'South Africa's Promise' offers solutions to challenges facing our youth

JOHANNESBURG - On the back of celebrating youth month in June, reading South Africa’s Promise – a book by Muzi Kuzwayo, I found myself back on the train of feeling for the despondent youth voices crying out to government to do something about unemployment, poverty and equal opportunities.

The book is loaded with ideas and solution to the crisis faced by South Africa’s youth and country at large. It is a mini manual for the new heroes and heroines that South Africa needs, to rebuild what was once a promise land to many African countries – alive with possibilities. It is filled with philosophies, told by a Sage, looking back in history as to what policies worked then and why they can’t work now, or how certain philosophies can be amended to fit the needs of this generation. And of course, it shakes up the youth to take charge and be interested in knowing and understanding the Constitution and politics in their country.

As I was reading, I kept nodding my head in agreement to some of the solutions written in the book for our beloved country, but I couldn’t resist being taken aback by the reality of many young people in South Africa, who year and in year out continue to lose hope and motivation to even continue school. Years ago, I remember watching a show dedicated to the youth when a young person in the crowd asked a very compelling question about when young people will start being employed on merit in government and positions and not because they have been involved in a party or the struggle. I don’t even remember what the answer was from the panel but it wasn’t a promising one. But now after reading this book, the answer is definitely in this mini manual.

The Sage in South Africa’s Promise highlights the importance of change for a democratic county like ours, ‘Dinosaurs died out because they were unable to adapt to the changing world. The Cradle of Humankind was once tropical and lush but now it is grassland, change is a law of nature. The reason why South Africa has 25 million unemployed people and 30 million in poverty is because the leaders are unable to adapt their thinking to the changing world.’

But in honesty, given our current leaders at top positions, I don’t see that happening soon. I don’t even see them adapting to the demands of this generation that involves the vast use of the internet, Meta verse world and more. While on political podiums, we keep hearing leaders saying that the future is in the youth’s hands, I want to know how? When they are left behind in many ways that you can think of? Instead their hands are filled with empty promises.

If the recent incident in Scenery Park, East London, where 21 young people died at a tavern - most of whom under the age of 18 - while partying and consuming alcohol does not shake our country about keeping the young people gripped with activity through sport, art, culture and gaming, so that they don’t have to turn to alcohol at such an early age for entertainment, then we are far from achieving SA’s Promises as mentioned in Kuzwayo’s book.

And that is why I am so glad that this book is free to download, because solutions like these ones should be as free as our democracy. I hope, just as the copy landed on my hands, it finds its ways through to the Union Buildings on top of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s desk.