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sa youth month 2018


Every year on 16 June South Africa commemorates the 1976 Soweto uprising to pay tribute to learners who stood up against the apartheid government. They stood together and laid down their lives fighting for freedom and the right to equal education.

Observed as a public holiday, the day serves as a reminder that young people in the country were at the forefront of our struggle. It also provide us with an opportunity to take stock of the strides we have made in addressing issues facing the youth.

In South Africa we not only commemorate Youth Day but dedicate the entire month of June to the youth. Government and its agencies such as the National Youth Development Agency will over the month host a number of engagements including youth expos, dialogues and youth entrepreneur hubs to showcase opportunities available to young people.

This year’s Youth Month takes place within the same year that South Africa marks the 100 years (Centenary) for both Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu.

The Youth Month comes less than three months since President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the Youth Employment Service initiative that aims to prepare young people for work through training and matching programmes. It is a business-led initiative in partnership with government, labour and civil society and will offer one million young South Africans paid work experience over the next three years. This year’s theme is Live the legacy: Towards a socio-economically empowered youth”.




The class of 1976 played a key role in our struggle – let’s preserve their legacy.



·       Our youth were at the forefront of the fight against apartheid.

·       The Class of 1976 exposed the brutality of the apartheid regime to the world and ignited resistance around the country.

·       Forty-one years later young people must help to keep their legacy alive by taking advantage of opportunities to build our country and change their lives.

·       Young people should join the ranks of active and responsible citizens by participating in democratic structures and processes like elections.

·       They should cherish and jealously protect schools, libraries and centres for learning.

Education is power: it can change lives.


·       All communities must ensure that young people finish secondary school and gain the necessary skills to grow our country.

·       The youth of 76 fought for equal and quality education for all; let’s educate our young people to honour their legacy. 

·       Technical Vocational Education and Training colleges deliver skills and training that are essential to addressing the skills gap in our economy.

Young people are being prepared for the world of work through the Youth Employment Service.

·       Youth Employment Service is a business-led initiative in partnership with government, labour and civil society.

·       It prioritises and targets young women, unemployed youth, out of school youth and youth in rural areas.

·       The initiative will change the lives of young people and is a vital part of the skills revolution in our country and our economy.

·       Young people are encouraged to register for the Youth Employment Services by visiting the website

One million young people will be empowered to become economically active.

·       Through this initiative, one million young South Africans will be offered paid work experience over the next three years.

·       Unemployed young people will be placed in paid internships, apprenticeships, mentorship and entrepreneurship across the country.

·       Young people will be exposed to the working environment which will increase their chances of finding employment. 

·       We have called on companies which do not have the capacity to place more people in their organisations to sponsor a salary for a year for placement in small, medium and micro enterprises.

A bright future beckons for youth who learn and innovate.



·       The National Development Plan singles out our youthful population as an opportunity to boost economic growth, increase employment and reduce poverty.

·       Government and the private sector has established a fund for Small Business Support, with equal contributions from both partners. It provides “venture” capital-type funding and mentoring to target groups, especially black entrepreneurs.

·       Initiatives such as the Social Accord on Youth Employment and Youth Employment Tax Incentive are helping change the tide of youth unemployment.

·       The Small Enterprise Development Agency and the National Youth Development Agency also supports young entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship is becoming popular in the country.

·       The National Gazelles programme which was launched a few years ago has taken small business to a higher trajectory.

·       For instance, one of the Gazelles, Gribow, an entity owned by a woman, has had access to global markets and they have since secured a contract from a Dubai based company. 

·       The Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute (GEDI) ranks South Africa 2nd in Africa in terms of the quality of its small businesses and the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

·       We are working with thought leaders, as well as academic and research institutions to enhance our understanding and the instruments to improve our entrepreneurial eco-system.

·       This year we also launched PEEK which is an e-commerce platform that gives small craft and design businesses a platform to showcase and sell their products.

There are many opportunities available for our youth.

·       Government has a number of programmes and initiatives to empower the youth.

·       The Expanded Public Works Programme involves young people in the refurbishment, rehabilitation, and maintenance of community infrastructure across the country.

·       Various learnerships and internships focused on raising the skills capacity of young people are offered through Sector Education and Training Authorities.

·       The National Rural Youth Service Corps programme aims to enhance skills development by providing unemployed youth in rural areas with opportunities to work in their communities and to be trained to provide the necessary services for local socio-economic development.

·       The National Youth Development Agency is a one-stop-shop for youth to access information on career guidance services, mentorship, skills development and training, and entrepreneurial development.

The youth must protect Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu’s legacy.


·       Let us use the Youth Month to honour the sacrifices and contributions of Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu towards a free, non-racial and democratic South Africa.

·       We should also learn more about the immense sacrifices our struggle icons made to allow us to be where we are today.

·       The youth need to work together with government to create the country Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu envisaged.

·       The youth have to play an active role in their communities in improving people’s lives and making sure the economy works for everyone.