My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. Tell my people that I love them and that they must continue the fight.Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu, 6 April 1979
In its quest to address the challenge of youth unemployment, access to education, among many other challenges, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) changed its core business to focus on education and skills development as the organisation’s main priority. This move was informed by studies which suggested that salary remained the main source of income for young South Africans.
To support this new strategic focus, the NYDA established the Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund (SMSF). The fund seeks to create industrialists as an investment towards youth empowerment. The purpose of this fund is to avail financial support to youth to enable them to pursue quality education in an institution of higher learning with youth in rural areas as primary target.
The scholarship fund was established in honour of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu who at the age of 23, was executed under the apartheid laws after being wrongfully accused of murder and terrorism. Fearing crowd reaction at the funeral, police decided to bury Mahlangu in Atteridgeville, Pretoria.
The scholarship fund is designed to create an environment for affording marginalized youth with excellent academic background, an opportunity to further their studies. Financial support will be provided to youth who pursue full time degrees that fall within the priority growth sectors, critical and scarce skills areas outlined in the labor planning frameworks of the country.
The fund will be accessible to deserving South African youth who meet the minimum entry requirements set by the NYDA.
The National Youth Development Agency
The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) is a South African-based agency established primarily to tackle challenges that the nation’s youth are faced with. The NYDA was established by an Act of parliament, Act no 54 of 2008. The institution was established to be a single, unitary structure, established to address youth development issues at National, Provincial and Local government level. The existence of the NYDA should be located within the broad context of South Africa’s development dynamics. Similar to many developing countries, South Africa has a large population of youth, those between the ages 14-35 represent 42% of the total population. Given the youthful nature of the South African population much of the socio-economic challenges faced by the nation, i.e. poverty, inequality and joblessness, poor health, etc, are borne by the youth. The gravity of challenges South Africa is faced with, require multi-pronged efforts, that simultaneously promote the development of sustainable livelihoods, reduce poverty, inequality and prioritise the development of policies which create an enabling environment for youth development.