As South Africa’s national calendar reaches its unequivocal journey towards another month, namely June, we dub-step towards the auspicious June 16, Youth Day commemoration.

Youth Day brings with it a kaleidoscope of emotions. The youth-led action changed the paintings on the walls of education and human rights within the classrooms of South Africa’s historical evolution. Yes! We celebrate it!

This hunger for opportunity fuelled a change in the South Africa we live in today. A change regarding every person’s right to contribute to this country, and beyond, through applied study. As the future falls into the digitally savvy laps of our maturing young adults, we are led to ask the questions; What fuels the fire of passion in our youth today? What will they manifest for our collective future? What does this digital age offer our youth, that will benefit us – our country – our world, going forward?

Is it purely fast access to instant information or money, social interaction and instant gratification? We have to hope that there is also a hunger to make a difference, to create lasting solutions towards the governance and sustainability of their communities, South Africa, and ultimately the world!

SAA is innovative and progressive in this field. The Youth Development Program offers just this type of insight and support, with leadership and internship programs, as well as a Cadet Pilot Training school. The door of opportunity is opened that much wider for youngsters looking for an entry point. The Internship program offers different options of between two to nine-month work experience contracts, to assist students in completing the hours necessary to finalize their studies, or to gain extra credits towards their studies. The leadership program provides structured training, focusing in two areas; cabin crew training and technical support, to give youngsters the competencies required to enter the professional airline world.

SAA, along with Wiphold and Partners, also provide career days at various schools focusing on children in grades eleven and twelve, advising them on the different career options available to them, and the correct focus of study. SAA’s Pilot Cadet Training program is aimed at the previously disadvantaged unemployed youth, as well as individuals who are finalizing their commercial pilot’s license [CPL].

Another upside to this era of information is the gift of sharing knowledge and data. The Breaking Down Borders African Youth Summit took place in South Africa from the 14th to the 18th May of this year. Youth leaders from across ten African countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana, Lesotho, Tanzania, Senegal, Zambia, and Zimbabwe attended. The summit theme for this year was African Youth-building our legacy. An appropriate theme for young go-getters hungry to make their voices heard.

This exciting continental collaboration brought together passionate artists, writers, speakers and philanthropists from the youth’s greatest thinkers, in order to help inspire one another, to share their concerns, to co-create and set into motion new projects, plans and ideas, for the future they want to see. A powerful cultural exchange, that hopefully will be opening doors for a greater tomorrow of limitless functional possibilities, in the years to come.

What an exciting time for these young go-getters, with the digital savvy and the voice to back it up, to make the changes the world needs. Let us join hands in the collaboration of educating our future thought leaders and change makers. May our youth reach for the stars, keep their locally made sassily designed, digitally marketed, trending sneakered feet close to the ground, never far from their country and heart.

We at SAA celebrate and honor the legacy of positive thinkers, and change.

Happy Youth Day from all of us at SAA.