ANCYL needs to take itself seriously- A shared perspective

2014-03-25 04:15

I wish I were the journalist who asked one leader of the ANC Youth League if they thought people took them seriously. I wish I were him because I know and believe without doubt, that very few people take the ANC Youth League seriously, if anything, the few who did stopped doing so after the league's press conference on the release of the Nkandla report by the Public Protector late last week. This is not an attack, it's merely an observation.

To share some perspective with the leadership of this once so great organisation: the league's primary role is to feed the desires of this country's youth with an immeasurable amount of fulfilment, but beyond this, to execute this important task with a great deal of respect for the moral and ethics code of society, coupled with an equally great deal of discipline and a solid set of values. Your observation and acknowledgement of the code I speak of, determines the height of your stature and the strength of your character relative to how society perceives you. What this means is that, regardless of how seriously you may take yourself, if your conduct is foreign to the values and principles on which the organisation you serve was founded, nobody will take you serious.

Part of the reason I say this, results from the failure of the organisation's leadership to engage the content of the Public Protector's report constructively. This would include accusations by the league that the Office of the Public Protector favours certain opposition parties and what they describe as "detractors of the State" without providing substantial evidence to support its claim, as well as the unsubstantiated call for Adv. Thuli Madonsela to resign. Nevertheless, you have the right to freedom of speech, however damaging it may be.

Anyway, the perspective I pointed to earlier speaks of desires the league ought to fulfil. These desires come in different forms, and are often pursued in such a way that they aim to serve and achieve a particular purpose. Youth by character has aspirations, and these may be from becoming lawyers to doctors or from flashy millionaires to mafias. However immoral some of these aspirations may appear to be, the fact is, they are desires young people wish to fulfil, and with which to touch their society.

This observation represents a reality, and one which we probably would all love to enjoy; exercising free will without limitation. It represents a picture of what kind of young individuals we are likely to have in our communities tomorrow. How then do we channel these desires and the energy that goes into their manifestation towards a path of common good? This is the question the ANC Youth League needs to grapple with, but most importantly, one which we need to see it responding to.

Firstly, the youth of South Africa needs a vision, one which is founded primarily on the desire to effect positive change before anything else. Secondly, a desire to acknowledge the importance of education and respond with urgency to the desperate need to read. And lastly, to aspire to inspire, that is, have ambitions and dreams that are not only for the benefit of the individual and feeding of egos, but inspiring confidence in others and using our skills to empower and help build our society.

In the process of securing a notable position in the public discourse, let it be that the league makes meaningful contributions where necessary. Let it be that it takes ownership of the struggle of the youth of South Africa, preferably, by placing their focus on what they have put forward as priority issues. In the main, we need an ANCYL that will think like the youth of '76, and if necessary, slightly more. Their struggle then and ours now may vary on the basis space and time, but the objective remains the same: speak to the issues that cause our suffering, for the world to be friendly to generations that will come after us.

If we are to take the ANCYL seriously in any shape or form, it would be because it will have assumed its rightful position and taken charge of the real responsibilities it ought to fulfil. Not because it will have positioned itself as a misguided parallel structure to the ANC. Define yourself outside the constraints of the ANCYL of Julius Malema, and maybe, just maybe...we will take you seriously.

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