Beacon Hill Valedictory: a future built on opportunity
[The following is a speech extract of a speech delivered by Minister Albert Fritz on Thursday 23 October 2014, at the Valedictory ceremony of Beacon Hill High School, held in Mitchells Plain.]
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,
I am constantly amazed at the energy, excitement and sense of promise which I get when talking to young people. There is a lot of negative things said about our youth, and to see such positive development here today, leaves me with a sense of hope about our future.
Ladies and gentlemen as a Minister, and as a dad, I hold young people in high regard. You are the future of this country, and it is your creativity and energy mixed with open opportunities for you, that will take South Africa to the next level.
Many in my age group did not experience such opportunities in our youth, as our challenge was a different one.
In my day we had to give up the benefits of our youth to tackle an Apartheid regime which was purposefully designed to limit our prospects as young people. So I understand the pain and frustration that comes with being a young person with limited opportunities.
That is why when I see you young people sitting here today; I am genuinely overcome with emotion, and I am happy. This is what South Africa was always meant to be, a land of opportunity and development of our youth!
Let me also say that, from this point onwards, life will be everything you make it to be! You have the power, the energy, the creativity, the will and if you work hard and enterprise, you will succeed.
Your relationships with other people, your community, with the private sector and government are important. It is good relationships and networks with other people that will be what help you achieve the goals you set yourselves in your careers going forward. Indeed some of you will be doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, artisans, nurses, social workers, criminologists and even entrepreneurs – among the many career options.
Whatever career decision you take, we as government will support you.
The Western Cape government has committed itself to creating an enabling environment for young people to develop constructive, affirmative and sustainable relationships. Our aim is to achieve this while also providing opportunities for young people to build their knowledge, skills and abilities.
It is you who now have the opportunity to be a significant part in expanding the economy of the province, whether your decision is in studying further, starting your own businesses, finding an internship or job.
I have always held that your youth, if combined with opportunity, is a gateway to prosperity; and there are many young people in this province, like you, who are ready to succeed.
When you have the time, I encourage you all to pop into our Youth Cafés – there’s one here in Mitchells Plain and at the Vangate Mall in Athlone. The Youth Cafés are proving to be a space that puts young people like you on a path to be pioneers in creating opportunities not only for yourselves, but for others too.
Under the guidance and mentorship of the R-Labs leadership (our NGO partners), young people at these facilities have the chance to tap into a world of technology, innovation and ground-breaking thinking.
And it doesn’t just stop there. There are plenty more youth empowerment opportunities from the provincial government such as the EPWP Programme, the Premiers PAYE Project, the Chrysalis Youth Academy, our various internship programmes and bursaries. For those of you on Twitter, you can follow @WesternCapeGov to find out more.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have made these spaces and initiatives available, but it is you, our young people, who have to participate and contribute in order to really benefit.
That is what we mean as government with our approach of “Better Together”.
In concluding ladies and gentlemen, allow me to wish you all the best of luck with your final exams, and wish you well in whatever you do going into the future.
Minister Albert Fritz
083 307 0192
Spokesperson for Albert Fritz, Minister of Social Developement
Western Cape Government
7th floor, 14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8000
Tel : (021) 483 9217
Cell : 083 280 9199
Email : Sihle.Ngobese@westerncape.gov.za