the National Youth Service only being implemented as though they were pilot project has not helped either. As a result, to date we cannot point out as to what has been the comprehensive initiatives that speaks to the fact that 70% of the unemployed are young people, with therefore programmes corresponding to this challenge.
Our understanding is that the statistic speaks for themselves that unemployment in South Africa is essentially a youth problem and therefore reflective of our economies' inability to absorb the youth into main stream economic activities. As we marched to the Union Building to present our memorandum to the Presidency, our aim was to call for both government and the private sector to reach an effective partnership that would respond to the problems of lack of skills and the problem of high unemployment.
We will therefore work with government and the private sector in ensuring that our demands become a reality.
On the 1st June 2007, we convened a media conference, wherein we outlined our June Youth Month Programme.
Following the National Day of Action on the 6th June 2007, on Saturday 2nd June, we convened a Peter Mokaba Memorial Lecture, celebrating the life and times of the former South African Youth Congress and ANC Youth League President. On the 9th June 2007, we are scheduled to convene the Peter Mokaba Commemoration Rally in Sekhukhune, in the Limpopo Province. On the same day, all provinces will convene provincial rallies to commemorate the life and times of comrade Peter Mokaba.
On the 14 June 2007, we will convene a June 16 Memorial Lecture at Wits University in Johannesburg to commemorate the 31st Anniversary of June 16 and to instill political consciousness amongst the youth through the history youth struggle against apartheid.
The highlight of the June Youth Month programme will be the ANC Youth League National Rally to be held in Bloemfontein at the Seiso Ramabodu Stadium in the Free State on 16 June 2007. On 21st June 2007 there will be a June 16 Memorial Lecture, whose aim would be to instill political consciousness amongst the youth.
Finally, there would be yet another Day of Action to demand access to education through engagement with government and that there must be urgent introduction of free and compulsory education, and this will be on 26th June 2007.
This June youth month programme reflects some of the urgent things that we think must be done urgently to ensure that youth development is not only seen to be done, but that indeed there are programmes that would restore confidence in their own future, and in this we see no other more sure basis than quality education wherein access would be afforded all our people.
What we expect from government in particular, is a clear programme that would ensure the following is done urgently. Firstly, that there is programme to introduce free and compulsory education. Secondly, that government present programme that shows how the high unemployment amongst the youth would be dealt with, considering also the role of the private sector. These must be quality jobs to ensure decent work for all.
Thirdly, there must be commitment towards massification of the National Youth Service Programme. Fourthly, there must be clarity on the roles of the government departments of labour, education, arts and culture and science and technology, in as far as clarifying the acceptable career paths that our youth may take.
Finally, government must clarify to the youth of our country its implementation of the Integrated Youth Development Strategy, corresponding to that being the resolutions by the youth of our country on collapsing the Umsobomvu Youth Fund and the Youth Commissions into one body, that being the proposed National Youth Development Agency, in order to spearhead youth development seamlessly in all the three spheres of government and in the private sector.