Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa says the youth of 2020 have been called upon to fight a much more silent war, the COVID-19 pandemic, and to help to rebuild society.
"You need to use your energy as the youth of today to rebuild the world that will allow us to survive," Mthethwa said.
In a pre-recorded message for the 2020 Youth Month launch, Mthethwa called on the youth to take charge of their lives.
"Despite all the challenges facing young people today, our Youth Day and Youth Month programmes allow us to empower the youth across all sectors of society by encouraging the youth to take charge of their lives.
"We are aware of the effects of COVID-19 on all of society and we are aware of its effects on the youth," Mthethwa said.
The Minister said the 2020 Youth Month programme will be held on virtual platforms as well as on livestreaming.
"We will work with many partners to drive a message of encouragement and positivity through these platforms. There is a reality that many young people may not be able to access the events during the 2020 Youth Month programmes due to the internet.
"It is to this end that the June 16 Commemoration programme will be celebrated virtually broadcast on radio and television including community-based media," the Minister said.
Mthethwa said while COVID-19 is a potentially life-threatening disease, it has some positive spinoffs especially for those young people in the creative industries, who are creating 4IR solutions.
"We have to adopt to our new normal, which requires creativity, innovation and acceleration of the 4IR revolution, led by you, the South African youth," the Minister said.
He encouraged all young people to be involved in actions that lift South African society.
Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Minister Nkoane Maite-Mashabane, said the 1976 generation laid solid foundation in the fight against cultural domination and oppression.
"Each year, June 16 is a day in which we all recognise the struggles of the 1976 youth and to celebrate the impact they made on the liberation of our country," the Minister said.
She called on the youth to grab all the opportunities that government is availing to them.
"It incumbent upon the 2020 youth to work together and fight COVID-19," the Minister said.
This year and for the first time, Youth Month will not be celebrated with the youth gathered in large numbers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in the National Days being commemorated virtually.
The year 2020 marks 44 years since the June 16 uprising, which saw a shift in the country's youth activism and power.
The year 2020 also marks 30 years since the release of Former President Nelson Mandela.
Youth Month 2020 will be celebrated virtually under the theme: "Youth Power: Growing South Africa together in a period of COVID-19".
The virtual launch of Youth Month 2020 was live streamed on social media platforms, including Zoom and YouTube, for the benefit of all young people.
National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) CEO Waseem Carrim had during the virtual launch unveiled the Youth Month calendar of activities.
2020 Youth Month key virtual activities will be broadcast through various platforms including social media, web-based seminars (webinars), virtual masterclasses and TV and Radio.