|Discovering Youth of today: DIFFICULT challenges and REAL opportunities|
Executive Chairperson of the Foundation for Ethical Youth Leadership- Vusi Maupa, wrote to SABC Education digital media to raise issues affecting youth in South Africa today.
Numerous advocates of youth development in the socio-economic terrain, such as independent researchers, research institutions, non-government organisations, organised youth franchises, government institutions and the private sector, have over the years spared no effort in their wrestling to discover the challenges and possible solutions facing the youth.
Their efforts have since been propagated through various research and scholarly documents as well as the media. Among other findings made by these proponents are the implacable challenges of the increasing youth illiteracy, unemployment as well as drugs and alcohol abuse. It is in this context that I reckon the challenges facing us [the youth of today] to be DIFFICULT, and as such yield opportunities which can make a prosperous future a REALITY. The term DIFFICULT is an acronym to what I have discovered to be the eight major challenges facing us. By the same token, the term REALITY is an acronym to what I have established to be the potential opportunities for today’s youth.
As opposed to the youth of the 20th century which was united under political freedom struggle, we [the youth of the 21st century] are divided and increasingly suffer from the challenge of Drugs and alcohol abuse which has also put us in dire hallucination and made us impotent in fighting our own battles. Whilst Tata Nelson Mandela and many other political freedom fighters suffered the pains of apartheid and later Teboho "Tsietsi" MacDonald Mashinini fighting against the unfair education system, we continue to suffer the plight of Illiteracy. History tells that Tata sacrificed 27 years of his life for what he believed was right, so did Hector Pieterson whom unfortunately never enjoyed the fruits of his labour.
As today’s youth, we are trapped in the cocoon of the Fear of Failure which has done best to consternate our self-esteem to the lowest level and paralysed our ideas. Tata was imprisoned for his selfless devotion to the free and peaceful South Africa. Because of Ignorance and arrogance, prison cells are today jam-packed with the youth due to selfish Crimes that which has put our nation at the state of unease. When we commit to criminal activities such as murders, rapes and drugs syndicates we hide under the veil of Unemployment. This is true though, the unemployment rate is ranging high but we are not all to blame it on the government. The Lack of entrepreneurship in the youth of today has also exacerbated this high unemployment trend. Last but by no means least; what do we need to do with the chronic Training and skills development deficiency that has crippled us and the South African economy?
Just like Tata, Tsietsi, Hector and others did to conquer their challenges; we need to Risk the opportunities we have to become Entrepreneurs. This can be achieved through Ambitions driven by passion and desire to succeed, imbued with the spirit of Learning continuously through the use of Information Technology and other educational tools. At the core of the realisation of these opportunities lies the Youth leadership that is embedded with the values of ethics, professionalism and integrity.
As the youth of today, we inevitably bear the onus to liberate South Africa from its socio-economic trajectories. Thus, the warmth of tomorrow’s coldness lies in our effort to start the fire today!
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