“The struggle for economic emancipation and economic freedom in this lifetime is undoubtedly the struggle that this generation of young people must commit their collective energies to,” African National Congress spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.
“It is young people that must drive the charge within the ANC and society in general to achieve a society based on universal human rights, equality and prosperity,” he said.
Mthembu said the ANC together with the rest of South African public would celebrate Youth Day on Sunday remembering the efforts of the youth of 1976.
“The gallant fighting spirit of young people on that day, will forever remain a reminder of the determination… and unrelenting stance taken by young people to forever change the course of the struggle of African people in South Africa,” he said.
He said the nation was forever indebted to generations of youth who fought the “tyranny” of apartheid during the darkest times of South African history.
Mthembu also praised the generations which preceded that of 1976, which included Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Anton Lembede. He described them as “midwives” of the ANC Youth League.
Mthembu said since the dawn of democracy in South Africa, the ANC had developed policies which were “unambiguously pro-poor” to lift people from poverty and unemployment.
“Young people, the future of our country, are free to belong to a trade union, political party or any other organised formation of their choice,” Mthembu said.
While much had been achieved, there still remained much more to be done, he said.
Mthembu also wished former president Mandela a speedy recovery in hospital.
“We …wish Madiba well whilst he is in hospital and call upon South Africans…to continue to keep him in their thoughts and prayers,” he said.
Mandela was admitted to a hospital in Pretoria last Saturday, for a recurring lung infection.
The presidency described Mandela’s condition as “serious, but stable”.
President Jacob Zuma, accompanied by ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize, visited the former president on Thursday.
“Madiba’s health continues to improve but his condition remains serious,” Zuma said in a statement issued afterwards. – Sapa