Keynote Address to the Youth Camp October 2014
Mr. Programme director, Mr.Cornelius Malgas, Mr. Adams, Deputy Mayor of Witzenberg, Mr.Thabo Tutu, Mr. Ronald Gabriel,Ms Nicolette Pietersen, Mr. Solomon Asihel from UWC Ms. Nomzi from SRSA, boys and girls, ladies and gentleman, colleagues from the national and provincial sport and recreation departments, stewards, campers facilitators and management of Waterval and DCAS staff, good evening,
It is my privilege to address you this afternoon at this youth camp. The youth camp is a national initiative that stems from the National department of sport and recreation.
The youth camp is a forum for you to engage with each other. All of you come from different parts of the province after having been chosen for the regional youth camps in your area.
After this week we want you to go away having learnt new values , having made new friends and also having gained an appreciation and understanding of our nation and be willing to be an ambassador to foster and encourage nation building, social inclusion, and be willing to contribute positively in your community and, by extension, South Africa.
You have all been born at the dawn of democracy in this country. It was a very exciting time in our country. In 1994 I was at university in my fourth year finishing my studies. It was the first time our family members and ourselves actually voted and participated in a democratic election. You now have the potential to fulfill the dreams of the architects of democracy. Opportunities have opened for all of you and we want you to seize these opportunities. There is a famous Latin saying : Carpe Diem : seize the day. make the most of it!
In order for you to live out Carpe Diem you need to have a few pillars such as :
1. Family foundations: respect your parents. Listen to your elders. I lost my father when I was in my early twenties and my mother a few years ago. Today I reflect on the nuggets of information they shared. I didn't understand all they were trying to teach me but I now know that today I am the person that I am because of them. Respect your elders and value their teachings.
2. Education and training: education and training impact on your ability to find work and also define your level of income that you will enjoy one day. You need to equip yourself with education and training in order to be able to chart your own future. Nowadays you can study anything you want. The Western Cape is rich with educational opportunities. You need to seize these opportunities. Let Carpe Diem be your motto.
In my first year at university I didn't have a bursary and I was forced to sleep on the floor in my friend’s room. The hard floor forced me to study hard and in the mid year exams I scored well and was offered a full bursary for the rest of the year. You need to apply yourself in order to seize the opportunity.
3. Economic opportunities : Productive adulthood requires participation in the labour market. In order to provide for yourself and your family it is important to seize economic opportunities. In order to do so you must equip yourself and then push yourself hard to get a job. I was unemployed once in my life for five months. In that period I learned that looking for a job is a job in itself. I woke up every day as if I was going to work so that I didn’t fall in the trap of sleeping late and then not being able to apply for jobs.
I was at the library door at 08:30 when it opened every day and I immediately applied for whatever job there was. Saturdays were my busiest day as all the jobs are normally advertised in the weekend papers.
I also leant how important it was to offer your time to organisations. Coach the local community sports team or offer to go read at old age homes or simply assist where you can.
The social networks that you build up will stand you in good stead later in life.
4. Identity and belonging : A positive sense of self is rooted in a sense of identity and belonging. It is important that you join clubs and societies in your community. Every one of you have an interest whether it be football, dancing, computers, netball or any other recreational activity. Join or form a neighbourhood club.
I joined my first sport club when I was 8. I played football, tennis and chess. Many of the guys I played with thirty years ago are still my friends today because we played together and grew up together. Once I joined the various clubs my world opened up as a teenager as I then began to know my fellow teens and adults. In fact it was with my former soccer coach that I attended a mass meeting with Mr. Nelson Mandela in April 1990 just after our beloved Madiba was released from prison.
5. Reconnection opportunities : it is important that you take advantage of opportunities that are offered. By attending the various youth camps you are now indeed taking advantage of these opportunities. contact local, provincial and national government offices in your area. find out what bursaries, internships and opportunities are available.
I lastly want to leave you with these thoughts:
Find out what is your passion;
Find out what you are living for ;
Find out how you can better society.
Seize the day! Seize the week that you are with us! Make Carpe Diem your motto
Advocate Lyndon Bouah