“You have a responsibility to ensure that which they bequeathed to you will be used to maximum advantage,” Sisulu said.
In a speech prepared for delivery at her induction as chancellor of Mangosuthu University of Technology in Umlazi, Durban, she said the youth should seek opportunities for education.
She referred to the sacrifices made by those who took part in the 1976 Soweto uprisings, where school pupils protested against the introduction of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction.
“I mention this to remind us all again that we would not be here today if it were not in large part for that youth of our country – the 1976 generation,” she said.
“What it must say to you, every day, is that youth of 1976, who did not have the advantage of the youth of today, knew that the trajectory of our history depended on them.”
The youth had always been counted on to play a central role in the shaping of history, and this was no different with today’s youth with the future in their hands
“They [previous generations] willingly took up arms, so that you can benefit from a country that is free and where education can be used and valued for its place in a progressive society,” she said.
“I mention this to remind us all again that we would not be here today if it were not in large part for that youth of our country.”
She urged the youth to be actively involved in universities as it was these institutions that fulfilled the promise of freedom, which previous generations also fought for.
“Do so not so much in the streets, but in the lecture halls of the universities,” said Sisulu.
“We want you to have the benefit of what a great many of my generation, in their response to Bantu education, willingly gave up their chance to study.”
Sisulu also commemorated the death of Chris Hani, who was assassinated 21 years ago on Thursday.
“At your age, he deliberately took a decision to leave Ford Hare University, with all its education implied, to join the armed struggle,” she said.
“I take this opportunity to call upon you, the youth to honour the youth who laid their lives for you.”