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Declaration of the 21st National Congress of the ANC Youth League

5-8 April 2001, Mangaung, Freestate

The ideal of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, prosperous and democratic South Africa must be the guiding ideal of every young South African.


We, the delegates to the 21st National Congress of the ANC Youth League, declare that the struggle to: -

  • Build a united South Africa;
  • Deracialise South Africa towards a truly non-racial society;
  • Rid our society of gender oppression;
  • Democratise South Africa.
  • Ensure a better life for all.

is the mission of our generation.

We salute with pride the generations of youth before us, who have fought for an end to Apartheid rule. The 21st Congress remembers the youth of the ANC of the 40`s and 50`s; of Umkhonto weSizwe and the ANC Youth Section. We remember the students and youth of Soweto, who 25 years ago rose and set our country on a course of no return. We remember Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu and the young lions of the 80`s.

Learning from their example, we recommit ourselves as youth at the start of the African Century to: -

  • Fight against racism, sexism, xenophobia, tribalism and all forms of discrimination.
  • Take an active part in the political, social and economic life of our society;
  • Uphold the democratic values enshrined in the Constitution;
  • Work for a caring society that respects the human dignity of all;
  • Contribute to the unity of all South African people, black and white;
  • Work for the renaissance of Africa and for a just world order, for an end to poverty and war.

Congress re-affirmed the role of the ANCYL as: -

  • A mass political formation of South African youth;
  • A champion of youth interests in the ANC and in society;
  • A political school of young revolutionary democrats;
  • Adding organisational vibrancy and youthful political debate to the movement and in society;
  • The home of the best , most developed and disciplined youth committed to transformation;
  • A leader of the motive forces of the youth sector - the unemployed, working and professional youth, the rural youth, the student youth and young women;
  • A reliable ally of the progressive youth of the continent and the world.

The 21st National Congress, mindful of the enormous challenges facing our generation: the problems of unemployment, access to education, training, sports and recreation facilities, HIV/AIDS and other STDs, economic opportunities and finance; took bold decisions to
strengthen the capacity of the ANC Youth League as an agent for change by undertaking to: -

  • Build the mass character of the ANC Youth League and its leadership of the youth sector through campaigns aimed at mobilizing young people around their issues and as active participants in their own development.
  • Working tirelessly - using our position as the Youth League of the ruling party, our young representatives in government, lobbying and advocacy and through mass mobilization of the youth - to ensure that the instruments of the state at all levels are effectively utilized to ensure a better life for all young people.
  • Embark on programmes and campaigns to raise political and social consciousnes of youth and ensure their active participation in political institutions and processes of our society as a catalyst for change and transformation.
  • Build vibrant branches as centers of popular participation, information and activities for young people in communities; branches that mobilize and organize young people through programmes, projects and campaigns to address their problems and ensure that young people serve their communities and positively contribute to community renewal, reconstruction and development.
  • Expand its programme of political education, training and induction to ensure that this generation of youth knows the history of our country and our struggle and the challenges facing our communities, country, continent and the world today. This programme should be aimed at building youth activists and revolutionary cadres who are selfless in their service to the people.
  • Build the profile of the YL, communicating and popularising our programmes and policies amongst the youth; strengthen the voice and image of young people in our society and their capacity to contribute to debates and policy-making as we transform our society.
  • Unite and strengthen the youth sector - through the Progressive Youth Alliance, the South African Youth Council, the united front of youth - to ensure that the sector contributes to youth development, to nation-building and to the transformation of our society.
  • Build and strengthen the progressive youth movement on the continent and in the world.

The League 21st Congress adopted resolutions on a range of programmatic areas - on education and human resource development; economic transformation; transformation of the public service and criminal justice system; science and technology; sports, culture and recreation; rural development and environment and local government - which over the next three years, as we approach a decade since the breakthrough of 1994, will result in tangible improvements in the lives of all South Africa`s youth.

The 21st Congress noted with grave concern that our democratic government has not yet adopted a
National Youth Policy or the White paper on a National Youth Service programme. The ANCYL vows to use all means at its disposal to ensure that this situation is addressed as a matter of urgency, that our country acts on its commitment towards its youth and that government, the private sector and civil society implement the Youth Policy.

21st National Congress expressed its commitment to our national sovereignity as a country to pursue policies in the interest of our people, and call on youth to support government in its struggle against multinational companies for cheaper drugs and our right to use SA.com. We call on progressive youth of the world to rally in solidarity with South Africa and other developing countries on these issues.

21st Congress condemned the continued acts of racism, in particular the death of young Tshepo Matloga from the N Province, and vow to mobilise the youth in their mass in the national
Campaign against Racism, Sexism, Xhenophobia and other forms of discrimination.

We the delegates of this 21st National Congress, solemnly dedicate ourselves to build the ANC Youth League as Agent for Change of the youth, in the ongoing struggle for the radical transformation of South Africa. Ours is a generation at work for a better life. ANCYL - Uvuk`aymbambe! (Is this done?)