Soweto youth concerned by rapid advances in technology

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Speaking at the launch of Youth Month on Thursday, youth in Soweto raised concerns that they would be left unemployable as technology advances.

The youth month campaign was launched by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), the Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities and the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, in Orlando Soweto.

It has been 40 years since the youth of Soweto took to the streets protesting sub-par education and the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction. And as the country remembers them, the youth of today are faced with a different struggle, economic emancipation, and high levels of unemployment.

High school learners deem a bleak future exacerbated by the fast pace of technology.

South African Youth Economic Council’s Bonga Makhaya says the industry needs to adapt to see youth as more than entry-level workers.

Makhaya says, “For many years, young people have been used as a box-ticking exercise. It’s always in relation to internships and getting stipends and never at a real economical level. Youth are active economic agents and can own sustainable businesses. We need a political will that sees young people as genuine, credible, and economic agents. I hope that South Africa is not a lost cause. We do have the potential alternative to turn things around.”

Minister of Women, Youth and People Living with Disabilities, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma acknowledged that there were challenges for the youth, however, she urged them to be proactive.

Dlamini-Zuma says, “South Africa is experiencing problems because of a lack of skills in various areas where there are opportunities so we need to train young people for jobs. So we are working with the defence force to up-skill young people so that young people can go out and get jobs.”

The National Youth Development Agency’s Thulisa Ndlela says the agency is looking at resources to assist youth to have access to technology.

Ndlela says, “Issues around education and quality of resources. There are digital platforms where people can access opportunities. We are making progress as far as the townships and areas that have challenges around data access, access to devices.

This year’s Youth Day celebrations will be marked over two days in the Free State.

NYDA launches Youth Month in Soweto