Pretoria: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi says young people must make academic choices that are informed by the needs of the South African economy.
“Our young people must be in a position to identify the skills that are required by our economy and make academic choices that are informed by the needs of our economy.
“They must see the opportunities that are available in our country and seize them with all their might. Only young people who have been brought up with adequate social education and life orientation will be able to make these kinds of choices,” she said.
Minister Muthambi was speaking at the ninth annual Soul Buddyz national congress in Rustenburg on Monday night.
She said future leaders must be assisted with skills to manage their finances and prepare them for a productive life in university and beyond.
Formed in 2002, the club, which now has 6 000 children as active members in all nine provinces, evolved from the hugely successful SABC 1 television series, Soul Buddyz.
The Soul Buddyz club has proven to be a successful platform where all children between the ages of eight and 14 years learn and develop skills that will not only improve their lives, but their schools and communities.
Minister Muthambi commended Soul Buddyz for leading the campaign for social cohesion and social change among children. She further commended the Soul City Institute for being at the forefront of the country’s efforts to address social ills since the dawn of democracy.
“South Africa is seriously indebted to this important organisation. I say we are indebted because through your programmes in the media and in various public outreach initiatives, you have mastered the art of educating young people about key social challenges such as HIV/Aids, child abuse, domestic abuse and drug abuse,” she said.
Not only for the young at heart
The Minister said while Soul Buddyz might be targeted at young people, the message has thoroughly penetrated through the minds of adults too.
“Soul City’s partnership with the SABC is what our people expect from a public broadcaster – world class local content that empowers communities daily.
“Today, parents are able to engage with their teenagers about contraception, sex, circumcision and love. Given the diversity of our country, addressing such topics was a challenge in our societies and the various customs and traditions that govern them.
“The success of your efforts is evident in how you’ve managed to bridge the lines of communicating with our people tactfully and empowering them in the process,” she said.
Minister Muthambi further said the partnership between the Soul City Institute and the Department of Basic Education is critical to ensure that the work continues and the set goals are achieved.
“This relationship has to go beyond just education on HIV and the lifestyle that young people lead. It must encourage the participation of the broader society in policy formulation, the direction of our country with regard to social welfare, education, justice and health. These are important aspects of child development and your contribution remains vital.
“In this congress today, we reaffirm your role as a key player in ensuring that as law makers, we are on the right track regarding enacting the right laws,” she said.
The Minister said the work done by the Soul Buddyz Club has ensured that young people have a space where they can be bold about their thoughts and their ideas, and can express themselves in a way that does not suppress their views in society.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS