On the 11th of September more than 200 Youth from various backgrounds and areas in the Western Cape, (high schools, universities, rural areas, disabilities, unemployed and working, various political parties and NGO’s) in the Western Cape, participated in a dialogue with Members of the National Parliament and selected government departments and civil society, to share their perspectives on the future of South Africa within sustainable development framework and the African Agenda 2063.
This dialogue served as a reminder from young people to our country’s delegates attending the United Nations General Assembly in September where the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be announced, to prioritize and incorporate the aspirations of youth in their position in taking the nation and continent forward.
During the event Mr S. Matsebe from the Department of International Relations (DIRCO) was the master of ceremony where he welcomed everyone and he briefly emphasised on the importance of gatherings of this nature. To understand clearly, the transition from Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Namhla Mniki director of African Monitor presented the process to the youth and how the Open Working Group came up with the 17 proposed goals to be adopted in a few weeks in New York.
The main speaker of the day, Honorable Bongani M. Mkongi Member of Parliament under Trade and Industry then followed with his speech on the role of young people in the 21st century. He spoke on a number of roles and responsibilities that young people need to take and largely encouraged them that they should allow themselves as energizing, dynamic and robust forces of society to explode in inquiry and be able to ask difficult questions to the older generation to promote youth leadership, transparency, accountability and better governance. He also reiterated that young people must not expect the revolution to come from the government; instead it must come from them and cited the example of the ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ students at University of Cape Town and the Open Stellenbosch Movement of Students at the Stellenbosch University
Many questions were raised by young people and engaged in discussion with the Honorable Member of Parliament around the issues which are affecting them. They also asked how these issues can be prioritised and incorporated in the post 2015 framework by the South African Government. There was also a strong request from the young people that these dialogues should become an annual event for young people to engage with members of parliament.
The youth were then divided into groups were they discussed on the five key priorities that came out of the Voice Africa’s Future Campaign with the intention of including their group inputs in the final declaration that was then read and handed over to the Member of Parliament.
To conclude the dialogue the youth present took this opportunity to officially nominate Honorable Mkongi as Parliament Youth Champion on SDG’s. As a young parliamentarian the youth would like the Honorable to their plights on various national, continental and international platforms.
For More Pictures Click here.
To view the Final Declaration Click here.