Economic emancipation will determine our future
June is celebrated as Youth Month in South Africa, and on 16 June we pay tribute to the school pupils and ordinary citizens who lost their lives during the 1976 uprising in Soweto. This year marks the 39th anniversary of the Soweto uprising and to commemorate this, the National Youth Development Agency has developed a national programme under the theme of ‘Youth Action for Economic Freedom in our Lifetime’.
The greatest wealth and strength of a nation is its youth, and the future of our nation lies in the hands of future generations. Have you ever considered the fact that the quality of our youth determines the kind of future our country will have? That’s why it’s so important to empower the young people of our country.
In our wonderful country the future sometimes probably looks like a scary place, but actually it beckons brightly for those young people who believe that South Africa is a country where everything is possible, and who are willing to go the extra mile. And when we read the stories of amazing young CAs(SA), it gives us hope that with them as our future leaders, the future of our country is indeed looking bright.
This month we publish an essay that Nthabiseng Tooka wrote about how we can shape the destiny of future generations. In her article she quotes Nelson Mandela: ‘I have done whatever I did both as an individual and as a leader of my people, because of my experience in South Africa and my own proudly felt African background, and not because of what any outsider might have said.’ This made her realise that we have a responsibility to show an interest in the leadership of our country and to contribute to the direction the country is taking.
Nthabiseng also writes that she believes our deeds ought to set an example and inspire others to dream big and visualise a brighter future. She believes that the hope and vision of all those who fought and died to shape the destiny of this generation is the very vision that encourages the youth of today to exercise their power to lay a firm foundation for those who are still to come.
In the words of African Union Commission chairman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma: ‘The best investment Africans can make to change the course of the continent and realise the prosperity dream would be to empower the young with skills.’ Speaking to students at the University of the Witwatersrand, she called on the governments of the continent to invest in teaching the young skills, which would give Africa a competitive advantage over its Western competitors. ‘The first investment must be in our most precious and abundant resource – our people, especially the young.’
This reminded me of a quote by Martin Luther King: ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’ This should be the message to all of us – we should keep future generations and our fellow citizens in mind when we make decisions.