By Precious Mupenzi

  • Over 200 youth delegates convened at Rustenburg Kloof Resort for a collaborative engagement commemorating Youth Month.Organised by the Department of Social Development (DSD) and its North West counterpart, the event highlighted ongoing efforts to empower young South Africans in the post-apartheid era.
  • Mbulaheni Mulaudzi, DSD’s Chief Director, emphasised the department’s focus on youth development. He underscored the crucial role young people play in building a cohesive nation, echoing the Constitution’s call for national unity and patriotism. Dr. Mulaudzi pointed to numerous government programmes established since 1994 that prioritise youth development.
  • Reflecting on Youth Month’s historical significance, Mulaudzi compared the challenges faced by the 1976 Soweto Uprising youth with those of today. He urged current youth to emulate their predecessors’ activism in tackling social issues. Dr. Mulaudzi highlighted provincial sessions held in June as a prelude to the commemoration.

More than 200 youth delegates gathered at Rustenburg Kloof Resort in the North West to commemorate Youth Month. This collaborative engagement, organised by the Department of Social Development (DSD) and the North West Department of Social Development, highlighted the ongoing efforts to uplift and empower young people in post-apartheid South Africa.

Explaining DSD’s role in youth development programmes, Chief Director of Social Mobilisation and Community Empowerment Dr. Mbulaheni Mulaudzi emphasised the importance of youth in building a socially cohesive nation.

“Our approach to Youth Development recognizes the centrality of young people in building a nation that promotes a common sense of nationhood and patriotism among the youth, in line with the Constitution. Since 1994, the government has prioritised young people at the centre of development, with numerous programmes designed to assist them,” Mulaudzi stated.

Reflecting on the historical significance of Youth Month, Dr. Mulaudzi drew parallels between the youth of 1976 and today’s challenges.

“The youth of 1976 rose up and fought against the challenges of apartheid. Similarly, today’s youth should rise up and combat the social ills affecting them. In June, the department conducted sessions in different provinces, engaging with youth as a build-up to today’s commemoration,” he explained.

Dr. Mulaudzi highlighted the potential of young people as a crucial resource for the country’s future, adding, “Young people represent the boundless potential of our country, provided they are supported and enabled to become active members of society.” He also addressed the challenges faced by today’s youth, including unemployment, poverty, gender-based violence, femicide, and lack of participation in the mainstream economy.

“The vicious cycle of hardship endured by youth continues to require decisive interventions. The youth of 1976 suffered under the oppressive laws of the apartheid regime, which denied them access to socio-economic and employment opportunities. Similarly, today’s youth still face challenges in accessing the economy,” Dr. Mulaudzi remarked.

He emphasised that the DSD’s youth programme builds on years of empowerment efforts and seeks to accelerate its interventions to address the holistic needs of young people, concluding by stressing the importance of empowering young people through education, skills development, and entrepreneurship opportunities.

“Youth unemployment poses a significant threat to South Africa’s social cohesion and economic prosperity. Empowering young people is key to unlocking their potential and fostering inclusive growth,” he said.

This engagement is crucial for the youth within the context of South Africa’s ongoing challenges, providing a platform to amplify the voices of young people. The two-day engagement at Rustenburg Kloof Resort showcases the DSD’s commitment to nurturing the next generation and ensuring their active participation in shaping a brighter future for South Africa.

Leave a reply