Where it all started and how the youth is being developed.
South Africa's socio-political environment is strongly shaped by our oppressive past and several significant events that changed the political landscape of South Africa. One of these significant events is the Soweto Youth Uprising of 16 June 1976, which was triggered by the policies of the old apartheid government. It started with black high-school students marching to Orlando Stadium in protest against Afrikaans being introduced as a medium of instruction at schools. It was meant to be a peaceful demonstration, however, the police responded with tear gas and gun fire. This event exposed the sheer brutality of the apartheid government to the world.
South Africans celebrate Youth Day on 16 June every year to pay tribute to all the young people who lost their lives on that day. Youth Day also honors their contributory efforts into bringing an end to the apartheid government.
Following the end of the apartheid government, various legislation and policies were enacted to address the injustices of South Africa's past. Our government continually strives to promote the values in the Constitution equally amongst all South Africans, including the youth. The National Youth Policy (the current one being for 2015-2020) is one of these policies created in accordance with the Constitution and aims to promote and advance the development of South Africa's youth.
Why was the National Youth Policy created?
> The National Youth Policy has two main objectives, the first being to provide mechanisms to rectify the past wrongs the youth of South Africa were subjected to. The second objective is to create an environment that allows the youth to be given equal opportunities to reach their full potential.
> With these objectives in mind, the National Youth Policy is primarily built on the belief that if South Africans work together, we can eliminate poverty and reduce inequality. This can be done by promoting the development of the youth as they are the ones who will bring about the necessary social change, economic expansion and innovation.
> The National Youth Policy provides that, in the development of youth, the following proposals must be considered:
- To provide nutrition intervention for pregnant women and young children.
- To ensure access to two years of early childhood development, improve the school system, increase learner retention and improve teacher training.
- To improve youth service programs and develop new community-based programs to offer young people life-skills and entrepreneurial training.
- To create a tax incentive for employers for hiring young labour-market entrants and to provide a subsidy for identifying, preparing and placing matric graduates in a work environment.
What duties are placed on youth development initiatives?
> Youth development initiatives must consider the following principles as set out in the National Youth Policy:
- the needs of the youth and to act in their best interest;
- the youth's physical, psychological, social, economic and spiritual needs within the socio-political environment;
- to not discriminate against the youth and must act in accordance with the values and principles as set out in the Constitution; and
- to operate in a transparent and accountable manner.
Are there any institutions dealing with youth development?
> In recognising the struggles of the South African youth, legislation was passed to create the National Youth Development Agency (“NYDA”). NYDA was formally launched on 16 June 2009 and focusses on the new challenges faced by the youth. NYDA also aims to give effect to the goals and proposals set out in the National Youth Policy.
> An example of a goal set in the National Youth Policy is the creation of a patriotic culture amongst the youth and encouragement of national cohesion. In response to this goal, the National Youth Service Programme came about by enabling the youth to get involved in activities and to provide certain services to their communities. In this manner, the youth contributes positively and improves their personal development.
> NYDA also provides other programs that assist with teaching life-skills and entrepreneurial skills to the youth, such as the Business Management Training Programme.
Did you know…The National Youth Policy is aimed at promoting the youth of South Africa so that they may reach their full potential.