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    Conference Papers

    Youth are leaders of today, not just tomorrow

    Keynote Address by Joel Netshitenzhe  
    Executive Director: Mapungubwe Institute (MISTRA) 
    08 June 2010 

    I should take this opportunity to congratulate the Mail & Guardian for a welcome initiative, in a systematic and creative manner, to raise the public prominence of what should, in any country, be the pride of a nation. By profiling young talent on an annual basis in this manner, [the] Mail & Guardian not only reminds us of the talent that our nation possesses; but it also affirms the enduring conviction that South Africa is bound to achieve even greater things.
    Xstrata, similarly, should be commended for partnering [the] Mail and Guardian in investing in the future.
    As to why I deserve this honour to have “brunch” with you—when others would break the bank to take you out to lunch—I leave to [the] Mail & Guardian and Xstrata to explain.
    When the invitation first hit my screen, I naturally had to ask myself, who are these Young South Africans and—wet behind the ears as they should be—what is it that I can teach them about life! I then took the trouble to page through previous editions of Mail & Guardian. Lo and behold, it emerged that most of you have, in barely three decades of your lives, achieved more than what I can hope to attain in a lifetime.
    And so, I have stepped off my pedestal and come rather to seek advice.
    The central question that I will pose in this discussion is: what should be done to ensure that young South Africans in general break free of the psychology of marginalisation?
    As you may not expect, I do not have answers to this question; and attached to it, I will pose a few riddles that you must help unlock for all South Africans. These issues arose in my mind because I noticed that we tend to refer to young talent in years gone by simply as “great figures”; and yet when it comes to such talent in the present, the qualification, “great young South Africans” comes into play.

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