The month of June has been declared Youth Month. Under the theme ‘Youth moving South Africa forward’, this year’s celebrations will see scores of events planned throughout the country by both government and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).
The country will commemorate the 38th anniversary of the deaths of hundreds of high school pupils during the Soweto uprising on June 16, 1976.
At the age of 13, Hector Pietersen was one the first students to be killed. Pietersen became a symbol of youth resistance to apartheid.
“This year, we celebrate 20 years of democracy following our victory over the brutal and oppressive apartheid regime in 1994 and we also salute all our fallen heroes who sacrificed so much for what we have today,” says NYDA executive chairperson Yershen Pillay.
However, youth empowerment through education and job creation remains an area of concern in the country.
“Today, our major challenge is youth unemployment. Today, young people constitute the majority of the unemployed army with no less than 70% of those being young people,” says Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela.
But, government remains optimistic that this issue will be addressed.
“The strategic objectives are amongst others, to educate the youth about their history and heritage and the role played by young people in the struggle for national liberation by reflecting on the event of 1976,” states Arts & Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
The celebrations will also include the annual history education tour and numerous social dialogues across the country.