The Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities and its agency, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) in partnership with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture launched Youth Month 2021 on Tuesday, 1 June 2021.
The media launch was held at GCIS, in Pretoria, with Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, CEO of National Youth Development Agency, Mr Waseem Carrim, June 16 Representative Mr Oupa Moloto, and President of the South African Youth Council Mr Thembinkosi Josopu forming part of the panel to address the media.
The year 2021 marks 45 years since the June 16 student uprising of 1976. When June 16 was declared Youth Day in 1994, it was aimed at remembering those who died and suffered during this dark day, as well as to celebrate those who carry their legacy and principles of selflessness, determination and devotion that are necessary for success and growth for any society or nation.
The year 2021 further marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of liberation struggle heroine and human rights campaigner, Charlotte Mannya Maxeke. The theme of this year’s Youth Month – The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: Growing youth employment for an inclusive and transformed society incorporates the anniversary year of Mme Maxeke and our vision for a society which creates opportunities for youth employment and youth leadership.
During the launch, panelists called on South Africans to reflect on the past 45 years and look at the role of young people in shaping South Africa into the vibrant democracy it is today. “I remember a time when it was very difficult for young people to share information, communicate, mobilise, rally behind ideas, and to really connect. Today, our youth are able to connect globally, share ideas, debate, and harness resources to create the future they want,” said Minister Mashabane.
All sectors of society, must come on board to implement inclusive youth interventions which will ultimately promote the constitutional rights of all youth, including young women, youth with disabilities, young men, LGBTQIA+ and youth in rural areas. Most importantly, we want to recommit ourselves to working together in building an inclusive and transformed society.
The NYDA exists to bring better youth development by coordinating programmes that are aimed at changing the livelihoods of young people for the better. The NYDA values the support of private and public sectors and they will to join hands with us in the implementation of key programmes that addresses youth unemployment.
“When COVID-19 hit, we had to shift the focus and through the employment stimulus we are seeing a positive change being brought about by youth centred policies. We acknowledge that we cannot do it alone as the NYDA. There is considerable amount of youth development work that still need to be done to ensure that young people become active participants in the economy of our country. The NYDA Act has been amended and we have engaged on the National Youth Policy. We will also soon in this month be launching the Integrated Youth Development Strategy. The 2021 Youth Month will be full of opportunities and on 16 June, we will commemorate this day by showcasing opportunity providers that will enable the young people to better succeed in the new norm,” said the NYDA CEO – Waseem Carrim.
Minister Mashabane called on society to play your part in availing opportunities for our youth, to ensure an inclusive and transformed society. We cannot ignore our youth dividend, if we are to see our society progress.