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President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses National Youth Day Commemoration, 16 Jun

President Cyril Ramaphosa will tomorrow, 16 June 2018, address the 42nd anniversary of the Youth Day Commemoration in Soweto, Johannesburg under the theme Live the Legacy: Towards a socio-economically empowered youth.

Every year on 16 June, South Africa commemorates the 1976 student uprisings to pay tribute to hundreds of youth who were brutally killed by the racist white minority government for their stance against the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in black schools.

On this day the young people across the country and mainly in Soweto Township stood together and laid down their lives in the fight for freedom and the right to equal education.

President Ramaphosa said South Africa should use this day and Youth Month to give a special attention to the challenges facing young people and also to unlock opportunities for young people to determine their destiny in honour of the youth of 1976.

Our youth were at the forefront of the fight against apartheid. The Class of 1976 exposed the brutality of the apartheid regime to the world and ignited resistance around the country.

Forty-two years later young people must help to keep their legacy alive by taking advantage of opportunities to build our country and change their lives. Young people should join the ranks of active and responsible citizens by participating in democratic structures and processes like elections as well as be active leaders in the fight against crime, substance abuse, corruption and acts of violence, the President said.

President Ramaphosa further acknowledged that despite significant strides made since 1994, a lot still needed to be done to improve the living conditions of young people and black youth in particular.

The Youth Month comes less than three months since President Ramaphosa launched the Youth Employment Service initiative that aims to prepare young people for work through training and matching programmes. The programme is a business-led initiative in partnership with government, labour and civil society and will offer one million young South Africans paid work experience over the next three years.

This year's Youth Month takes place within the same year that South Africa marks the centenary year of the country's liberation struggle champions, former President Nelson Mandela and MrsAlbertinaSisulu.

The President has called on youth and all South Africans to use the Youth Month to honour the sacrifices made by Tata Madiba and Mama Sisulu towards a free, democratic, non-sexist and non-racial South Africa.

President Ramaphosa will commence the Youth Day commemoration on Saturday by participating in the Thuma Mina Walk which will start from Morris Isaacson High School in Jabavu, Soweto and end at the Hector Petersen Memorial in Orlando West.

The walk will retrace and symbolically signify the footsteps of the youth 1976.

The President will then lay a wreath at the memorial site of the first victim of the 1976 Soweto Uprising, Hector Petersen and then proceed to Orlando Stadium to deliver a national message on Youth Day 2018 commemoration.

Government and its agencies such as the National Youth Development Agency will over the month host a number of engagements including youth expos, dialogues and youth entrepreneur hubs to showcase opportunities available to young people.

Source: Government of South Africa

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