Believe in the country you want it to be – and make it happen

It is time for the youth to embrace their role as catalysts for change, and work together to build a nation that embodies the values of integrity, equality, and prosperity for all, says the writer. Picture: ANA Archives

Believe in the country we want it to be, to make it happen…

This is not so much a message to the youth this Youth Day, but a plea. That you, our leaders of tomorrow, face a mountain of challenges, created largely by the failures of your predecessors, needs no explaining.

But, amidst these obstacles, lies an extraordinary opportunity for you, as the youth of South Africa, to come together, bridge the divides, and steer the nation towards a brighter

Believing in the future

At the heart of any transformative movement lies belief in the future.

South Africa’s youth must firmly hold onto the conviction that they have the power to effect change. This belief can serve as a catalyst, empowering you to rise above disillusionment and cynicism.

By harnessing your collective potential, you, as the youth, can bring fresh ideas, innovative solutions, and a renewed sense of purpose to tackle the deeply rooted challenges that have hindered our progress for far too long.

Uniting in the Face of Division

Nearly 30 years of democracy on, the diversity of your backgrounds, cultures, and experiences have been used as a political tool to divide the country.

Yet, it is precisely this diversity that can be leveraged as a strength to build bridges and overcome the divisions that have plagued the nation. By embracing inclusivity and recognising the inherent value of every individual, you can foster unity and forge common ground.

This unity must transcend racial, ethnic, and socio-economic lines, to promote a shared vision of a united and prosperous South Africa – for all.

Leading not Following

Endemic and systemic corruption, and cronyism have eroded public trust and hindered our progress. We need you, please, to step up and fill the gaps left by corrupt elders. By embracing ethical leadership and demanding accountability, you can help rebuild trust and create a new paradigm of governance. This requires active participation in the democratic process, engaging in grassroots activism, and advocating for transparency and integrity at all levels of society.

Be the role models today that you want the generations that follow to emulate.

Harnessing Technology

Most of you have grown up in an era of unprecedented technological advancement. As digital natives, many of you are equipped with the skills and knowledge to harness technology for progress.

By leveraging digital platforms and connectivity, you can amplify your voices, mobilise communities, and drive social change. Technology can also be a powerful tool for economic empowerment, opening doors to entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation. By embracing the digital age, South Africa’s youth can lead the country towards a more inclusive and prosperous future.

To effect this, however, the country needs connectivity. Full stop. Denying our people access to the Internet is a crime against progress. As our youth, make yourselves heard and felt to demand that connectivity is a right for all our people, no matter their circumstances.

Investing in Education and Skills

Education is the cornerstone of progress and empowerment. South Africa’s youth must prioritise education as a means to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to shape the nation’s destiny. However, access to quality education remains a challenge for many.

It is imperative, therefore, that you demand equal opportunities and advocate for education reforms that address the systemic barriers hindering equitable access. Furthermore, fostering a culture of lifelong learning and skills development will enable the youth to adapt to a rapidly changing world and contribute meaningfully to South Africa’s development.

Collaborating with Elders

While it is crucial for the youth to fill the gaps left by corrupt elders, it is equally important to recognise that not all older individuals are tainted by corruption.

Many experienced individuals possess valuable wisdom and insights that can guide and mentor you in your pursuit of a better South Africa.

By bridging the generational gap and fostering intergenerational dialogue, you, as the youth, can tap into the collective knowledge and experience of your elders while infusing your energy and innovative ideas. Collaboration between the youth and elders can create a powerful force for change and contribute to a more sustainable society.

As South Africa’s youth, you have the power to shape the destiny of your nation. By believing in the future, uniting in the face of division, filling the gaps left by corrupt elders, harnessing technology for progress, investing in education and skills, and collaborating with the elders, you can lead South Africa towards a brighter tomorrow.

It is time for you to step up to the plate, embrace your role as catalysts for change, and work together to build a nation that embodies the values of integrity, equality, and prosperity for all.

The only caveat to this, is that this change should not rely on violence to shift the narrative, we have had too much of that in our history. Love and peace are just as powerful motivators, if not more so, and coming from a standpoint of envisioned harmony, can truly correct the course of our country in a world that is in turmoil.

South Africa once showed the world that we could overcome immense barriers and set aside prejudices to be united. Greed, entitlement, and corruption changed that, but you have it in you to regain it.

I offer my deepest and sincerest apologies to you for the mess you are currently destined to inherit, but I ask you all to believe in the country we want it to be so that together, we can make it happen.

Dr Survé is chairman of the Sekunjalo Group and executive chairman of Independent Media

Cape Times

Please read the full article here.

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