June 16 is known today as Youth Day. This national public holiday commemorates the South African youth who fought in the struggle against apartheid and Bantu education. In remembrance of 16 June 1976, Unisa Radio honoured the young people who were part of the Soweto Uprising by hosting a roundtable discussion on 15 June 2012 in the Dr Miriam Makeba Concert Hall, Muckleneuk Campus, Pretoria.
Unisa Radio engaged almost a hundred students on the topic of the current
economic climate in South Africa, and questioned whether it is conducive for young people to become innovative and successful entrepreneurs.
The guest speakers who attended the roundtable discussion were Roche Mamabolo, Director of Radipolelo Business Consulting, Alpheus Maphosa, public commentator on skills and education, Molefi Olifant, Head of Communication at the Y-Age Programme, and Veli Ngubane, Strategic Director and Co-founder of Avatar Digital Agency. The key issues discussed at the roundtable were education and entrepreneurship.
Maphosa spoke about his understanding of entrepreneurship. He defined entrepreneurship as something that is triggered by a need, the result of South Africa’s high unemployment rate being one of them, in order to become innovators and creative entrepreneurs. He gave examples of pioneers such as Patrick Motsepe and Tokyo Sexwale.
“I challenge young people to get involved in understanding what entrepreneurship is, because it is not a child’s play,” he said.
The roundtable discussion emphasised that in order to be an entrepreneur one needs to be educated. Prof Tinyiko Maluleka advised, “Education doesn’t make anyone a millionaire. However, it’s a tool to help you think and facilitate the development of others. There’s an entrepreneur in each and every one of us. The challenge we have is how we can release the entrepreneur in us”.
Ngubane highlighted the fact that education could be divided into three distinct meanings including formal, street and research education.
The overall discussion labelled an entrepreneur as someone who had certain qualities such as confidence, innovativeness, creativity and a culture of sacrifice.
The discussion allowed Unisa students and staff to voice their opinions on issues affecting young people today such as economic opportunities, education and general challenges facing entrepreneur’s, young and old, in South Africa.
As it is Youth Month, Unisa Radio wants to provide a platform for debate with young people. Unisa Radio Station Manager, Francios Van Heerden, wants to allow roundtable discussions to kick-start young South Africans’ thoughts about how and where they are going to find employment in the current economic climate.
“There are so many challenges facing young and upcoming entrepreneurs, and many start-ups end up dying within five years of existence. Unisa has a number of students running their own businesses and we want to provide a platform for them to come and speak with each other about challenges and successes in their own businesses,” said Deputy Station Manager Talifhani Munzhedzi.
By Busi Mabaso