Dubbed the convention of the roaring young lions by proponents of youth development, the 2019 National Youth Conference lived to expectations as throngs of UAAC converged north of the country ‘s Capital at the K Motubatse Community Center, Kopanong, Soshanguve Ext 4 from 21 until 23 June 2019.  They were hosted by the church ‘s branch at the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (better known as Medunsa).

The conference was graced by the presence of UAAC Bishops Hlabangwana, Muzila and Maleho as well Superintendent Machaya and members of the National Executive Committee led by Chairperson Rev Nelufhangani.The National Women ‘s League led led by Jevrou Maluleke and Chief Inspector Ramalamula also supported their children in large numbers. The National Government was represented by  the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Honorable Ronald Lamola, who delivered a keynote address on Sunday, 23 June 2019.

Whilst the first service on Friday 21 June 2019 was mainly attended by the Gauteng Youth, one could have been forgiven for assuming that all the delegates were already there due to the exuberance of the service as the holy spirit clearly took control. The youth praised and worship the lord with aplomb as they waited the arrival of their counterparts from Mpumalanga, Free State, North West and Limpopo Provinces.

The electric atmosphere gained momentum when the youth from other Provinces arrived on Saturday morning led by Youth Chairperson, Mutakalo Mathoma and other members of the Youth Committee. Program directors had their hands full as they struggled to contain the highly jubilant youngsters singing “Vhahone Murena, ni so ngo vhilahela“.  Miss Muelelwa Mudau and Mr Thuso Mudau delivered moving sermons under the theme “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to GOD“. Reading from Romans 12:1, the duo had the audience eating from the palm of their hands and the sermon turned into a festival of ululations of approval and applause as the youth expressed appreciation. Miss Revision Nephambani added to an already electric atmosphere with a motivational talk worthy of inspiring any audience as she exhorted the youth to identify the purpose of their own lives and master their own destiny.

The afternoon service was crafted for seminar on entrepreneurship and Choir competition. Merrs Godfrey Tshibalo and Richard Rambau led the seminar. They both provided detailed accounts on how a young person can start won business and help in creating employment for others. As young entrepreneurs themsleves, Rambau and Tshibalo shared experiences of how they started their own businesses and drew attention of the youth to the stark difference between an employed person working for someone and an entrepreneur, both in terms of daily activities as well as advantages. The benefits or outcome of the session were immediately on display for everyone to see as many youth asked questions as well as sharing their own ambitions of becoming entrepreneurs.

The Director of Youth Development, Miss Mashudi Rambau led the career expo session and invited the youth to approach the Youth Development Department for further details and assistance with online applications, career choices and financial assistance.

As per the norm, a choir competition was staged for choirs to showcase their cumulative artistry skills. The competition had two songs, viz, own choice and one from the verse from which all the choirs had to compose. The judges had their work cut out as all the choirs performed beyond expectations. Phuthalushaka emerged victorious on own choice song whilst Soweto were the Champions of the verse song. They both walked away with trophies and certificates.

The evening service literally continued from the afternoon service as the energetic youngsters did not want a break due to a perception that it could reduce or interfere with the momentum built since the commencement of the conference. The Youth started by observing a Moment of Silence in remembrance of their late Spiritual Father, Archbishop Dr EMM Mureri, in whose honor the conference was also dedicated.

The energetic Bishop Hlabangwana led the official opening session with vigor and huge enthusiasm as he reminded the youth leadership that their duty is to preserve the legacy of the Archbishop as well as ensuring that the youth to lead “Godly lives”. He read several scriptures to strengthen and inspire the youth in general, indicating that the church requires hard and committed workers as we prepare GOD ‘s children for eternal life. Miss Mashudu Rambau and Mr Marcus Negogome preached the word of GOD, much to the glee of attendants whose appreciation was mainly delineated by the presence of note books  and camera flashes as the youth recorded the proceedings for future reference. Reverend Tshirangwana, the erstwhile Youth Minister, was honored by the youth to deliver an address to show how far the youth movement had come. He narrated how the Archbishop conceived the idea of the youth movement and how it grew over the years. He concluded by expressing appreciation to the current leadership for continuing where he left off and vowed to assist where he could. A special prayer session led by Mr Michale Muravha concluded the evening service. The sick were healed whilst deliverance was on hand for all possessed by spirits.

The last day of the Conference, 23 June 2019, did not disappoint as the hall was packed to capacity with some youth on their feet due to inadequate sitting spaces. The Youth sang Ebeneezer as they ushered in their leaders and opened their proceedings with a moving praise and worship item led by Mr Rendani Rerani. Reading from the book of revelations, Rerani belowed “Holy, Holy, Holy” as he inspired the youth to praise and worship with all they have.

Muanda Vho-Tshikombedze presented the annual Best UAAC Leaner Awards to best UAAC learners who passed Matric in 2018. Miss Arikonisaho Mugwili was awarded the best UAAC leader with an average mark of 81%. She received a Laptop. The second best student was Boitumelo Mabula who got an average mark of 77% and she received a Tablet whilst the third best student was Ratshilumela Uzwothe with an average mark of 72% and she received a Cellphone for her efforts. The UAAC Youth appreciated Musanda Vho-Tshikombedze for all her efforts to encourage educational development among UAAC youth.

The Guest Speaker was the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Hon Ronald Lamula, who was carefully chosen by the UAAC Youth leadership due to his background as a former  Youth Leader as well as his exemplary conduct and principled leadership. In his address, Minister Lamola expressed appreciation for the invitation and payed homage to the UAAC for investing in its youth for a better tomorrow. He went on to indicate that churches helped in the fight against colonial oppression and repressive regime as well as their current role in reversing the tide of state capture . “The church and civil society extricated us from state capture, otherwise we would not be on the path for renewal”, he said. The Minister went to invite the UAAC and its youth to partner with the government in the renewal  as well as in ensuring that the goals of the National Development Plan are reached. He remind the youth about the move towards the fourth Industrial Revolution and indicated that they must not be left behind, but embrace the technology for a better future for all. He went on to indicate that the Youth must lead the change in church and must strive to change their communities and society at large for the better.

In his short address and response to the Minister ‘s speech, the UAAC Youth President Ramutsheli indicated that the youth ministry took heed of the Minister ‘s challenge to the UAAC Youth and will not disappoint. He went on to indicate that the UAAC youth will partner with the government towards renewal and supporting the NDP from within the umbrella of the UAAC and in their private lives. He concluded by expressing dissatisfaction with  the conspicuous misuse of social media and encouraged the youth to use social media responsibly.

The National Chairpersons and the Bishops wished the youth well in their conference.

The Chairperson of the host branch, Mr Dzuvha Mathomu, expressed appreciation to all UAAC stakeholders for the support and belief that Sefako Makgatho branch could pull off such a big event.

Bishop Muzila blessed the conference whilst Bishop Maleho closed the conference with a prayer.

The youth certainly learnt much from the conference and their spirits were revived.

Peace be unto all!