Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com
Youth, attending the National Youth Camp, said they will go back to their communities and help to create jobs and change the living conditions in their communities.
The Fifth National Youth Camp was held at the 3 South African Infantry Battalion, in Kimberly, in the Northern Cape Province.
Hosted in partnership with the Department of Defence and Military Veterans, the National Youth Camp has brought together more than 1000 young people across race, ethnicity, gender, class and language from all nine provinces.
The camp, which opened on December 3, has seen young people participating in a number of sessions aimed at shaping them into empowered community leaders who will go back to their respective communities and be agents of change.
During the closing ceremony on Monday, the youth shared some of the ideas they hope to implement in their respective communities with Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.
Minister Dlamini reminded the youth to defend their rights and the country.
« Our constitution talks about human rights and values of society … We must work towards values that are going to bring us together not divide us, » said Minister Dlamini.
The camp was held under the theme, « #4OYearsOn, Youth Still Moving South Africa forward, » which was guided by the general government messages throughout the year, but also encapsulating the dream of 1976.
The National Youth Camp is a youth leadership development programme that encourages healthy growth by providing young people with skills and the ability to analyse their own strengths and weaknesses.
It also encourages the youth to set personal development goals; and to gain the self-esteem, confidence, motivation, and abilities to carry out those goals not only for their own development, but for the development of communities.
In his 2015 State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Jacob Zuma declared the plans of government to invest more in our future, by educating our children and the youth about the rich heritage of this country.
He further emphasised that: « Our youth is our future and their success fills us with immense pride ».
Addressing the youth, Minister Dlamini urged young people to respect their parents including the communities they live in.
« Whenever we do things, we must never think that we are cleverer than our parents. Even if you are staying in an informal settlement, even if they drink, even if you think they are nothing… . you must learn to respect them so that you’ll be able to respect other people, » said Minister Dlamini.
Speaking to SAnews on the side-lines of the event, Minister Dlamini said the department is moving a step forward and prepared to listen to the people.
She said some of the issues discussed at the camp were raised by the communities and some were challenges that youth faced.
« We have a duty as a department to grow young people for the future. Social cohesion doesn’t come on its own, someone has to take the responsibility and instil it in young people.
« The camp has a positive impact and there’s a good relationship between us and the Department of Defence, and there are also other departments that are coming to the party, » said Minister Dlamini.
Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, who also attended the ceremony, said each and every department has something to offer the young people of South Africa.
« Government is committed to creating a better life for all citizens of South Africa with a special focus to youth as future leaders of the country and builders of a better South Africa, » said Minister Zulu.
She also encouraged the youth to focus on their studies before making babies at an early age.
« Go to school and university, and when you finish university, get a job and a house, only then you can start having babies. Let your mistakes be lesson to you so that you can become a better person for the future. »