Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams on Saturday encouraged young people to have an interest in technology and social media.
Addressing young people in Mfundisweni in Ntabankulu in the Eastern Cape, Ndabeni-Abrahams said technology and social media can improve their lives for the better and in that regard they didn’t need to go to Gauteng for better opportunities.
“You can start your own business and market your products all over the country using social media. All you need is a computer or a cellphone and to get connected to internet.
“You also need to open a bank account at your nearest Post Office so people (you working with) will deposit money in your account,” the Minister said.
Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams encouraged young people to use the internet to their advantage.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is taking over and therefore you need to take advantage of it to improve your lives,” the Minister said.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution brings about disruptions to digital technology across industries. This will bring new scope in all economic sectors such as the job market of the future, skills development and education of the workplace.
It will also give countries a unique opportunity to address youth unemployment by adapting the education models to catalyse innovation and upskill youth for digital transformation.
Youth encouraged to be entrepreneurs
Also speaking was Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor who encouraged young people to be entrepreneurs.
Pandor told the young people, who came out in their numbers to interact with the various exhibitors on site, that they could also consider furthering their studies at the various colleges throughout the country.
“You can follow a career path from the various courses offered at the colleges,” the Minister said, adding that the country needs more engineers, welders and plumbers.
“As government we realised that most students lack money to further their studies, government is now assisting needy students by offering them bursaries,” she said.
Pandor told the young people that it was up to them to decide where they want to further their studies.
Freedom Walk and Economic Opportunities Expo
Prior to addressing the youth and the local communities, Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams and Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana led a Freedom Walk and held an Economic Opportunities Expo.
The Freedom Walk and Economic Opportunities Expo commenced with a 3km walk leading into an economic opportunities exhibition centre where the community members interacted with participating organisations and received services on wheels.
The Freedom Walk and Economic Opportunities Expo is an annual programme conducted in collaboration with government departments and the private sector stakeholders to expose the youth, unemployed and entrepreneurs to a wide array of academic, career and business opportunities.
This year’s event in Ntabankulu is accordingly aligned to the commemoration of 25 years of freedom.
One of the participants in the Freedom Walk, Siphosethu Mkhwanazi told SAnews that he has not been working but after seeing all the opportunities available to him he now wants to start his own business in his community.
“Government is giving us opportunities to start our own businesses and become entrepreneurs so we can employ other young people who are unemployed,” he said.
Mkhwanazi said participating in the Freedom Walk has made him realised that there are many opportunities out there.
“We cannot all be employed, some of us must be entrepreneurs to employ others,” he said.
Echoing the same sentiments was Nkosinathi Mandlenkosi who said he was considering starting his own business.
“I am still thinking about the business I want to start, I have realised that there are many opportunities out there,” he said.
The Ntabankulu Freedom Walk and Economic Opportunities Expo has been preceded by a host of build-up programmes such as digital marketing, coding, 3D-printing, graphic design, domain-name-reselling, entrepreneurial skills development, media and elections training.
Government services for SASSA card beneficiaries and DTT set-top box registrations for qualifying households were also available.