Advancing Youth Economic Empowerment during Youth Month

Statistics shared by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), who will, along with various government departments be driving the June 2017 Youth Month celebrations, indicate that the South African youth population grew by 6,0% between 2009 and 2014. South African youth account for the majority of the population - a little over 19,5 million in 2014. The education levels of our youth is concerning and there is an urgent need to broaden their economic participation.

This year’s theme: “The Year of OR Tambo: Advancing Youth Economic Empowerment”, implies an action-oriented approach, with actions and initiatives by a broad range of social partners, led by Government, to ensure that young people are brought into the mainstream economy. The focus for this year’s Youth Month centres around active citizenry, education and skills development, entrepreneurship, as well as the values advocated during the Oliver Tambo centenary celebrations. In his life, Tambo warned us that “a country that does not take care of its youth does not deserve its future”.

The main aim of the celebrations is to educate the youth about their history and role played in the struggle for national liberation by reflecting on the events of the 1976 Soweto Uprising. Although strides have been made in youth development and political liberation, the youth is now fighting a new battle for economic liberation and access to quality education. The Youth Day commemoration will be taking place in Ventersdorp in the North West Province on 16 June 2017, encouraging debates, discussions and conversations through social dialogues about the challenges confronting the youth. Various youth development programmes will also be highlighted to initiate conversations on their role in the transformation of the economy for more inclusive growth in achieving the goals outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP).

The DBE encourages active citizenry among the youth aimed at the socio-economic transformation of their lives and communities. The youth of South Africa should aspire to assimilate the values and virtues of OR Tambo, particularly in relation to education and leadership through innovation, to actively fight the scourge of substance abuse and crime through participation in uplifting programmes including recreational activities and sports

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