Instead of only celebrating the memory of the young people who lost their lives in advocating freedom, Youth Day should also be dedicated to celebrating the growth in youth employment in every sector of the economy! Celebrating the past is virtuous, but celebrating success and advancement into the future is just as important!
On my morning stroll to keep healthy and fit and to connect with nature I was joined by a friendly young black man this morning! I asked him if he was celebrating Youth Day with his walk and he replied that he took the walk to feel free, to collect his thoughts and to calm his feelings of desperation, unworthiness and shame brought on by his state of unemployment! He spontaneously shared with me that he had matriculated in the Eastern Cape and that he had decided to move to the Western Cape to find a job! Thus far he had been unsuccessful! After I had asked him about his career interest, he replied that a career in the police or correctional services is what he would cherish! He told me that he was twenty-one, that he had no bad habits like smoking and drinking and that he was a child of God and that he prayed every day! His neat and clean appearance, his shiny white teeth, his open attractive face and his articulate way of talking told me that here was a young man who had the talent and potential to one day be a leader in his profession! But sadly he had not been able find a job or a bursary despite seeking employment without stop. He commented that Youth Day brought or created nothing for him to celebrate.
How do we help highly talented young people who strive to work and excel and who cannot find a job or opportunity to get further education? There are millions of these young talented people wandering around fruitlessly! Our present Government and business employment structures do not target them for training, further education or future leadership supply! South Africa would not have had to resort to people with only primary or secondary education to fill leadership positions as had been the case up to now, if it had the right human capital strategy in place. The future of South Africa is totally dependent on the creation of human capital with the ability to lead, create and control! The country’s reliance on financial capital and natural resources like gold and coal to create wealth and survive will shift to human capital and ability to innovate and create affordable energy, transport, homes, household goods, water and food in the near future! If this does not happen South Africa is likely to become a doomed economy!
For South Africa to become a successful economy, the development and grooming of talented young people should be made South Africa’s first priority! This can be achieved by establishing Education and Employment Registration Centres in every town of South Africa! These centres should resort under the jurisdiction of the office of the Deputy President of South Africa, who will ensure that education, employment, mentoring and grooming of talent becomes South Africa’s first priority! Universities and colleges should recruit and register their students through these centres so that the talented young people in every town have smooth access to further education and employment.
Should I meet my young friend on a morning walk in the near future I will be able to say to him that on next Youth Day there will be a lot to celebrate for the young people of South Africa! The interesting thing is that this young man’s revelation about his unemployment shocked my paradigm that only young white people were finding it difficult to find employment and opportunities to study further!
16 June 2017
Danie Joubert, Western Cape.