Youth Camp Message 2021

Programme Director

Boys and Girls

Ladies and Gentlemen

Youth Camp Facilitators

Management of the Duin in Die Weg

Representatives from the NYDA

Dept of Sport , Arts and Culture Staff

Good Afternoon , Goeie Middag , Dumelang , Molweni

It is my privilege to address you this evening at this youth camp. The youth camp is a national initiative that stems from the National department of sport and recreation.

The youth camp is a forum for you to engage with each other.  All of you come from different parts of the province after having been chosen for the provincial youth camps in your area.

After this week we want you to go away having learnt new values , having made new friends and also having gained an appreciation and understanding of our nation and be willing to be an ambassador to foster and encourage nation building, social inclusion, and be willing to contribute positively in your community and, by extension, South Africa.


We are also meeting here this week in the midst of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign against Gender Based Violence , World Aids Day and Reconciliation Month, and just yesterday we commemorated International Day of Persons with Disabilities . So December is indeed a significant month and not just a month of Festivities, or as they say “Ke December or Big Days


I therefore hope, they during the course of the week , we utilize this platform and gathering of youth to discuss the important role they play in society in the fight against the abuse and acts of violence against women and girls , social cohesion and nation building as well as the equal treatment for persons with disabilities.

Part of the conversations must be about the constructive engagement of boy children and men; and reawakening of their consciousness in the negative role they play in perpetuating gender based violence. I will therefore be delighted that at the Youth Camp we will be engaging on patriarchy and the scourge of GBV and Femicide and the need for the youth to be at the forefront in fighting this pandemic.

Today I basically want to engage with you around three topics ,

1.   Alcohol and Substance Abuse

2.   The importance of Education

3.   Branding Yourself   and if I say branding yourself I do not mean with tattoos .

We are now so pre occupied with COVID 19 and all the strains , that we are letting our guards down against all the social ills in society , which includes the abuse of alcohol and drugs.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse in South Africa remains a leading cause of crime , poverty , reduced productivity , dysfunctional family and community life.  It is escalating chronic diseases such as AIDS and related health factors , injury and premature death.

Drugs, Alcohol and Substance Abuse are in essence a counter-revolutionary feature, which if not curbed in society, could reverse the gains of our democratic dispensation and progress.

It does not require rocket science to notice the extent at which the abuse of drugs, alcohol and substances negatively impacts on the struggle to politically and economically emancipate the black majority and Africans in particular in our construction of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and united South Africa.

Basically drugs and alcohol abuse is “frying the brains “ of young South Africans . They are no longer able to think reasonably and all their actions are done to feed their habits.

I have just briefly spoken around the abuse of alcohol and drugs and the detrimental effects it has on our society, secondly as mentioned there is one single challenge our youth are still facing which I think we need to engage about.

And that is Education. I know that the importance of education has been preached to you over and over again by your parents, educators, elders in the community and I am sure that you even speak about it amongst each other as friends. I also know that many of you seated here today , feels that government is failing you , which is not the case .

A lot has been achieved but a lot more must still to be done. Despite the government’s massive investment in education, we aware that there are still differences in the quality of education certain learners get in urban, semi urban and rural areas.

But what I can confidently say is that your plight for free quality and dynamic education until tertiary level is not going by unnoticed.

Education plays a great role in the life of everyone all through the life.

The more knowledge we get, we grow and develop more in the life. Being well educated never only means to earn certificates and good salary from government and reputed companies or institutions however it also means to be a good and social person in the life.

We are incomplete without a good education because education makes us right thinkers and correct decision makers. In such a competitive world, education has become a necessity for human beings after food, clothe and shelter. It is able to provide solutions to all problems; it promotes good habits and awareness about the challenges we are faced with daily in our communities.

Education offers inner and outer strength to a person. It is the fundamental right of everyone and capable of bringing any desired change and upliftment in the human mind and society.

What I have learned to know, is that as young people, we all want to shine and be seen, sometimes for good things but mostly for the wrong reasons, now if I can give you one good reason to shine and be admired, is by hitting your books and you will be the talk of the town amongst your members of the family, community and country..

You cannot make a good image in the society and live a prosperous and happy life without being educated. It makes you able to maintain the healthy surroundings.

Ladies and Gentlemen

My third and final message to you today is “Brand Yourself “

You are already a brand and you already have a brand.


Let me quote Jeff Bezos , the founder of Amazon . Amazon is also a search engine such as Google. I don’t think there is anybody in this room who does not know Google .


Bezos once said “ Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room “  However ,  most people do little to build their brand brands. They go on with their life, working hard at school , excelling in sport , displaying brilliant drama performances and hoping someone will notice them. They may be talented, but they are not known.


You need to stand up and build a good brand that will transform your career.


I suppose many of you are now sitting thinking to yourselves or even whispering to each other, Is the MEC crazy ? , does she think we are a brand of soap powder or a clothing brand. You may even be sitting and thinking that the principles of marketing does not apply to you.


That is most probably true , but only among your family and close friends. They know you and appreciate your many facets. But my question to you is “Do those who do not spend time with you , Know You ?


Ladies and Gentlemen


In order for you to build your brand you need a few pillars such as :


1. Family foundations: respect your parents. Listen to your elders Today I reflect on the nuggets of information my parents shared with me. I didn't understand all that they were  trying to teach me but I now know that today I am the person , that I am because of  them. Respect your elders and value their teachings.

2. Education and training: education and training as mentioned impact on your ability to find work and also define your level of income that you will enjoy one day. You need to equip yourself with education and training in order to be able to chart your own future. Nowadays you can study anything you want.

3. Identity your values and belonging :  Your values are what  people believe in you. They are evident in the way you do things. Values can range from a belief in hard work or punctuality to deeper principles such as self reliance or concern for others .A positive sense of self is rooted in a sense of identity and belonging.

4. Utilize opportunities: it is important that you take advantage of opportunities that are offered. By attending the various youth camps you are now indeed taking advantage of these opportunities.

Lastly I would like you to do the following in order for you to discover yourself on this life long journey by

Finding out what is your talents;
Finding out what is your values;


But most importantly finding out , how  can you serve your community , instead of the community serving you.


With those words , I thank you.




Mail Us

Department of Sport, Arts and Culture
Mervin Erlank Sports Precinct
10 Recreation Road
Private Bag X 5004

Contact Details

Contact telephone numbers
Tel:  066-489 9256. 
Fax: 053 807 4600
Email address: