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​WITH Youth Month activities in full swing following official June 16 events, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation will also honour those who lost their lives in the fight for freedom, as well as help develop a new breed to follow in the footsteps of people like Nelson Mandela.

Foundation is helping grow tomorrow's leadersIn doing this, the foundation will launch its Youth Leadership Programme on 23 June at the Lenasia Civic Centre, south of Johannesburg.

Apart from honouring the youth who fought for democracy, a decent education and a dignified standard of living, the foundation has pledged to “continue recognising young people as catalysts of change and place their empowerment at the forefront” of its agenda.

According to Neeshan Balton, the foundation’s executive director, the programme aims to develop activism and leadership skills in young people, who will hopefully follow in the footsteps of leaders.

The Youth Leadership Programme is an attempt to bridge the gap between the past and the future by educating the youth about the history of the country and taking them to places of interest and importance. The foundation notes that the programme will be home to those with leadership potential, the ability to engage in serious and hearty discussions and those bold enough to be involved in social change and be brand ambassadors of non-racialism.

Balton says: “We believe that while there is a place for yearly celebrations, there is a greater need for long-term sustainable programmes to overcome the myriad of challenges that confront the youth of South Africa today.”

The deputy minister of science and technology, Derek Hanekom; the head of secretariat at the National Planning Commission, Kuben Naidoo; and the Beijing Olympics long-jump silver medallist, Khotso Mokoena, are all scheduled to speak at the launch of the programme.

Hanekom will speak about his journey of growth through leadership positions as well as what the role of a young leader entails. Naidoo is expected to tackle the challenges faced by young people and the lack of leadership skills in the current political space needed for the future, while Mokoena will talk about leadership, its role in sports and the importance of nurturing today’s young leaders.

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