Keynote Address by Minister Nathi Mthethwa forthe National Youth Camp

2 December 2019

Youth sport and recreation networks are an important source and means for social networking. They help in combating exclusion and fostering of youth capacity, towards addressing the challenges faced by young people, and the realisation of opportunities available for their growth and contribution to society. Youth gatherings, networks and programmes can help to empower and promote the inclusion of disadvantaged youth, disabled youth, out of school youth, youth at risk, girl children, unemployed youth and rural youth.

Young citizens currently face various challenges like a lack of adequate opportunities for positive social interaction, short-lived childhoods, unequal distribution of resources, a high rate of unemployment, a high rate of crime and other social ills.

Sport and recreation is therefore a valuable social connector and a powerful development tool in realising the national goals of our democratic state. Sport and Recreation SA encourages mass participation in sport and recreation activities through dedicated and customised mass-based programmes and projects, throughout the country. Well-designed sport and physical activity programmes are potent mechanisms for fostering healthy youth and individual development, teaching positive values and life skills and/or reducing conflict and any social ills.

The National Youth Camp plays a very critical role in uniting our young people and fostering social cohesion and safe communities. It further provides a platform for the youth of our country to interact across race, class, culture and social backgrounds.

The primary objective of this National Youth Camp programme is to develop young people and empower them with the necessary requisite values associated with soft-skills and knowledge. Through these skills we want to assist the youth in becoming responsible, conscious citizens whilst strengthening their sense of patriotism and identity.

This national youth camps has the potential to unlock adequate opportunities for positive social interaction, strengthen, in an organised and coordinated manner, the ability of young people to work cooperatively across race, ethnicity, gender, geographical location, class, language and creed.

We hope to groom you, our youth into leaders, who will take charge of your lives towards a better future with a positive mindset and innovative thinking and become champions of positive lifestyle in your respective communities.

Campers, The programme for the work is intense where you will be exposed to elements of leadership, sports activities, teambuilding, community services, event planning, debates on gender based violence and bullying and I’m told that the Youth Camp every year stages a very exciting Cultural concert where you as young people showcase talent that is unique to your culture that gives fellow campers an insight into the various cultures that exist in South Africa.

Young ladies and gentlemen let us seriously apply our minds to the sessions dealing with gender based violence. Every human being has a right to respect. We must show respect to each other no matter of age, ability, race or gender. It cannot be that young men believe that they are better or superior to young women. In the past few month there have been many incidences of young women been killed, injured and abused by men.

Violence against women is a great shame to our nation and goes against common values. As human beings we must respect women and protect children.

The Youth Camp takes place at a time when we also commemorate the 16 days of activism for no violence against Women and Children campaign. This is a United Nations Campaign which takes place annually from 25 November to 10 December 2019. The theme of this programme is #Enough is Enough. What we are saying is that we violence against women and children will no longer be tolerated.

The uninhibited violence against women in our country, women who fought to liberate this land, women who represent us on global platforms, such as women in ours sporting sector, MUST STOP. Violence against women is not a problem of women. Men of South Africa, it is time you made it your problem. For these women are our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters. Act now, don’t walk away.

So to all the young men here today, respect the young women with whom you interact. Young women, you equally have a responsibility to assert your authority and not accept abuse from anyone. Report any act of abuse to the relevant authorities. You have a right to protection and human dignity.

Young men and women I’m certain that with the experiences and skills you will be exposed to you will be able to make a positive impact in your communities and persuade your friends, family and community members to live a positive and healthy lifestyle.

We are truly grateful to the various partners who have joined us in delivering this programme over the years and we hope that the 2019 National Youth Camps enjoys greater success.

Let us live by the motto of the Youth Camp, “Learn, Lead, Serve”.