Launching Youth Month

1 June 2021

Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, has called on society to play its part in availing opportunities for the youth to ensure an inclusive and transformed society.

“We cannot ignore our youth, if we are to see our society progress. Therefore, all of us must play our part in creating an inclusive society that allows engagement, improves the mental health of youth and people with disabilities, and increase access to economic opportunities for the youth,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.

The Minister made the call during the launch of Youth Month 2021, on Tuesday.

The Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), in partnership with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, launched this year’s Youth Month, which marks 45 years since the June 16 student uprising of 1976.

Youth Month 2021 is commemorated under the theme, ‘The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: Growing youth employment for an inclusive and transformed society.”


Nkoana-Mashabane said government recognises the power and ability of the youth, hence it continues to invest in youth development programmes through agencies, including the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), to bring positive changes to the lives of the young people of South Africa.

She said the NYDA is well-placed to recognise the challenges faced by the youth, and to spot the potential of young people.

“It is for this reason that the agency continues to implement programmes that bring change in the lives of our youth.

“The Presidency, working with the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, continues to work across government and private and social partners to coordinate and drive an integrated plan to create two million new jobs for young people during the next decade, over and above average job growth,” the Minister said.

Seek entrepreneurial and skills opportunities

During Youth Month, the Minister said government will encourage young people to seek entrepreneurial and skills opportunities.

“We believe that with the available opportunities, young people can become job-creators and not only become jobseekers. We also need the women, youth, and people with disabilities to explore the possibilities and opportunities that our country has.

“We encourage young women to look up to the struggle stalwarts and emulate the values of the likes of Mme Charlotte Mannya Maxeke, a human rights activist whose ambitions led her to become the first Black South African woman to earn a university degree. Mme Charlotte Mannya Maxeke paved the way for all of us who followed to become leaders and we want to do the same for young girls in our communities,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.

Invest in knowledge production

President of the South African National Youth Council, Thembinkosi Josopu, said the challenges the 1976 youth faced are different to the ones faced by today’s youth.

“Today’s youth don’t need petrol bombs, they don’t need stones, but they need knowledge. As young people, we must now invest in knowledge production, in finding solutions to the problems facing our country.

“We can’t be critics of government without providing solutions. The strategies we use currently cannot be the strategies informed and used in 1976. We hope and trust that the department [of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities] will continue to be open, inclusive and consult society,” Josopu said.

National Youth Day

The 2021 Youth Day celebration will be held at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on 16 June 2021, in the form of a Presidential youth dialogue.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on the day reflect on the progress made in the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention, launched during the 2020 State of the Nation Address.

As part of Youth Month, South Africans are invited to nominate young people, who have been doing extraordinary things in their lives, communities, and professional capacities to be recognised and showcased to the rest of South Africa.

The nominations can be forwarded between 1 and 11 June 2021 to the NYDA. –