Zuma urges youth to succeed

2009-07-30 09:11
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has urged the youth to do everything they can to succeed.

"Don't surrender. Fight on until you succeed, until you conquer," he told high school children at the Youth Leaders' summit at Gold Reef City in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

"Don't say because I'm an orphan or I come from a poor family I am cursed and I can't do anything," Zuma said. "Be active, work, think, do everything to succeed."

Zuma himself overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to be elected as the president of the country.

Deviating from his prepared speech, Zuma asked the youth whether they could believe that he had not gone to school.

"I worked hard and I succeeded. Some of my peers, who did not do so, have not made a contribution to the nation, even to their individual circumstances," Zuma said.

He told the youth that some of his peers had ended up spending more time drinking - to which the children burst into laughter.

Words from Mandela

Zuma told how a young former president Nelson Mandela long ago told leaders of the ANC that he would one day lead the organisation. Many thought Mandela was "crazy", Zuma said.

The president received an ardent welcome from the uniform-clad scholars. Many rushed forward to snap a picture of him with their cellphone cameras.

He apologised for his late arrival, assuring them he was not "just sitting around", but had to appoint the country's police commissioner.

"You must dream. You must have a dream and work to achieve it. In other words, you must think. You must be ambitious, but not in a wrong way," he said, adding that there was nothing the youth could not achieve.

He urged them not to be "individualistic" in their drive to succeed, but to work within a collective and be sensitive to the needs of others.

Zuma encouraged the young people to educate themselves, as this broke the cycle of poverty.

"Education is seen as the great liberator, because when you take a child from a poor household in Soweto and provide them with a quality education, you liberate that child and their family."

Zuma said the government would provide programmes which the youth could use to improve their lives and those of their peers.

The government would work to make sure all "academically deserving" students who qualified for tertiary education were supported.

"We must realise that no child should be refused access to institutions on the basis that they cannot afford it," he said.

Drugs, alcohol, HIV/Aids

He also advised them to stay away from drugs and alcohol and to avoid the risky behaviours associated with the spread of HIV/Aids.

Those abusing drugs and alcohol thought they were "clever", he said, causing his captive audience to giggle.

"In reality they are the opposite of what they claim to be."

The country needed people who were morally upright and discouraged pupils from any form of substance abuse.

"It is also important that leaders cast their eyes further in the future, and constantly warn their followers about looming dangers. I am talking here about the risky lives that youth often lead, particularly around HIV and Aids."

He said the country's youth was a subject close to his heart and the future of the country could not be talked about without acknowledging the central role played by the youth.

The summit was hosted by Youth Managers, a private body providing youth development in financial literacy, entrepreneurship and leadership.

It hosted 300 delegates from Gauteng high schools.

Read more on:    jacob zuma

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Thirty and still single? There’s hope!

Are you thirty and still single, without even a hint of a prospect on the horizon? Then read this!



SA’s Playboy Playmate of the year in action!
12 lies everyone accepts as fact
Hottie of the day: Charlotte
Breakup text goes viral and it’s hilarious!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

Good Morning, Mr Mandela by Zelda la Grange

Good Morning, Mr Mandela tells the extraordinary story of how a young woman had her life, beliefs, prejudices and everything she once believed in utterly transformed by the greatest man of her time. Now R221. Pre-order now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


It may be hard to stay cool, calm and collected. Your emotions can get quite heated in the moment. You may benefit from finding a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.