As part of commemorating the month of July which is largely associated with our namesake, Nelson Mandela, we hosted our second Annual Nelson Mandela Youth Development Convention on the 30 and 31 July 2019. The inaugural youth convention was in 2018 and formed part of the centenary celebrations of the life and times of Nelson Mandela.

The primary purpose of the youth convention is to engender intergenerational dialogue on progress and challenges in the area of youth development. It is a discursive platform and on the basis of evidence and knowledge, aimed at influencing policy and strategy to accelerating youth development as well as activating young people as agents of their own development.

The focus of the second convention was on the road traversed over the last 25 years of democracy concerning youth development and on pathways to accelerate youth inclusion in the next 25 years.  This broad strategic theme was useful in setting a frame for discussions.

The convention featured among its key speakers, former President Kgalema Motlanthe who was also announced as the Patron of the Youth Convention.

Our major premise that we believe in as the university, is that young people have a  native agency to be their own liberators and they can fashion the necessary socio-political and economic programme that will overturn the fortunes of their generation. The convention is among others, a great platform to cultivate and sharpen this agency. 

A call was made for deliberate efforts to establish conscientious youth communities that will in turn promote and buttress the cultivation and sustenance of a culture of intellectualism. To this end, this should be done to build cadreship as envisioned by one African intellectual, Fanon, who proclaimed, "each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfil it, or betray it"

It is, as a matter of emphasis necessary to restate our conviction that as human beings our collective destiny should be our humanity.  There may however, be differences in terms of the maps we use to get there.  A variety of strategies and tactics may be applied, but it is necessary to underscore that the ultimate destination is a society that qualitatively values humanity.

The future will belong to those who choose to go beyond the classroom to champion their own development, who will not only invest in the quality of their interpersonal skills, but will also cultivate their strategic, anticipatory, partnership building, critical, entrepreneurial and creative skills. Our students need to appreciate the innovative possibilities that come with transdisciplinary learning.

The youth convention will continue to be a platform that connects our students with the real world and thus better preparing them to easily adapt and re-invent themselves as agile learners in a dynamic and unpredictable world.

Posted on 16 August 2019 15:26:25

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This platform serves as a reflective, discursive and connecting space between myself and the entire student community of our beloved university. Through this platform, we converse with our students and broader stakeholders on all matters of student life, wellbeing and development at Mandela University.

Luthando Jack, Dean of Students