Youth must unite for a fine future

The 23rd national conference of the ANC Youth League will end today with a new leadership at the helm.

The 23rd national conference of the ANC Youth League will end today with a new leadership at the helm.

This development offers hope to a South African youth, desperately in need of leadership that will transcend political tensions that played themselves out during the build-up and at the conference itself.

The new leadership will be required to be equal to the task of generating concrete programmes and campaigns aimed at tackling the myriad challenges facing young people today.

One of the discussion documents tabled at the ANCYL conference stratified specific challenges according to different youth age groups.

In the 14-to-18 category, the youth were largely found to be at secondary schools and already affected by such issues as education, teenage pregnancies, HIV-Aids, racial tensions and violence at schools.

The 18 to 27 age group, generally found in tertiary institutions, the informal sector and limited formal employment, had to contend with the high rate of unemployment and a lack of education finance.

These include graduates who battle to find employment despite their qualifications. A large section of this age group remained unemployed and also faced the risk of HIV-Aids infection.

Those in 27 to 35 age bracket were mainly confronted by the challenges of unemployment, lack of skills, housing and limited entrepreneurial opportunities to enable them to be self-sufficient.

But social ills such as alcohol-drug abuse, crime and the risk of contracting HIV-Aids dogged all youth in our society - irrespective of age.

It is important that the new ANCYL leadership mobilises the youth of all races, ages and gender, as well across the political spectrum, to join forces to tackle these issues.

To overcome, these challenges will need a youth leadership with capacity to see the wood for the trees.

That leadership must also recognise that bickering that has characterised the conference in Bloemfontein is counter-productive as it will only serve to dilute the focus of the organisation.