On 30 June, the National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC) closed off the Youth month with a Youth Culture Dialogue themed “46 years later how far have we come? through one of its programmes – Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route (RLHR).
Three (3) schools’ Representative Council of Learners (RCLs) from Soweto; Morris Isaacson High School, Meadowlands High School and Moletsane High School – participated.
The heated dialogue took place at one of our country’s national heritage sites – Freedom Park in Pretoria. Chairperson of the Council, Mr Edgar Neluvhalani, Dr Ndivhwu Lukhwareni, Chief Executive of the NHC, Chairperson of the Heritage Committee and Council member, Mr Jabulani Sithole, Acting Head of Executive Core Ms Stella Ndhlazi and other NHC staff members graced the event with their attendance and extended their wealth of knowledge and experience with the youth.
In his opening address, Mr Neluvhalani said that it is such a privilege to be in a room full of young people and hope that after the dialogue the youth in attendance will have a different perspective on how to address challenges they face today with good solutions.
Mosa Ross, the RCL representative from Moletsane High School touched on the role of education in nation-building. He painted the picture of the fateful day in 1976
and urged his peers to be like the youth of 1976 with resilience. “Let us empower ourselves with education and acquire knowledge and also stand a better chance for opportunities out there by the private and public sector” said Ross.
“With the high unemployment rate in our country, Government cannot cater jobs for all of us! We need to stand up and do something with our own hands and start something from nothing – we will get there. We see a number of university graduates unemployed with qualifications, and still without jobs! We need to take charge as the youth!” said Makama Nkateko from Meadowlands High School.
“At the NHC, we have programmes that support youth empowerment and development where we have partnered with other government entities and departments, i.e. Department of Basic Education, SANparks, UNISA on some of our programmes; Heritage Educations School Outreach Programme, Studentship and Internship programmes.
The guest speaker for the day, Ms Ntandoyenkosi Kunene, an author, MBA Candidate, Entrepreneur, former Miss South Africa (2016), and advocate for the advancement of children’s education and development was nothing but a perfect candidate that grew up in the township and faced similar challenges that today’s youth is facing.
“As a young girl who grew up in a small town in Mpumalanga, I had dreams and goals like any other child and mostly I focused on my education, which is my passion but remained focused on chasing my dream for self-fulfilment – which was to become Ms South Africa. When you are educated, you look at things from a different perspective and your approach is tactical. We need to remember that there is a government role to facilitate employment and all the other opportunities out there and it is our role to go out there and find those opportunities” said Ntandoyenkosi. Ms Kunene concluded “As much as there’s a lot happening in our country, let us not lose any hope. Let us usher our country to a better future, because the leaders who are in power today, won’t be there 20 years from now. It will be us – so let’s take charge!”