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Address by the President at the Youth League Elective Congress

Our view as a party is that if the youth are our future, then they should play a significant role in shaping that future. South Africa is a democracy today because of the radicalism of the sacrifice of the youth of 1976.

We cannot undermine the vitality of youth; much as it presents its challenges, it can make lasting imprints in the society. Progressive youth movements can or may end internal conflicts if they arise; similarly, such youth movement can advocate the needs and mandate of the youth of this party and of country.

I believe that the words that what the stalwart of struggle, Moses Kotane, said in 1968 are still relevant even today when he said:

"At this hour of destiny your country and your people need you. The future of South Africa is yours and it will be what you make of it. On the other hand, people, a country, and a Party that does not value its youth does not deserve its future".

Education is one of the casualties, particularly with regard to the children, youth and women.

The UN statistics of 2008 attest to this grim picture. According to the UN, one hundred and thirty one million youth worldwide lacked basic reading and writing skills by 2008, and 61% of these are females. The Sub-Saharan Africa and some parts of Asia have lowest literacy rates.

This poses a very grave challenge, and the fact that there are millions of children who do not go to school provides a useful link. This means therefore that we must intensify our education campaigns worldwide. The youth should play a very prominent role in this regard, as this is not only about resources but also about attitudes.

The challenge now is to change the structural factors that cause unemployment and create decent work for our youth. The key aspect in this challenge is to open opportunities for youth in entrepreneurship, so that they actually create employment themselves.

Like the Youth League of any Party, you are the preparatory school of the UCDP. Within you, we expect members of good standing who are guided by morality and iron discipline.

We expect members who do not only seek power but also knowledge, passion and a desire to face any challenges. We expect a lot from you, because you come from a Party that produced the best teachers, Judge Presidents, Doctors, Veterinary surgeons and many more.

I am confident also that you will emerge out of this congress as a stronger and a united Young League that is ready to deal with the complex world we live in. You need to put any differences you may have had aside, and forge ahead with efforts to build unity.

We congratulate you on your congress and extend best wishes to the newly elected leadership. Work begins today in earnest to improve the quality of life of all our people.

The Youth League had problems in the past of non-functionality of their executive, no presentation of reports in their congresses and has always been dependent on the Mother body financially. Our Youth League has never been independent. I would like to urge the newly elected Executive to exercise independency.

Given these strong political foundations the youth thoroughly learned respect and have through the years, maintained that culture of discipline, respect, humility and absolute loyalty to the organization and its structures.

It is this history; successes and the demonstration of heroism that make us celebrate the role played by the Youth League.

On this day, we urge the youth not to lose that militancy, bravery and radicalism that characterized the youth league. Today, in this era of freedom and democracy, the youth must be in the forefront of current struggles to change the quality of life of our people, including the attainment of economic liberation for the poor.

We congratulate the UCDP Youth League on this milestone. The League has a critical responsibility of taking forward the wonderful work of the founding fathers and mothers. Let us not let these heroes and heroines down.

Let us build the UCDP, swell its ranks, and ensure that it continues to grow in all the nine provinces. Let us encourage all the branches to work harder to ensure that the party grows in all the structures that we have. Let us help the Youth League to establish progressive student movements in schools and tertiary institutions. Let this be the challenge of the newly elected Youth League Executive.

In particular, we will rely on our youth to lead both the Revival Campaign and our recruitment drive.

Your work has only just begun, to serve the mission and purpose for which the League was founded, which was to organize young people and contribute to strengthening the mother body.

We trust that the League will build its structures in the Western Cape and set a target that by this time next year, much progress would have been made to build the UCDP on the ground in this province.

UCDP must be established in all parts of South Africa. Let us build the UCDP, the UCDP Youth League, and the Student bodies, for us to take the democratic revolution forward.

I thank you all.

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.
The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.
The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman's lime.
The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather's wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.
And I am dumb to tell the lover's tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.
- Dylan Thomas

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