TODAY’S YOUTH ARE THE SUBJECTS IN CREATING THE FUTURE
By Puleng Maphisa 27 June 2022
This year marks the 46th anniversary of the June 16 Soweto uprisings. The theme for the 2022 commemoration was “Working Together for Youth Development and a Drug-free South Africa”.
In memory of young people who shed blood for our country in 1976, the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) coordinated an online event referred to as the June 16 Indaba.
Panelists included Keynote Speaker, Honourable Buti Manamela – Deputy Minister: Department of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, Mr Tembile Yako, Mr Kenny Bafo and Ms Cikizwa Dabula.
Each panelist responded to the question: What is today’s Youth’s generational mission?
Hon Manamela said the leaders of June 16 Soweto uprisings understood the deeper motives of the apartheid regime by opposing Afrikaans as a medium of instruction. “I feel completely disqualified to speak about what should be the political mission of today’s young leaders. I believe young people should be taking the initiative to become entrepreneurs,” said the Deputy Minister.
In his address, the Deputy Minister said young people are out there expressing what kind of society they want to see. He acknowledged that the previous generation has somehow struggled to defeat apartheid and to contribute to building a better society. The current generation’s contribution doesn’t have to constantly fight but to have the ability to create a better culture within their communities.
This should be done by leading with projects that alleviate poverty, projects that will empower young people and contribute to ending gender-based violence.
Professor Dan Kgwadi, VUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, spoke about how the young fought for freedom, but today it is a different story. “It pains my heart how we lead those who fought for us down. I normally feel like we could run a crusade of an apology when young people get into drugs. This is one way of letting our freedom fighters down. Our youth don’t take what matters the most seriously, such as education and careers,” said Prof Kgwadi.
He encouraged everyone to become job creators because even those that took education seriously and studied hard, struggle to find jobs.