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27/07/2018

The waves of change in South African society and the higher education sector in recent years have necessitated deep reflection and introspection on the content and pace of transformation. Young people have been key participants and contributors to conversations around the deepening of transformation in the country and sector, as witnessed during the campaigns for access, transformation and decolonisation in the last few years.

In a concerted bid to elevate and make the youth voice a more prominent contributor to policy, Nelson Mandela University is launching the Annual Nelson Mandela Convention for Youth Development, spearheaded by the Student Governance and Development directorate under the Dean of Students.

The convention, which will take place over three days (30 July – 1 August) under the theme Living in the Age and Hope of Madiba, will zoom in on issues relating to education, leadership, employability, entrepreneurship and health and wellness.

Dean of Students Luthando Jack says: “Young people in their various forms of diversity constitute an important stratum in our society and are the future leaders and inheritors of our country. Nelson Mandela University believed that there is need for a sustained focus and discourse on the needs, challenges, aspirations and visions of young people.”

This, he adds, through facilitating generational and intergenerational dialogues on Nelson Mandela and youth development, and generating and propagating ideas and knowledge for youth development through mobilizing and activating young people to be the centre of this enterprise.

The convention bodes well with the University’s belief that “higher education plays a major role in the development of a vibrant society and is key to delivering the knowledge requirements for development that will enhance the quality of life for all citizens”.

The University set itself a compelling vision of becoming a dynamic, African university recognised for its leadership in generating cutting-edge knowledge for a sustainable future and as such, the convention seeks to focus on lasting solutions to identified youth challenges.

It is expected to yield broad outcomes, including the development of a youth development index for annual publication to reflect progress made and the establishment and sustenance of a youth research laboratory on youth development theory and practices.

The convention aims to create and sustain a network of private, public or civic organisations and individuals that play in the youth development space, which should be connected to youth and be activated to support the ideas and projects of young people towards their own development.

“Part of this would be highlighting opportunities available for young people in an array of areas,” says Luthando Jack.

The convention will be the first annual dialogue with a specific focus on youth development, and is targeted primarily students and young people who are active in the youth development arena. 

It seeks to look at some of the major policy towards youth development are, such as the African Youth Charter, Africa Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, South Africa’s National Youth Policy and the Eastern Cape Youth Development Strategy.

Some of the main speakers include Eastern Cape MEC: Finance, Economic Development, Environment and Tourism; former finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, political analysts Prince Mashele and Prof Somadoda Fikeni and Dr Themba Masondo.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777
Zandile.Mbabela@mandela.ac.za