By Cuma Pantshwa

  • Over 200 young people gathered in Rustenburg Kloof, North West, for the Department of Social Development’s 48th Youth Month anniversary celebration, showcasing their entrepreneurial spirit and community impact.
  • The two-day programme includes empowering masterclasses and panel discussions with notable figures, emphasising the role of sports, arts, and culture in youth development.
  • The programme highlights the resilience and enthusiasm of the youth in tackling challenges like unemployment and gender-based violence, promoting a hopeful and proactive mindset.

“Viva Youth! Viva!” The enthusiastic cry resonated through a room filled with over 200 young people in Rustenburg Kloof, North West, as the Department of Social Development commemorated the 48th anniversary of Youth Month.

Zizile Khumalo-Nyembe, from the Youth Directorate Unit at National DSD, welcomed the young attendees and encouraged them to share their visions of today’s Afrikaans, emphasising the bravery and organisation of the youth of 1976. The young people were eager to introduce their businesses and the impactful work they are doing to alleviate poverty in their communities.

Despite facing significant challenges such as high unemployment, gender-based violence, substance abuse, and teenage pregnancies, the spirit of the young attendees was far from bleak. Their enthusiasm and passion to change their lives and communities unified them as agents of change.

This year, the Department of Social Development commemorated Youth Month with a two-day programme filled with activities designed to empower the youth. Masterclasses focused on the power and role of sports, arts, and culture in youth development. As South Africa celebrates 30 years of freedom, the programme featured panel discussions with prominent figures like Ace Ncobo, PSL General Manager, the legendary Doctor Khumalo, and author Dudu Busani-Dube. These sessions offered reflections, meaningful conversations, and motivation for the youth to actively participate in the country’s ongoing development. 

In her brief speech, Chief Director of the Communication Unit, Ms Lumka Oliphant, urged the young attendees to be mindful of their words and to avoid diminishing their efforts with phrases like, “we come from a small village” or “I run a small business.” She emphasised that many of them are significant contributors, such as bakers supplying large retailers like Pick n Pay from their villages.

A young artist expressed his aspiration to be a beacon of hope in his community through his art initiatives. Similarly, a female farmer highlighted the importance of supporting agricultural initiatives, emphasising food security, entrepreneurship, and poverty eradication.

The first session of the commemoration programme served as a powerful reminder of the necessary support young people need to overcome their challenges and succeed. The programme’s vibrant and hopeful atmosphere underscored the youth’s determination to create positive change in their communities and beyond.

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