Youth should be engaged in building own Destiny
Celebrations are taking place throughout the country to celebrate 20 years of Democracy; it would be ignorant if one can’t recognize that more than half of our population is under than 25 years old. The growing share of young men and women globally has not yet reached its peak and will continue to increase over the next two decades
Eradicating poverty and crime will not be possible if the needs of this young cohort are not treated with careful attention. In the current affairs one has seen the protests taking place nationally some are of service deliver, and recently here in Cape Town CBD. The youth is showing a growing sense of frustration. A frustration stemming from a lack of opportunities and participation - not only in the economy, but also in the political and social spheres. The challenge is too great to be treated with a business-as-usual approach, and no individual stakeholder alone is capable of offering a comprehensive solution.
The government has made efforts to engage with the youth, there are many organisations that were formed in the past 20 years. The formation of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) raised many people’s hopes; there are so many young people who could be doing a lot more in this space of entrepreneurship. Small business is a sure way to grow our economy and fight unemployment and it’s us, the young people, it’s young people who need to be opening those businesses but when they visit these offices they are refused capital and that demotivates them.
More can be done in fostering a culture of entrepreneurship in South Africa. Our leaders are too old with a lot of old ideas and the young people are not engaged enough regardless of the fact that 60 % of the continent is under 30 years old! The youth needs to share and engage and help shape the continent. Our voice needs to be heard! As we are two months to the glorified ‘Youth Month’, it’s up to us as the youth to challenge national and provincial government, community leaders and organisations; it’s time to generate a vibrant discussion on the challenge of youth exclusion. It is definitely time for an ambitious, progressive youth agenda. A first step would be defining the agenda: youth issues are not only about jobs, but about youth participation and civic engagement.
We are missing on a huge opportunity to share our ideas, to have more positive impact: youth are not often asked to participate in the design of activities and are rarely engaged in providing beneficiary feedback. There is an assumption that youth only have to be engaged in youth projects, yet the youth makes up the majority of the adult population. We are impacted by the majority of projects, whether these are large infrastructure projects, projects in the social sectors, or activities to promote better governance. It’s time for us young people to tell THEM how we would like to engage and what our priorities are.
By: Atenkosi Vanda