Pretoria – A generation of young people who know who they are and where they are going – that is Deputy Minister Buti Manamela’s hope for today’s youth.
Manamela, who is the Deputy Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and Youth Development, said youth must take the lead in defining their own mission and ask hard, important questions to reach their goals.
“We need to ask important questions and challenge the status quo. If we don’t change the whole question of ownership and control of land and the economy, people will still feel that they are not liberated. We need to probe how certain things have not been done,” said Deputy Minister Manamela.
He threw this challenge to the youth during a wreath-laying ceremony at Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu’s grave in Mamelodi West Cemetery, as part of Mahlangu’s birthday celebrations.
Other officials present included the Deputy Ministers of Social Development Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu; Communications, Tandi Mahambehlala; Transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga and Justice and Correctional Services, Thabang Makwetla.
Born on 10 July 1956, Mahlangu was sentenced to death on 2 March 1978 and executed on 6 April 1979. He was the first young operative of uMkhonto Wesizwe to face the death sentence.
Deputy Minister Manamela said over the last 24 years, the blood of Mahlangu has nourished the tree of freedom.
“A lot has been done to improve the lives of millions and this progress should never be taken for granted. Government has committed to taking forward what Kalushi fought for.”
Speaking at the main programme held at Mahlangu’s home in Mamelodi West, Deputy Minister Makwetla said South Africans cannot talk about Solomon Mahlangu without asking themselves what they are doing to make people’s lives better.
“It is important that we remind ourselves of where we come from and what Solomon Mahlangu was about.”
Prince George Mahlangu, who spoke on behalf of Mahlangu’s family, thanked government for celebrating the day with the family, saying South Africans should embrace what Mahlangu stood for.
“He was brave and his bravery was not made by what he sought to get. To us, he is still alive and we will never forget the role he played. It is part of history. We will remain grounded because he was everything to us and the country.”
After the main programme, government officials were joined by young people from Gauteng to watch the Kalushi movie at Nu Metro cinema in Menlyn Mall.
The youth will later in the day engage in a dialogue to highlight the challenges they face, and what they have learned from the story of Solomon Mahlangu.