Speech by Deputy Minister in The Presidency: Perfomance Monitoring and Evaluation Obed Bapela at the President's Award for Youth Empowerment Programme awards ceremony at Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House, Pretoria
20 Sep 2012
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, Gold Award holders, parents, Award Leaders from a number of schools in the Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga provinces.
A special word of welcome to The Netherlands Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Andre Haspels and his family, the Chairman of The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment Trust, Mr Warren Clewlow, and fellow trustees here this evening.
It is really a privilege to have been asked by Minister Chabane to stand in for him. He was to represent the President here tonight, but he has been asked to go to Marikana to deal with some urgent issues. I feel privileged to be here, because as Deputy Minister in The Presidency, issues of youth are part of my specific portfolio.
In March 2010, when President Jacob Zuma was in the United Kingdom on a State Visit, he and Minister Chabane met with His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, who is the Chairman of the International Council of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association. As you know The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment is a full member of this association, which operates in 140 countries around the world.
The purpose of the London meeting was to discuss the endorsement of The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment by the Presidency. In August 2010 - at the beginning of the United National’s International Year of Youth - President Zuma accepted the role of Patron-in-Chief, from President Nelson Mandela, who is the Founding Patron-in-Chief of the organisation.
Last year during the Presidential Budget Vote Speech in Parliament, President Zuma called for companies and funding entities to support the valuable work that the Award is doing for young people in South Africa. I am pleased to announce this evening, that the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), is currently in the process of signing its first Service Level Agreement with the organisation, to further support the organisation’s work. Through this partnership, we hope to create greater access to the Award Programme, enabling more young people to develop themselves through this exciting international initiative.
Listening to the young people speak this evening was a real inspiration that we need to touch more young people in South Africa, through the Award Programme so that they can start creating a future that is built on a solid foundation. There is lot of building blocks which ought to be placed with young people. These include helping young people by challenging them to think out of the box, exposing them to experience pushing their own boundaries, challenging them to realise that they have a critical role to play in developing their own futures and that of the society of which they are a part.
This is possible regardless of young people’s circumstances i.e. whether they are in a correctional facility, a community youth group, a residential youth facility, or at a school. What they need to do is to believe in their ability to develop themselves and make a contribution to their communities and society. It is not easy, but we need to work hard to develop the positive energy of young people in this country – there is a lot of it and we need to harness it.
I attended the National Youth Development Agency’s inaugural National Youth Awards at Gallagher Estate in July. It was wonderful that the NYDA has started this initiative, in recognition of the young people who are making things happen in this wonderful country. I would like to publically congratulate Gold Award Holder, Ross McCreath, from the Eastern Cape, who won the Health and Wellbeing Category.
In 2008, as part of his Bronze Award, at the age of 14, he started the Tiger Titans Cricket Club outside Nolukanyo Township in Bathurst. This cricket club started with 15 players. There are now 100 youngsters from Nolukanyo, who practice cricket every weekday afternoon. 30 of the Tiger Titans have enrolled on the Award Programme and last year received their Bronze Awards and are currently on Silver. We are hoping that they will receive their Gold Awards - like you - next year.
One of the Tiger Titans, Masixole Mkrakra, was invited to speak at Lords Cricket Ground – the home of cricket – in March this year. He spoke powerfully, in the presence of sporting heroes like former South African Rugby Captain, John Smit, cricketer Derrick Underwood and tennis player Boris Becker. He got a standing ovation after he reflected on the impact of The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment Programme, and cricket on his life. The Award is clearly transforming Masixole’s world!
Isn’t it amazing, how the idea of one person – Ross McCreath – can have such an impact on so many others?
This is the message I want to share with you this evening. I know what it has taken for you to achieve your Gold Award, and I want to congratulate you, on behalf of the President and Minister Chabane.
I challenge you keep living the Award in all you do. Continue working with the less privileged in the way that you have. Continue learning new skills and challenging yourselves in various ways as you move into the future. Our country needs young people like you to “make it happen”.
To all 2012 Gold Award recipients, Congratulations!! It is the spirit, drive and dedication of young people like you that our country and the world has become a better place for us to live in. Go out there and give the world the best you can and the world will in turn come to you.
I thank you!
Cell: 084 414 7788
Issued by: The Presidency
20 Sep 2012
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