Zimbabwe Digital News
African youths have been challenged to observe youth month(s) for 12 months as June ends this week – capping a momentous month in which South Africa celebrated the fighting spirit that characterised the youth of 1976.
A series of events in memory of June 1976 ends at the end of Youth Month in South Africa, but the International Peace Youth Group will remember this June as a defining period in which youths across the continent have been urged take responsibility for the legacy that they wish to build for their peers come 2030.
Vusi Sibiya, chief director for strategic support at the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation told guests at the IPYG Youth Day Dialogue, themed Tomorrow’s Hope that many of the freedoms that the youth of today were taking for granted, were never afforded to black people, and the oppressed.
“We used to have different toilets for black people, and for white people in this country. Even getting married across the racial lines was a crime. But today some of our youths do not take this freedom seriously. Let the voice of the youth be heard, let our youth today lead the conversations, and the solutions of tomorrow should lie with the youths of today,” Sibiya said.
Tintswalo Makhubele, Secretary General of the South African Council of NGOs told the gathering that the future of African youth depended on the youth of today taking ownership of the dialogues that South Africa in particular – and the continent in general – was having with its people.
“We cannot over-emphasise enough how our youth are important in solving some of the conflicts that are raging on the continent.
“The youth of 1976 showed us that youngsters are perfectly capable of taking a simple issue like education in one’s language – into a rallying call. This proves the power to change – not only oppressed communities in Soweto, but oppressed communities throughout South Africa, and on the continent.”
“That is the challenge that the youth of 2019 must accept, and carry with them to 2030,” Makhubele said.
Facilitator for the dialogue Lennon Monyae from the African Peer Review Mechanism said that there were many instances – for example natural disasters (Cyclones) and conflicts (Sudan) that the youth themselves had the power – not only to anticipate – but to provide solutions for, through digital technologies and the use of multi-media.
“We at APRM have made the youth of this continent the centre-piece of how we should proceed in terms of dialogues. The technologies are there – in many fields of study – and the challenge is for the youth of today to show the way forward for the youth of tomorrow,” Monyae said.
Speakers at the event pledged support for the IPYG and urged the African youth to promote the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) through eradication of the structural causes of war – including getting rid of conflict, stopping the production of weapons, ending religious based conflicts and fighting against poverty.
Guests were also enouraged to participate on peace walks, dialogues, media forums, value education, the promotion of the rule of law and writing of peace letters to leaders of African countries – urging them to use their power and influence in promotion of peace and dialogues across their countries.
Peace letters addressed to leaders of African countries were also written urging government to work towards the attainment of peace, and building youth-centric foundations.
The IPYG Youth Day dialogue event, at the Randburg Library, attracted officials from the African Union and the African Peer Review mechanism, from Green Peace, from the City of Johannesburg, Save the Children, university students, youth formations, and the media.
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