16 JUNE ’21 | PRAY FOR OUR YOUTH
Dear prayer partners,
On 16 June, South Africans celebrate ‘Youth Day’ in commemoration of the ‘Soweto uprising’ of 1976 (this year is the 45th anniversary). Black South African school students in Soweto were protesting the Afrikaans Medium Decree of 1974, which forced all black schools to use Afrikaans and English in equal amounts as languages of instruction (Afrikaans was associated with apartheid and oppression). On 16 June 1976, about 20,000 students from Soweto began a protest march which continued for weeks. During fierce clashes with the police, 176 people (mainly students) were shot and killed (some estimate as many as 700), while about 1,000 people were injured, and property was destroyed. Youth have played a central role in protests in South Africa and across the world.
Almost 60% of Africa’s population is under the age of 25, making Africa the world’s youngest continent. African youth (UN defines as persons between the ages of 15 and 24) is often the most affected demographic in any country’s socio-economic and political development. Though youth of today face many challenges – including unemployment (South Africa’s official unemployment rate among youth [15-34 years] was 46,3% in the First Quarter of 2021), lack of education, violence, substance abuse, etc. – there are opportunities, which need to be fostered and harnessed since the youth are the future entrepreneurs and leaders. Hannah Hopper, Farai Mubaiwa, and Oshea Roopnarian have been chosen to represent the South African delegation at the G20 Youth 20 Summit in October 2021 (as the only representatives from Africa at this summit, these young people have committed to ensuring that the voices of the continent’s youth would be heard at the summit).
The words ‘youth’ or ‘millennial’ often has negative connotations, such as, “lazy, unambitious, entitled and technology-driven.” Though some of these descriptions may be true, by 2025 ‘millennials’ will make up 75% of the global workforce. According to a Barna study, ‘born-again’ millennials share their faith more than any other demographic today – 53% of millennials want their passions and talents to be used to their fullest potential and 64% of millennials said that it is a priority for them to make the world a better place. Psalm 78:4 (NIV) says: “…we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done.” As the body of Christ, we have a responsibility to equip and disciple the next generation, for the glory of God and the extension of His Kingdom. Paul valued and invested in the youth of the early Church. We can gather from Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 4:12 that Timothy was young, yet we read that he played an important role in the early Church. John also exhorts and encourages the youth in 1 John 2:14b “I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
Please join us in praying for our Youth.
“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends Your works to another; they tell of Your mighty acts.” Psalm 145:3-4 (NIV)
To find out more about how INcontext is involved in the Next Generation, please follow the link below: