Minister Mbombo's Address at the Youth Day Celebrations in Mitchells Plain
Speech delivered by the Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport Dr Nomafrench Mbombo at the Youth Day Celebrations, hosted by Provincial Women and Girls’ Committee of the Western Cape Sport Confederation, in Mitchells Plain on 16 June 2014.
"Honour the Class of ’76 by Owning your Future"
It gives me such great pleasure to be here with you this morning, and to come see the wonderful work that is being done by our partners: Disability Sport Western Cape and the Provincial Women and Girls Sports Committee.
DCAS values the partnerships that it has made with these organisations in ensuring that we provide ample opportunity and access to previously marginalised members of our society.
Many people don’t understand the true value of sport, not only in our personal relationships with others but also in the country as a whole.
On Thursday, Brazil opened its doors to the world as they kicked off the Soccer World Cup.
We can see how sport has a global reach.
People from around the world will be sitting in their living rooms, in different sports bars, in classrooms and community halls watching world champions battle it out for the big title.
Not so long ago, South Africa played host to the world for the very same sporting event.
We saw the true magic that exists in each and everyone of us that year.
South Africa united and rallied around our boys and played the most gracious hosts the world has ever seen.
Just as we had seen during Tat’uMadiba’s time in 1995, during the Rugby World Cup, our people showed true spirit and passion.
The world thought we would never be ready in time to host this magnanimous event, but we showed them what we can do.
We pulled it off, gracefully and efficiently.
In the process, we saw the role sport plays as a national unifier.
People from different walks of life, black and white, poor and rich, all rallied behind our boys and the brand that is South Africa.
That is why the work that is done by DCAS and our partners: Disability Sport Western Cape and the Provincial Women and Girls Sports Committee is so crucial.
We ensure that we develop and grow local talent so that young people from every corner of this country can rise to their full potential.
And so with that, I would like to thank our partners for the amazing work that they do on a daily basis.
This work is not glamorous. It does not generate instant gratification. But it makes a difference in the lives of the people you work with daily.
For that, we say: Nangomso.
When I woke up this morning, I was filled with an instant wave nostalgia.
It reminded me of that fateful day on June 16, 1976.
That day, South Africa was a battle ground for good and evil.
The evil that was the systematic oppression of black people and the good that was the resilience of those young people who took to the streets to fight an unjust system.
The world watched is absolute dismay while young people were gunned down, fighting for the right to choose, the right to learn and the freedom to associate.
In the end it became clear even to the architects of Apartheid that no one could keep the people of this country marginalised.
In the end, good triumphed and all the values that those young people fought for and ultimately died for are now embodied in our Constitution.
And today we recognise that fight.
Today, we pay tribute to those that lost their lives on that day.
Today we extend our deepest gratitude to the parents that lost their young ones and we say to them: Without the heroic actions of the children you raised, we wouldn’t be here today.
This day is about all those things.
June 16 is a historical landmark in this country
It symbolises the resilience of our country;
The courage of our people;
And the unshakable sense of wrong and right.
It also reminds us of the responsibility that we have as the custodians of that hard earned freedom.
Your freedom and the Constitution that we pride ourselves in today came at a high price: Blood was shed and lives were lost for it.
That is why we must all commit to guard these freedoms with our lives.
We must commit to use the opportunities that have now been afforded to us.
That is why organisations like our hosts today play such an important role in our society.
Not only do they nurture talent, they also ensure that we utilise the opportunities that we all have.
Now, young people the ball is in your court. Quite literally and figuratively.
We now live in a country where the colour of your skin does not determine where you end up in life.
We now pride ourselves with a country that embraces diversity
Sizingomba isifuba ngelizwe lethu that is governed by a Constitution that stipulates, categorically, that differently abled people may not be discriminated against,
South Africa is that magical place where women and girls can reach their highest potential.
Look at the Leader of the official opposition and the Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille- she is a formidable woman,
Look at the Mayor of Cape Town, Patrcia de Lille- another woman.
In the world of sports, women like Penny Heins and Natalie du Toit are known for their excellence as women in sports.
South Africa is not short of role models for young people.
South Africa is also not short of young people who are out there doing big things for themselves.
You too, can make a decision to honour the Class of 76 by working hard, rising above challenges before you and excelling in your different fields.
I thank you.