Maite Nkoana-Mashabane addressing learners at Morris Issacson High School in Soweto. Picture: Nontsikelelo Mthethwa KaGodongwane
The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and the Department of Sports, Arts and Recreation officially launched Youth Month celebrations on Thursday at Morris Isaacson High School in Central Western Jabavu, Soweto, under the theme “Promoting sustainable livelihood and resilience of young people for a better tomorrow.”
Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities who oversees the NYDA, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said the reason why the launch was held in Soweto is to remind the world about the historic and selfless contributions of the youth who had died for the liberation of our country, especially the youth from Soweto.
“We decided to launch here because it all started here in Soweto and at this particular school” said Nkoane-Mashabane. On June 16 1976, it was students from Morris Isaacson High School who initiated the march throughout Soweto to protest against being taught in Afrikaans. At least 176 young people were killed on that day.
Nkoana-Mashabane said that the youth should know that freedom was not without cost. People had died and others went to prison for the country to win its freedom.
“Discipline and acquiring of skills are the way forward to take South Africa to where we want to be,” said Nkoana-Mashabane. She also emphasised the importance of education and said “in the name of our fallen heroes let us take education seriously, especially for Hector Peterson.”
Executive chairperson of the NYDA, Asanda Lwaca, said they offer financial and non-financial support to young people in schools and also in business. Lwaca introduced some programmes available for the youth, including grant programmess, programmes for youth in business and collaborations with other government sectors like NSFAS.
“Within the NYDA we have the Solomoni Mahlangu Scholarship Fund, where we give young and deserving students the opportunity to study through the already existing programmes like the NSFAS,” said Lwaca.
She also encouraged the youth to make use of the sayouth.mobi to better their chances of meeting gaining employment. The website served to advertise job opportunities and is accessible without paying for data.
This year is the 46th anniversary of the Soweto Uprising.