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JUNE, THE YOUTH MONTH
BY SIPHO MFUNDISI - DEPUTY PRESIDENT: UCDP

I have, in this maiden article for weekly features, decided to write on the youth and look into their ability to lead.

It is unfortunate that this month saw two significant people Mama Albertina Sisulu and Prof Kader Asmal called to a better place.

I bring in the twosome because in my view they set the pace on how the youth should gear themselves for leadership roles. Ma-Sisulu, in her young age brought up her siblings and in marriage she remained constant while her husband was incarcerated for life. A lesser woman would have set sights on another gentleman. Asmal sat at the knee of Inkosi Luthuli like Paul did at the knee of Gamaliel. All the good values Asmal learnt from his tutor he kept up to the last day. He had learnt to stand up, speak out and take risks regardless of whether one would be ostracized by oneís colleagues.

These are values that the youth should hold. The youth on June 16, 1976 showed their mettle. They had planned their action but were sent in disarray by the police who panicked when they saw a group of disciplined young people marching orderly.

The youth then were doing their stuff in orderly fashion and were guarded in what they said when they spoke to adults. There is no reason whatsoever nowadays for the youth to speak with and address themselves to adults as if they are older than the adults.

There is no reason for the youth to run out of patience with the authorities these days as systems are in place to engage up to the highest level unlike what was the case 35 years ago. Structures in political parties are in place as much as the same occurs in government with the like of structures meant for young people such as the Youth Development Agency. Whatever unhappiness is registered about such bodies, the youth must engage in talks and discussions.

Of course, the adults should in their turn present themselves as figure of authority. Teachers should teach and not cheat, parents should parent, leaders should lead so that the youth may look up to them and place themselves in a position of doing likewise when they reach adulthood.

Government should play their role and govern well. A well meaning government cannot afford allow a situation where young people become disillusioned by feeling they are left behind or that the democracy they cherish is not delivering. They donít understand why they should still be unemployed in their numbers. They feel society is failing them and consequently they become fertile soil for those who sow dissent.

The education system has to be fixed so that when young people qualify they should be ready the job market. The time has come that education planning should be given the attention it deserves. It is pointless to churn out school graduates whose qualifications are irrelevant to the needs of the industries in the country.

The argument of saying to them they should be entrepreneurs is not helpful when even accessing funds is a nightmare.

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