Modern, Growing, Successful Province

National Pathfinder Youth Organization Meeting

In delivering this address, kindly allow me to reflect on the socio-political situation in Poland in 1983 when the country’s millions of oppressed workers finally stood up to their dictatorial masters to seize back their homeland and proclaim the Republic of Poland.

Air Force 1 Sage Low

The catalyst or the driving force, many historians believe, that sparked the people of Poland to reclaim control of the country was one Karol Jozef Wojtyla, better known as Pope John Paul II, who in 1983 delivered an address, which is simply known as “Speech to the Polish People.”

Pope John Paul II delivered his speech to 1 million pilgrims from the battlement of the Jasna Gora Monastery. A significant portion of the pilgrims comprised the Youth of Poland and, in effect, it was widely seen as giving voice, hope and inspiration to the people of Poland. An extract from the famous speech reads as follows;

“It is not, in fact, to be truly free without an honest and profound relationship with values. We do not want a Poland which costs us nothing. We watch, instead, beside all that makes up the authentic inheritance of the generations, seeking to enrich it. A nation, then, is first of all rich in its people. Rich in man. Rich in Youth. Rich in every individual who watches in the name of truth: it is truth, in fact, that gives form to love.”

Largely as a consequence of Pope John Paul II’s speech, martial law was lifted in July 1983 and after elections in August 1990, a coalition government was formed in December that year.

The role the church and the Youth of Poland played in democratising Polish society is globally acknowledged and the similarities with our own horrendous past cannot and must not go unnoticed or be forgotten.

Indeed, it was under the auspices of the South African Council of Churches, an umbrella body that incorporated various denominations, that waged a spiritual and just war against apartheid tyranny. And yes indeed, it was the youth of our country who propelled and gave impetus to the formation of a constitutional democracy in our beloved country.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is therefore quite apparent than an important Youth grouping such as the National Pathfinder Youth Organisation, by way of their projects and programmes, could making lasting contributions in deepening our democracy by:

* Practising non-racialism and non-sexism
* Engendering love for their environment, be it human, plant or animal life
* Practising tolerance(or in some instances restraint) of the views and opinions of others: be it religious, political or general.
* Taking heed of the instructive lessons from the scourge of the HIV and Aids pandemic;
* Educating themselves to be responsible and productive citizens; and
* Exercising compassion and empathy for the less fortunate and down-trodden in our midst.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is not an exhaustive list of values and I am sure that you can add to it during your deliberations. However I must remind you that we live in a constitutional democracy borne out of great pain and sacrifice. You, as the youth, have the onus of protecting the gains we have accomplished as a united nation. You have the responsibility of being good citizens and setting good examples for future generations. Above all you should embrace and put into practice the noble values that constitute a good human being.

In commending the work of the National Pathfinders Youth Organisation, I encourage you to further persevere with all the energy you have at your disposal to bring about a better country and a better world. You are well armed. You possess the arsenal, the vigour and the fortitude. You will not allow yourself to be seen or judged differently by future generations.

With these words, I thank you for having given me the opportunity to be here and share my thoughts with you. I leave this platform without any doubt in my mind or my heart that you are active agents of positive change. We will certainly draw inspiration from your good deeds.

I Thank You


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