Soweto — Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane has called on the youth to unite and fight against today's challenges like the youth of 1976.
While the 1976 generation had a common enemy in the evil apartheid system, Mokonyane said today's generation is faced with a totally different type of enemy. She mentioned HIV and AIDS, drugs and substance abuse, moral decay to hunger and joblessness.
"These are tearing the moral fibre of our society, stealing the promising young lives and destroying families," she told hundreds who braved the cold winter to commemorate Youth Day in Mofolo Park, Soweto on Saturday.
Mokonyane told the gathering, which mostly was wearing school uniform, that the nature of today's challenges should galvanise the youth to work as a united force just like the 1976 generation.
For this to happen, young people she said must participate in structures and organisations that have their interests at heart.
She urged the youth to be involved in youth formations and other civil structures where a sense of belonging is achieved which can help to channel their energy to a specific cause.
"This kind of involvement gives one a purpose in life. It is this purpose in life that young people must define themselves and pursue with unparalleled vigour and zest," said Mokonyane.
The premier also used the opportunity to mention several programmes that the province will be doing to improve the lives of the ordinary youth in the province such as the roll out of the Drugs Treatment Centres Campaign.
Mokonyane said they will also be establishing Youth Township Hubs in each region which are aimed at promoting entrepreneurial initiatives and job creation for the youth in Gauteng, as well as the youth Artisan Programme which will provide and equip the youth with skills that are relevant to the current economic challenges.
These programmes, the premier said was to show that the blood that was shed for the liberation of the country was not in vain.
Paying tribute to the youth of 1976, Mokonyane said: "Their blood has nurtured our democracy and strengthens our resolve to fight the current scourge of poverty, unemployment and disease. We salute the generation of selfless revolutionary and hope today's youth can emulate their courage and commitment."