For immediate release
Understanding SA’s misrepresented youth agenda
Why the country’s largest population is ignored?
South Africa’s youth has a default culture of shaping the direction of the nation’s progress. With statistics indicating that South Africa’s population is comprised of over 60% of young people under the age of 35, it can be naturally assumed that the youth agenda should be a key consideration in the country’s policy-development. This is sadly not the case. High levels of unemployment, which carry with them the ripple-effect of poverty and crime have a greater impact on the country’s youth.
With the current administration repositioning itself to recapture the heartstrings of the nation, President Jacob Zuma’s January 8th statement for the African National Congress’s 105th anniversary, was dedicated to the late ANC stalwart Oliver Reginald Tambo who felt strongly about active citizenship. The President’s address created an immediate impression that the ruling and its leaderships are ready to listen and act on the needs of the nation.
With a youth fatigued by well-intentioned policies, which are yet to deem results that benefit the masses; questions have risen on whether having more young people within the country’s policy-making and leaderships structures could have a positive effect on addressing the youth agenda.
ACTIVATE! Change Drivers; a network founded on encouraging youth development and molding future leaders through prioritising active citizenry has its finger firmly on the pulse of the country’s youth agenda. This network of over 2 000 forward-thinking youth are planning on re-intensifying their efforts to bringing emphasis on prioritizing the youth agenda beyond policy development. #SOTY2017 is the network’s campaign aimed at highlighting key youth issues that need to be brought into consideration during the President’s much-anticipated upcoming State of the Nation Address, which will be delivered on February 9th 2017.
“Through #SOTY2017, we would like to highlight the fact that since 2008, there have been over six youth-centric policies developed, which include the NYDA; National Skills Accord and the National Youth Policy – none of which have been successfully implemented and influenced the change in the concerning socio-economic climate that is experienced by a clear majority of the country’s youth,” says Nelisa Ngqulana, Communications Manager at ACTIVATE! Change Drivers. “If we look at the State of the Nation Addresses over the past five years; the youth agenda is always positioned as an after-thought. This is great dis-service for population group that makes up a majority of the country. We are saying the State of the Nation is the State of Youth (hence #SOTY)”.
The creation of economic opportunities seems the key priority of South African youth. The current global crisis has halted the envisioned 4% growth rate, thus putting more pressure on the government to come up with creative and sustainable solutions geared at empowering the youth.
“For us, active citizenry can be developed to be a key development tool for South African youth,” says Ngqulana. “Youths from our rural areas with limited resources have been taking the development of their communities in their own hands, which has brought some commendable results. The engagements we have in our network clearly indicate that providing young South Africans with much needed support and the presence of effective activated policies will directly contribute towards the betterment of the country’.
For more information on the programme check out the following:
Twitter: @ActivateZA and #SOTY2017
Facebook: Activate! Change Driver
ACTIVATE! is a network of young leaders equipped to drive change for the public good across South Africa. Connecting youth who have the skills, sense of self and spark to address tough challenges and initiate innovative and creative solutions that can reshape our society.
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