He added, “There’re a lot of problems that young people have; they need somebody to talk to, to listen to them, somebody that feels their frustrations and pain. And we can only do that if we avail ourselves to them and avail ourselves for their needs as well.”
The member of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottines) went on to say that the responsibility of accompanying youth people is not only for youth chaplains and Priests, but also to lay people who work with young people.
“We have lay people in our Dioceses that are working with the youth. We need such people, because the youth are crying in need of them, in need of Priests to be part of their growth,” the South African Catholic Bishop said.
He went on to highlight challenges young people face saying, “Some of the problems that the youth have is that they don't have people at home to listen to them, to counsel them, to give them encouragement. The chaplains could be those people. We need to put our efforts together in order to give support, to give hope, to re-energize the youth.”
Every June 16, South Africans honor young people who lost their lives in the 1976 Soweto Uprising, which saw hundreds of protestors, most of them students, lose their lives in the hands of the colonial administration.
The annual event that is also known as the International Day of the African Child (DAC) honors the youthful students who were protesting against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in school.
In the June 15 interview, the Local Ordinary of Queenstown Diocese told ACI Africa that many black South African youths still struggle to access education.
He said, “In my own province, some children struggle to get to school because there are no bridges or proper roads; they have to travel long distances to get to school. There is transport, but sometimes families have no means to pay for the transport.”
The 67-year-old South African Bishop expressed concern about the safety of the students who have to travel long distances to get to school, saying, “Many school learners become victims of road accidents. Just yesterday in Port St. John’s, about six school children died because of a truck that veered off the road and plowed on the learners.”
On June 14, students from the Ndamase Senior Primary School in Ngqeleni, Eastern Cape, were involved in a road accident that claimed the lives of six.