The President’s Award for active citizenship


PAward-Limpopo-1-600About 100-150 people from different backgrounds took part in the “20th year of democracy” workshop, which was held at Merensky High School in Tzaneen, Limpopo

The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment helps young South Africans realise their potential through developing their self-esteem, to become active citizens involved in improving their communities.

The workshop, themed “20th year of democracy – how can Award participants be involved in realising the National Development Plan through active citizenship?” was held at Merensky High School in Tzaneen, in Limpopo Province, and involved a face-to-face interactive question-and-answer session.

It aimed to raise awareness of the National Development Plan among school pupils; promote volunteerism; inspire and guide young people to address their communities’ needs; and create a networking platform for youngsters from different backgrounds.

PAward-Limpopo-2Goitse Konopi, assistant researcher at the National Planning Commission, delivered the key note address on the NDP and answered questions from the participantsGoitse Konopi, assistant researcher at the National Planning Commission, and Peter Tsheole, from the Department of Economic Development and Environmental Affairs, were on hand to answer audience members’ questions.

Konopi delivered the keynote address and outlined the National Development Plan (NDP), the broad aims of which are to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. According to the plan, South Africa can realise these goals by “drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society”.

Tsheole spoke about how implementing the NDP in line with caring for the environment is important.

“As the youth you are accountable for the environment you want to live in,” he said.

Martin Scholtz, chief executive officer for The President’s Award, said: “We are excited about giving the opportunity for young people in more rural parts of South Africa … to engage in discussion around active citizenship and its implications on the future development of this country.

“We need more young people to be actively involved in their communities and in their own development. The framework of the award programme does this in a very tangible way.”

PAward-Limpopo-3Willie Stevens, deputy principal of Merensky High School in Tzaneen, welcomed everyone to the workshop (Images: Ray Maota)Willie Stevens, deputy principal at the school, welcomed attendees, saying: “You will be confronted with choices in life and some will be good while some will be bad but the choice of being part of the President’s Award is one of the good ones you have already made.”


The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment celebrated 30 years of effective and sustained youth development in South Africa in 2013.

There are currently more than 15 000 active participants drawn from schools, community youth groups, residential youth facilities and correctional centres in the organisation’s programme.

The President’s Award encourages members to take up a new skill, participate in physical recreation, and embark on an “adventurous journey”.

Palesa Matuludi, project manager for The President’s Award, said young people should leave the workshop understanding active citizenship, to help make South Africa a better place.

The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment is open to all young South Africans aged 14 to 25, regardless of their financial status or background.