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An informed society is one where citizens have the resources, education and skills to access and participate in the free flow of reliable and useful information through a diverse range of platforms that empower them to make considered decisions about their social, economic and political lives. However, to have an informed society what is required is to ensure that the right balance of information and factual realities is provided to the public. One of the challenges to ensuring an informed society through impactful, quality engagement is the use of hate speech and polarized narratives that seek to ensure confusion and wreak havoc within society. This allows a foundation for fake news to be perceived as the reality, making it difficult to ensure trustworthiness and build tolerance amongst people within the community.

This requires a change in perspective to move towards ensuring active citizenship that is informed and capable of being critical on issues while being solution-driven. There is a need to move towards a society that enshrines the value of Ubuntu (Umntu ngumntu ngabantu) and embraces diversity while ensuring that the transformation of society is a reality.

If we are to ensure adequate youth development, we ought to be knowledgeable and able to articulate their lived realities while providing possible solutions to the problem that confronts them. The youth needs to take the centre stage in being advocates for quality engagements that promote impactful engagement. It must be noted that this does not remove from the radical nature and the impatience that youth ought to have as advocates for change, moreover, their radical nature ought to be informed through ensuring robust engagements which are quality and informed by factual and realistic matters.

Universities as the microcosm of society, have the responsibility to play an active role in the development of youth as future leaders, who are critical thinkers and innovative. Institutions of higher education are along with communities the spaces that shape the intellect of the young people and allow them to educate and promote active citizenship within their communities and the greater society.

 

Panellists:

Itumelang Mothlabane (F) – Head of Equal Education Eastern Cape

Focus Area: ensuring active citizenship through youth development

Awethu Fityela (F) – Transformation Officer Stellenbosch University (Nelson Mandela University Alumni)

Focus Area: Promotion of an ethical society in ensuring a conscious society

Thabo Shingange (M) – Former SAUS Spokesperson

Focus Area: Role of universities as being in service to society in renewing engagement

Facilitator:

Amandla “Max” Didiza

 

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