Pretoria-The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has urged the young people who are part of their National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) to emulate the young revolutionaries of the 1976 generation.
Today, South Africa marks the 35 year anniversary of the 16 June 1976 student uprisings in Soweto, where the apartheid police forces responded with teargas and live bullets to a peaceful protest by high school students in Soweto for better education.
As police fired more shots straight into the crowd, 12-year-old Hector Pieterson fell to the ground, fatally wounded. He was picked up by Mbuyisa Makhubo, a fellow student, who ran with him towards the Phefeni Clinic, with Pieterson’s crying sister Antoinette running alongside.
Photographer Sam Nzima took the picture which sent shock waves around the world. Pieterson came to symbolise the uprising, giving the world an in-your-face view of the brutality of apartheid.
The Department of Rural Development said NARYSEC participants, who are unemployed youth from rural areas, aged between 18 and 35, should look upon and build on the solid foundation laid by the 1976 generation.
The NARYSEC is a two-year programme aimed at empowering rural youth from each of the 3 300 rural wards across the country.
Head of communications at the department, Eddie Mohoebi said: “Everything we do today must answer to the needs of our children and those of the youth given the youthfulness of our population.
“As the department we are making a call to all the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) participants’ country wide to look upon the youth of 1976.
“As we commemorate the youth day, we need to remember the youth who were at the forefront of the struggle against apartheid.
“The youth of South Africa are encouraged to take advantage of the NARYSEC programme that the department has initiated.”
The programme is aimed at empowering the youth with various skills and is expected to create about 10 000 opportunities for youths from the more than 3000 rural wards in the country including youth with disabilities.
Successful candidates will undergo an intensive training programme, based on needs identified during an induction and approved by the department, and will receive a monthly stipend for the two year duration of the programme.
Skills development will include discipline, patriotism, life skills, rights awareness and specific skills areas empowering youth to change rural areas.
After the completion of the two-year training programme, candidates will work in their communities providing services in local socio-economic development.
The NARYSEC programme will complement the department’ job creation model, which targets and ensures that at least one person per each household in the rural areas where the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) is being piloted, gets employed and that such employment is linked to skills development.
Mohoebi said the department has initiated this job creation and skills development programmes in line with its rural development mandate, to create vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities throughout South Africa. -BuaNews