16 June 2020
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has called on young people to contribute in the fight against a new generational enemy: the deadly corona virus that has unleashed the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe, cutting short hundreds of thousands of lives, and changing those that remain, forever.
FEDUSA’s call is in line with this year’s National Youth Day Theme: “Youth Power: Growing South Africa Together in the Period of COVID-19”; which clearly recognises that young people have the energy and power to grapple with challenges and circumstances that deeply affect their lives and build of out it, something deeply valuable for future generations. Hopefully it will also be a future in which a vaccine against the virus has been found, call it the ‘’COVID-19 Vaccine””.
With such a vaccine still hiding somewhere in the future, the first line of defence against the pandemic; and one in which FEDUSA is calling the youth to play their part, is the wearing of personal protective equipment such as face masks and the consistent compliance with the social distancing protocols that have been announced by health authorities in order to curb the spread of the virus.
From a practical perspectives young people can successfully complete such an assignment by first carefully educating themselves about the health and hygienic reasons for wearing face masks, constantly washing hands and avoiding touching their faces; and keeping the appropriate social distances all the time; and second, by patiently explaining to their peers why such behavioural changes are necessary and vital for saving lives.
In the context of places where young people are having to gather in large numbers in the middle of the pandemic such as classrooms for Grade 7 and Matric pupils since schools re-opened on Monday , the Department of Basic Education has to complement young people’s own efforts by urgently addressing serious infrastructural problems like the lack of assessable potable water , toilets and other sanitation facilities in poor schools; in addition to building up its psychology services capacities as young people are also having to deal with deep emotional traumas on top of normal school work.
FEDUSA Gender and Social Justice Vice President Dorothy Ndhlovu said it is also important the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on young people:
“This includes young people working on the COVID-19 frontline as health workers, researchers, activists and so on that are making sure that contributions by the youth are part of the solutions towards a healthier, safer and gender-equal world,” Ndhlovu said.
For interviews please contact:
Ms Dorothy Ndhlovu
FEDUSA Vice President: Gender and Social Justice
076 424 8747
Ms Riefdah Ajam
FEDUSA General Secretary
079 696 2626
FEDUSA Media and Research Officer
072 637 8096