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South Africa

New PSA asks young people to demand that their leaders ratify Youth Charter

© UNICEF video
A frame from a new PSA produced to engage Africa’s young people regarding the importance of ratifying the African Youth Charter.
By David Koch

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 10 December 2008 – Thirty-six youth activists from 13 African countries have gathered in Johannesburg to mark today’s 60th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The group – joined by UNICEF Regional Ambassador Yvonne Chaka Chaka and UNICEF Advocate for Youth and South African television and radio personality Kabelo “KB” Ngakane – also calls on African leaders to protect the rights of young people by ratifying the African Youth Charter.

A new Charter for all Africa’s young people

In the spirit of the historic Universal Declaration, the new Charter was drafted by the African Union – with input from young people across the continent – and endorsed by African leaders in July 2006. The document defines youth as everyone between 15 and 35 years of age and, once ratified by 15 of the African Union’s 53 members, will be legally binding. The Charter sets out to address young people’s rights to a livelihood, to participate in decision-making, to live in peace and security, and to be respected.

Eleven governments have ratified the Charter to date, but across the continent the rights of young people continue to be either unmet or outright violated:

  • The majority of youth, who make up more than half of Africa’s population, live in extreme poverty with an estimated 60 million surviving on less than one dollar a day.
  • The majority of young people have few opportunities for employment and decent work to fulfil their dreams and aspirations.
  • Many young people continue to be forced into armed conflict.

Clearly there is urgent need to engage young people in encouraging African leaders to ensure ratification so that their rights are realized and protected.

Hip-hop beats encourage participation

To rally young people around the Charter – and encourage their leaders to ratify it – a new public service campaign was launched by the AU, UNICEF and Speak Africa. The 30-second spot, produced by the Johannesburg production house Jungle Works, features words, music and attitude from some of South Africa’s top hip-hop talent: DJs Kenzhero and Papercutt, along with writer, poet and actor Kabomo.

Speak Africa is a movement of young Africans using media, art, culture and other forms of dialogue to express themselves and exchange ideas as informed and active citizens.

The PSA is available to all broadcasters across the African Union in Arabic, English, French and Portuguese.




Watch the new hip-hop infused PSA featuring some of South Africa’s top talent.
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