Call for revitalised ANC Youth League to make a difference
Young people are at the centre of challenges facing communities and a revamped ANCYL must give rise to optimism.
This was the word from ANC NEC member and justice minister Ronald Lamola, who was invited by the ANC Eastern Cape to give a lecture on Friday on “building a strong progressive youth movement to lead youth struggles in SA”.
He said the future of the ANC was not guaranteed without an autonomous, vibrant and highly organised youth league.
The lecture was also a celebration of Robert Resha, a political dissident who served in the ANCYL
Resha was born in 1920.
Lamola said Resha was described in historical records as a brave, thoughtful, powerful orator, and a radical activist, a description that suited most firebrand leaders in the ANCYL.
It is the radicalism of Resha which should inspire those of us who live in post-apartheid SA not to massage the structural issues in our economy which reinforce both racial and class inequalities and worsen the landlessness of our people
“It is the radicalism of Resha which should inspire those of us who live in post-apartheid SA not to massage the structural issues in our economy which reinforce both racial and class inequalities and worsen the landlessness of our people,” Lamola said.
He said Resha had been an activist journalist and was mentioned along with the likes of John Tengo Jabavu, who published the first black-owned newspaper, Imvo Zabantsundu, in 1884.
Lamola also warned against believing fake news.
“One of the things which is becoming more apparent in the digital age is that false news is likely to spread six times faster than accurate news.
“We should be able to analyse what effect this has on the marginalised and poor who may inadvertently interact with and then act on the basis of false information.”
Lamola said the absence of a vibrant youth league had left a huge political vacuum in society.
He said challenges besieging communities had also been laid bare.
These included rising levels of poverty, unemployment, failure to afford tuition fees, inequality at the workplace and a lack of funding and market access for companies run by the youth.
“A revamped ANCYL must give rise to optimism for young people [to confront] these challenges, which if not tackled, have the potential to disrupt our journey of democracy,” Lamola said.
Communication minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said the youth of today should draw lessons and inspiration from Resha.
She said the lack of youth participation in the recent national elections could squarely be attributed to the non-existence of the youth league.
“The presence of the youth movement which historically has been the pacesetter in both ANC leadership choices and ANC policy choices is now difficult to be traced.”
Ndabeni-Abrahams said, like the youth league of Resha’s time, youngsters today should develop a radical programme.
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