One of the prominent features on South Africa's youth calendar - the 15th Anglo American and Sowetan Young Communicators Awards - will take place at Gold Reef City, Johannesburg, on Saturday.
Youth Month celebrates the gallant youths who led protests against apartheid education policies - including the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction - culminating in the fateful turning point on June 16, 1976, when the police unleashed violent reprisals on unarmed protesting students.
Through the Young Communicators Awards, Anglo American and Sowetan, together with national and provincial education departments, seek to nurture future leaders who will guard the gains of the freedom struggle and cherish democracy, in line with the ideals of Youth Day and Youth Month.
Provincial heats - coordinated by senior provincial education department officials - took place between March and June. The finalists are:
lLovelyn Nwadeyi of Queenstown, Eastern Cape;
lMosidinyane Moleko of Fairbain College, Western Cape;
lAlicia Viljoen of Duineveld High School, Northern Cape;
lTuis Mofokeng of Sitintile High School, Mpumalanga;
lBakang Tshite of St Anne's High School, North West;
lPriscilla Sekhonyane of St Michael's High School, Free State;
lRorisang Thandekiso of Riverside High School, Gauteng;
lMnelisi Gasa of Port Shepstone High School, KwaZulu-Natal; and
lTsakane Ngoepe of Dendron Secondary School, Limpopo.
Speaking at the Eastern Cape elimination contest, reigning YCA winner Thembi Losi encouraged South Africa's youth to hold fast to their confidence and self-respect.
Losi said future leaders must maintain South Africa as a social, economic, political and cultural powerhouse in Africa and beyond.
The three provincial winners are presented with R1000, R500 and R250 respectively. The top three victors in the national finals receive R30000, R20000 and R15000, and the six runners-up are given R500 each.
The awards ceremony on Saturday promises to be a vibrant occasion.