Following our liberation struggle and the dawn of democracy in South Africa in 1994, the Government declared 16 June as a national holiday in honor of all the youth of South Africa who led the fight against apartheid and all forms of discrimination. National Youth Day signifies the commitment by the South African Government to prioritize its youth. This year marks the 36th anniversary of the 1976 Soweto Uprisings and the third anniversary of the establishment of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).
South Africa is one of the few countries in Africa that has an agency responsible for youth development, led by a Ministry in the highest office in the land, The Presidency. The NYDA was established under the NYDA Act, 2008 (Act 54 of 2008), with the mandate to initiate, design, coordinate, evaluate and monitor all programmes aimed at integrating the youth into the economy and society in general. The NYDA Act, 2008 gives the organisation a clear instruction to develop a National Youth Policy and an Integrated Youth Development Strategy and Plan for South Africa.
The National Youth Day commemoration event and Youth Month are organized by the NYDA. This government agency is mandated to lead the development and upliftment of young people and is another demonstration of government's commitment to its youth. The NYDA enhances the participation of young people in the economy through targeted and integrated programmes with the focus on career, skills, job and entrepreneurship development.
Youth Month will be commemorated and celebrated under the theme: "Together We Can Do More to Build Infrastructure and Fight Youth Unemployment, Poverty and Inequality" which includes a sub theme of "Youth Uniting for Economic Freedom". Various activities are planned, including the Youth Day celebrations in Eastern Cape on 16 June 2012 to be officiated by the President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Jacob Zuma. Government calls on the business sector to invest more in the youth and prioritize them for skills development, employment and procurement opportunities. Youth Month will be used to communicate this message.