DOD Youth Day Celebration
By: Cpl Ally Rakoma
On 22 June 2012, the Department of Defence (DOD) observed Youth Month to mark the 36th anniversary of the June 16 1976 Soweto uprisings by celebrating its young model citizens at the Thaba Tshwane Military Sports Grounds with the theme: “Entrenching our Democracy by Promoting Youth Cohesion through Discipline and Sport”.
Members of the military community and scores of local people came to celebrate with the SANDF’s elite groups of young soldiers drawn from the Military Skills Development System (MSDS) intake comprising all our four Services ( SA Army, SA Air Force, SA Navy and SA Military Health Service).
The day commenced with a guard of honour formed by the National Ceremonial
Guard, followed by a drill
Lt Gen V Ramlakan, the Surgeon General, was the Chief functionary at the event. Addressing the gathering said that throughout the month of June it was customary for nationwide celebrations to take place. “As the DOD we join in these celebrations to remind ourselves of where we come from as a people and where we are headed”.
He added that today’s youth must pride themselves on the fact that those who came before them laid the foundation that has seen the youth of our country playing an active role in determining their future. “Like the class of 76, find your space in making a difference in your workplaces, schools, homes and communities in order not to undermine the self-sacrifice made by the architects of our democracy”, he said.
In conclusion he wished the first Commander-in-Chief of the SANDF, Tata Nelson Mandela, a happy 94th birthday in advance. “The values that Madiba epitomises – dignity, grace, justice, tolerance and forgiveness - these are the values that the SANDF will always embrace”, he said.