The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has called on the youth to reflect on the meaning of Freedom Day, which is being commemorated today.
“Young people must continue to reflect on what freedom means to us and whether the sacrifice of young freedom fighters such as Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu, Andrew Zondo, Tsietsi Mashinini and many others have yielded the desired results for our youth,” said NYDA Chairperson Sifiso Mtsweni.
Mtsweni’s comments come as South Africa today marks the 24th anniversary of democracy.
Known as Freedom Day and observed on the 27th of April every year, the day commemorates the first time all South Africans of legal age, across the colour spectrum, voted in the country’s first democratic general elections.
The NYDA joined the nation in the celebrations, urging all South Africans to celebrate this day by recommitting themselves to the values of goodwill and sacrifice.
“Like Tata Nelson Mandela, our desire to do good for others and giving our time in service of our country should be the driving force of our lives,” said the NYDA.
Meanwhile, the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) said democratic South Africa has made progress in addressing gender oppression and inequality.
“The CGE believes that progress has been made by the South African government towards a society free of gender oppression and inequality. The South African Constitution by design embraces the principle of gender equality, various legislative frameworks and international protocols and conventions have been signed in an attempt to advance the realisation of gender equality.”
The CGE noted with admiration the number of women representatives in the National Assembly, provincial and local governments.
“We have also seen various political parties embracing the quota system, including the ruling party. The commission has observed the high number of girls going to school and graduating on top of their classes with degrees. It is also very critical to note that South Africa has lots of women Ministers and Deputy Ministers.”
The commission said various boards and government departments have women in positions that can influence the policy direction of their respective institutions.
The CGE said despite the achievements South Africa has made, several challenges still persist.
“Despite the glowing achievements as a country, we still have challenges that, if not addressed, will hamper the progress that freedom has brought us. We still have girls who cannot go to school because of lack of sanitary pads. There is also patriarchy that still rears its ugly head in society,” said the CGE, adding that the country still experiences high levels of gender based violence and femicide.