News & Media

Passing the baton to future generations

Lerato Mahlaela

The Unisa Women’s Forum (UWF) held a webinar to commemorate Youth Month, in celebration of the 1976 youth, who revolted against the oppressive apartheid regime. In her welcoming note, Prof Meahabo Magano, UWF Chairperson, outlined that the 2022 Youth Day marked the 46th year since the 1976 uprisings, and provided a personal recollection of what transpired on 16 June 1976. Outlining the theme "#Empowering the youth, #Revitalisation of the economy", Magano reminded the audience about the traumatic sound of gunshots and the fear that struck the nation.

Caswell Sambo

The first speaker was Lerato Mahlaela, the chief executive officer of RS Travel Group. Mahlaela said: "My entrepreneurial journey started after I struggled to find employment. My travel agency started from just doing a booking for a friend. Later, as more people got interested in my travel bookings, I started the official business in 2020." Mahlaela encouraged the youth to strive for success in the business world, and to use various resources and mentorship programmes that are provided by the government.

Percy Sibanda

Caswell Sambo, spoke on graduate youth unemployment versus opportunities, and highlighted that government is not a hotspot for employment. Sambo is the outgoing chairperson of Unisa North Eastern Region student representative council (SRC), and a ward treasurer for the African National Congress Youth League in Mpumalanga. "Be innovative, and do not wait for opportunities to come from the government," said Sambo. He critiqued the South African education system for not producing skilled graduates and not allowing room for skills development. He emphasised that Unisa should focus on youth development programmes.

Abuyile Lusaseni

The former treasurer of the Unisa Johannesburg Regional SRC, Percy Sibanda, focused on youth revitalisation as an active agent in the economy. He encouraged the youth to refrain from self-sabotage, such as asking other people to write examinations on their behalf. He noted that credible institutions, such as Unisa, put systems in place to ensure credibility of processes, but some young people attempt to temper with such systems. Sibanda applauded Unisa for having strict systems that help produce credible graduates. "It is important for future generations to engage in critical discussions that can provide solutions for the government," motivated Sibanda.

Abuyile Lusaseni, chairperson of Unisa Eastern Cape Regional SRC, provided insight on how young people take the baton further. He emphasised that there can never be true transformation without including young people in the discussions for solutions. Lusaseni challenged higher learning institutions to have young people in strategic structures, as a means to transformation.

During interaction among the audience, some expressed confidence that the future of South Africa is in good hands.

Hetta Pieterse, UWF executive committee member, expressed gratitude to the speakers for their insightful presentations and thanked the audience for their productive interaction.

* By Thembeka Ntuli-Mpapama, Communication and Marketing Manager, Gauteng Region

* Lead and teaser image sourced from Octagon

Publish date: 2022-06-22 00:00:00.0