Free education, leadership take centre stage as Zuma graces ANCYL dialogue

Former President Jacob Zuma encourages the youth to take note from the youth of the past and actively engage in solving problems. Photo: Palesa Dlamini/City Press
Former President Jacob Zuma encourages the youth to take note from the youth of the past and actively engage in solving problems. Photo: Palesa Dlamini/City Press

The youth of today face different problems than the youth of the past, so the ANC Youth League must actively unite young people to confront and deal with the problems of today.

These were the words of former South African president Jacob Zuma at the dialogue of the youth league on Thursday evening in Johannesburg.

Zuma received a warm welcome from attendees, who had a slightly greater distribution of old over young.

The former president gave a brief history of the time he believed that the country’s problems began.

“Some conventional views raise the problem as a triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment. But equally important is to bear in mind that these triple challenges are a direct product of colonialism and apartheid and are among many more,” he told attendees.

Zuma also hailed the youth of the past and the role they played in liberating the country and emphasised the importance of educating young people.

“I’m very excited that this interaction today has been organised by the youth league because that’s where we need to do more to help our young people to appreciate politics, the country, continent and the world,” he said.

He also said that statements that former president Nelson Mandela “sold out” are far from the truth and need to be put to rest.

“Madiba gave us a liberated zone; gave us instruments to use. We’re not using them,” said Zuma.

Other speakers at the event included ANC branch chairperson Shane Maja, who welcomed the president to the dialogue, the ANC Women’s League’s Pinky Nkuna, who spoke about the league’s continued call for a female president, and South African Students Congress secretary-general Moipone Mhlongo, who touched on the aspect of free education.

Mhlongo delivered an address that focused on the meaning of free education as announced by the former president in December 2017.

“We campaigned with the ANC and we said as young people in the country, we are not giving the ANC a blank cheque because we don’t believe that the free education we fought for is the one that we have now.”

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