Thabo Mbeki Foundation urges today's youth to find their mission

2016-06-16 20:15
Former president Thabo Mbeki.

Former president Thabo Mbeki. (Nelius Rademan/Foto24; Gaut)

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Cape Town – The Thabo Mbeki Foundation has challenged today’s youth to discover and fulfil their mission. 

“We pay homage to the 1976 generation because at so tender an age, they summoned the necessary strength and courage to challenge an inhuman system and, together with the masses of our people, laboured tirelessly to give us the great gift of our freedom,” the foundation said in a statement on Thursday.

The 1976 generation discovered its mission, and fulfilled it rather than betrayed it, the foundation said.

“Together with all of us as fellow nationals, today’s generation of young people are challenged to discover and fulfil their mission, mindful of the qualitative difference between the apartheid South Africa of 1976 and the democratic dispensation that exists today.” 

The former president’s foundation said much damage had been done not only in the area of education, but above all, the social fabric necessary for the cohesion of a community and country by the time the 1976 uprising happened.

“Indeed, nothing illustrates the total collapse of the social fabric than grown men, policemen, indiscriminately spraying teargas, shooting and killing schoolchildren whose only crime is the expression of their right to quality education.”

National dialogue 

The 40th anniversary of the uprising should be used for a national dialogue to address various challenges in the country, it said.

These included the erosion of the culture of learning and teaching, the destruction of the value system of human and social solidarity and its replacement by another one which approximates to, "each one for him/herself and the devil take the hindmost".

Other challenges were drug and alcohol abuse and the problem of teenage pregnancies, wanton destruction of property, the persistence of violent crime and the continuing incidents of hate speech, according to the foundation.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that we inherited a society in which education was used as part of the larger project of racial oppression.

"It must therefore follow that among the tasks before us is an examination of our record in dismantling the legacy of colonialism and apartheid, to give meaning to the ideals for which the 1976 generation took to the streets to open the doors of culture and learning,” Mbeki's foundation said.

'Heroic generation'

This was a national task and not exclusive to government or one sector of society, the foundation said. “Hopefully, all of us will understand that doing nothing is not an option.”

The foundation paid tribute to the “heroic generation of 1976”, which played a strategic role in the struggle against a historical injustice, resulting in the birth of a democratic South Africa.

“The example of courageous struggle set by the youth of 1976, and the enormous sacrifices that generation made, constitute a call to our nation to think afresh about what must be done truly to create a non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South African constitutional democracy.”

Read more on:    thabo mbeki  |  cape town  |  education  |  youth day

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