Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema urged the youth to make education fashionable.
Malema was speaking at the party's June 16 Youth Day celebrations at the University of Fort Hare of on Sunday.
Throughout his address to the packed venue, he emphasized the "decolonization" of the education system in South Africa.
"You must go to school, you must love education. Our people can no longer be led by uneducated people," Malema said.
He urged the youth to make education fashionable and enroll to TVET colleges and universities to better their lives, adding that there were no homes for children to sit and spend their days doing nothing.
"Education can never be negotiated. It must be free, it must be compulsory. All those who qualify to go to school, especially here at Fort Hare ... you must get your seat through your matric results."
Malema said idling youth in communities who were not in school were the ones involved in criminal activities
The struggle of the EFF is to liberate the minds of black youth like the 1976 generation that confronted the regime unarmed, inspired by the black consciousness, he said.
Malema said when the youth of 1976 took to the streets fighting against the Afrikaans medium decree which was issued in 1974, they knew that the "coloniser wanted to make them into the coloniser's image".
"The struggle of 1976 was not just a struggle against Afrikaans, it was a black consciousness struggle, it was a struggle to liberate the mind.
"[T]hey knew that if we allow the continuation of the oppression of the minds of black people we will never allow us to realise complete freedom," he said.
In his address, Malema also touched on the topic of forgiveness, saying apartheid leaders still owed South Africans an apology. He charged that people were arrested and when they were released, they were expected to forgive and forget for "people who never asked for an apology".
"I want you to give me a speech where [FW] De Klerk said sorry, where [DF] Malan said sorry, where [Pik] Botha said sorry, where [Hendrik] Verwoerd said sorry. They never apologized for their crimes. They are not in prison for their crimes. You only forgive people who show remorse and apologise. We will never forgive them until they apologise," he said.