Dikeledi: Commemorating False Femocracy

She was born in a family of six, 
Her father a retrenched derelict,
Her mother an ailing goddess whose eyes were scorched by the wind, 
Her back broken by the wood she carried from the mountains. 

She dropped out of school, to take over from her fatigued mother- working fields from sunrise to subset, like serviced machinery. 
Coming home to a cow-dung glazed clay hut, to nights that cannot provide evening meals and sleep that refuses to come.

In a new born democracy, 
Things remain the same. 
The taps are waterless.

Dikeledi walks the distance her mother walked, to rivers that are too dry to quench. Yet she joined Letsema a year ago- a project aimed to bring water closer to the people.

Dikeledi’s children were born to a promise of a better life for all. Her school going children were turned away from the nearest school eight kilometres away.

They keep the street corners company, because their mother cannot afford school uniforms and school fees.

Her disillusioned matriculated daughter cannot afford the sky- rocketing cost of higher education. She resolved to do the occupation of child bearing, where she receives one-thousand five-hundred per month.

On her recent pregnancy, she was showered with HIV/Aids.

They live in a village where the only health-care facility is a clinic whose shelves are decorated with expired Panados and cough mixtures. The nearest hospital resides thirty- seven (37) kilometers away.

Dikeledi cries the tears her mother cried, for a future too bleak and a past equally distressing.

Dikeledi’s tears flow over the social injustice and a 22yr democracy too painful to celebrate.

Who’s fooling Who?

 

Freedom Day Event To Protect SA’s Past

Matters such as bridging economic and social gaps, deepening democracy and steering South Africa to the right direction will be discussed at the Freedom Day commemoration ceremony in Limpopo today.

The event will be held at Moletjie Ga-Sechaba in Polokwane as a once off communication platform for youth, liberation struggle leaders, government officials and civil society organisations to establish innovative resolutions to issues that cripple South Africa’s democracy.  Discussions will focus on the role of youth leadership in governance, politics, academia and business. Approximately 1500 people are expected are to attend.  

Activator, Khomotso Komape is the mastermind behind this initiative. Her non-profit organisation, Aganang Youth Structure empowers and links Limpopo rural youth to resources and opportunities. “We are concerned by what we call divisive ideological differences between those who are in power and the masses on the ground.  In order to address that, we have we decided to use historical significant public holidays like Freedom Day and Youth Day as a platform for youth, elders and key industry captains reflect on the past and together pave ideal good future for all,” said Komape.

Expected attendees include seasoned struggle icons/political leaders like Morris Matsimela¸ Aganang Local Municipality Mayor, Maria Mokobodi and Chief K.S Moloto of the Moletjie Tribal Authority. Other key supporting stakeholders include Limpopo Premier’s office Youth Directorate, Aganang Local Municipality, Matlala Advice Office, Capricorn District Municipality and South African Police Services.

Matsimela is expected to conduct a pre and post democracy dialogue with the attendees.  Other key note speakers will include young intellectuals from politics, business, community development, academia, sports and recreation.  

The pro bono human rights service advocacy organisation in Aganang municipality, Matlala Advice Office Project manager, Mrs Letswalo applauded  Komape’s  dedication to community development.
“This initiative has our full support because we believe that it is important for the youth to be aware of our country’s freedom history as well as the current social, political and economic setup. This encourages them to be practically involved in moving our country forward and participate in political processes such as elections,” she said.

Limpopo Social Development Department official, Sammy Madima said his department is proud to be one of the funders for Aganang Youth Structure. “Some of our key responsibilities as the department are to provide for youth developmental support services like entrepreneurship and community development skills transfer. That is why it made perfect sense to partner with  Aganang Youth Structure to bring this event to life; the core messaging is in line with our mandate,” he added.

Besides speeches, attendees will be entertained by prominent poets, musicians and dancers.

For more information on the event or  Aganang Youth Structure, Khomotso Komape can be contacted on aganangyouthstructure@gmail.com or 071 286 4587 / 071 214 1441. The organisation can also be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

Youth Vow to Take Over SA Economy

“Economic junk status downgrade or not, youth led enterprise and development organization, Afrika Mayibuye Entrepreneurship Hub Accelerator AMEHA will save South African youth’s future, economy and restore local and international investor confidence.”

Those are the words of the revered leader, Tshepo Future Mabuya  whose company, AMEHA that will be hosting a financial management and capacity building training workshops for youth led businesses on the 22nd and 23rd of April at the Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein Free State.

Mabuya and his co-business partners at  AMEHA (Simon Molefi, Lebohang Matlabe, Sipho Twala and Mamotsoane Ntjepela) have partnered with one of South Africa’s leading financial service provider, Capitec Bank Foundation, a reputable South African business industry key stakeholder, Black Management Forum , a thought leadership movement that trains young leaders in schools, Giants of Success  and one of South Africa’s leading corporate social investment company, Tshikululu Social Investments  


The aim of the event is to equip young entrepreneurs with soft skills in financial management and report as well as internal control. The high-end business occasion will see the attendees  treated to a lively programme of presentations, panel discussions and seminars, all led by local, provincial and national top business experts and specialists.

Financial literacy and life skills workshop by Capitec Bank Foundation is one of the notable highlight of the two days business event. All participants upon completion of the workshop will be awarded with Certificates of Completion. Discussions will be centred personal financial management, on how entrepreneurs should be well acquainted with the various trade intricacies and breaking new business grounds viable strategies.


Attendees consist of all clients who have made use of the services of the accelerator since 2014. Most importantly a majority of the attendees will include young people who are running SMME’s and NPO’s.

AMEHA provides services like business boot camps, social entrepreneurship exchange summits, youth entrepreneurship festivals, company registrations, brand development, The company has already helped develop over 60 youth led SMME’s, cooperatives. The company co-founders are working on establishing an NPO-SMME Mentorship Programme for its clients where clients can get first hand Mentorship and guidance from well established companies and Non Profits.

The five social entrepreneurs/ founders believe that the term “economic freedom in our lifetime” will no longer be a lovely political point scoring rhetoric. Their company is  committed to building sustainable youth-led SMME’s, Cooperatives, as well as public benefit organizations that will be scalable as well as ones that will make an impact while making profit be it individual profit in the case of SMME’s or social profit in the case of public benefit organizations.

According to the Black Management Forum Student Chapter Free State Chairperson: “Partnering with AMEHA is important because this is a stepping stone to championing our vision of developing managerial leadership and we hope to achieve our vision of changing the state of our economy. “Mabuya explained the logic behind the event “What inspired us to host this event is to spark a culture of saving before consumption and bit consumption before saving which is the current trend which has led to so many people resorting to loan sharks. We also realized that many Entrepreneurs are not good with managing their finances.” he said.

Giants of Success NPC also relish the invitation to partner with AMEHA. Giants of Success NPC said Lebohang Matlabe President “We aim to build Giants out of our students that we train at schools universities and colleges. The purpose behind partnering with AMEHA on this event is because it is a very important programme that will develop financial literacy amongst entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs. What we hope to achieve through this programme is to build financially smart entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs who will build financial smart SME’s and NPOs who will become Giants of financial freedom.”

The expected attendees of the inaugural entrepreneurial event include seasoned and emerging entrepreneurs from all over. According to organizers, the unprecedented demand and overwhelming public positive hype of the upcoming event is testament to the importance that small businesses play in South Africa. It shows that aspiring entrepreneurs have a thirst for the knowledge and practical tools that will help them succeed.

Members of the public who want to be part of the event are advised to visit website Afrika Mayibuye Entrepreneurship Hub Accelerator www.ameha.co.za or contact the event organizers on info@ameha.co.za  or via twitter at @AmehaLtd of Facebook: Afrika Mayibuye Entrepreneurship Hub Accelerator. Alternatively they can call Tshepo Future Mabuya on 0739414565 or fax 086 725 7099

#ActivateImbizo: Action Begins With Our Voices

Activators in Free State province will be hosting an ACTIVATE! Youth Imbizo at the University of the Free State on Friday, 22 April under the theme, “Enhancing civic engagement and social participation among South African youth”.

The Imbizo forms part of ACTIVATE! Change Drivers’ mission to create dialogue platforms on youth related issues between young people and relevant stakeholders. It is a third in a series of Imbizos convened nationally to explore youth participation and views on national discourses particularly on issues of policy and civic processes that directly affect them. The imbizo will bring together a number of Activators and activists on civic engagement from all regions of the Free State.

 Nowadays, the youth today is commonly described as unmotivated and violent. This could be due to the methods that young people opt for as means of making their voices heard. Such spaces as the Imbizo aim at challenging the narrative that exists about young people.  For that reason this platform will seek to explore how the youth can collaborate with government, the private sector and civic society to innovatively and peacefully contribute towards their own development.

Activators in the province feel that it is neccessary to host multiple forums of this nature in order to find permanent solutions to protests. Activator, Tlotlisang Moeketsi said: “Since the introduction of democracy in South Africa, one of the remedies for socials injustices has been an engagement with the larger society in determining and paving a way forward.  Majority of citizens, the youth, is the most affected by social ills such as prostitution, crime and illiteracy. Young people are also the ones who are better able to confront the status quo. Civic engagement gatherings allows for them to express their opinions, to debate them and collaborate on ideas of what needs to be done”

Four inter-active panel members from loveLife, ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, Black Management Forum, Independent Electoral Commission will discuss innovative ways in which youth can engage in civic and social space.  loveLife in Free State has had dialogues with ACTIVATE! Change Drivers before where they showed unmatched commitment to civic engagement.

loveLife’s Programme Director, Thabiso Mokoena  stated that loveLife is excited to be involved in this Imbizo.. “To us civic engagement is ensuring that we partner with the general community in all our development or empowerment activities. We believe in an open platform of engagement when it comes to advancing the interests of our youth as their participation in our programmes is the main form of our interaction. Initiatives such as the ACTIVATE! Youth Imbizo positively influence young people to actively participates in resolving issues that affect their communities, “ he said.

Through this Imbizo, the aim is to attain affirmation from young people that they understand their role in shaping their own future and their commitment to using their capabilities to tackle issues that hinder their progress.

The business sphere also made an input towards this much anticipated Imbizo. Ayanda Madolo of Business Management Forum said the Imbizo is one of the collaborative strategies that they can utilise into the Transformation Master Plan, which is their strategy to put young people at the centre of transformation. “We are grateful to be a part of this initiatiave and we want to use it as a platform to ensure that the youth to recognises us as a link to life changing opportunities.

The Imbizo is expected to provide an outline of the current state of youth in South Africa, focussing primarily on their civic engagement and social participation. The session will be as interactive as possible to encourage maximum participation of all attendants, thereby enabling environment for teaching and learning.

Being An Active Citizen

What drove you to be an Activator?

My decision to become an Activator was primarily informed by the dire need to broaden my knowledge of community development. Having been involved with a number of civic organisations for a number of years, I believed that participating in the ACTIVATE! Leadership for Public Innovation programme would handsomely contribute towards my personal development and the development of my community in general.

How long have you been doing it for?

I have been an Activator since 2014

Tell us about your involvement and the experiences/ results you have had?

My involvement with ACTIVATE! Change Drivers has given me great insight into community development and leadership.  Through the programme I have gained valuable skills in project management, public innovation and socio-political navigation just to name a few. Furthermore, I have derived great benefit from the ACTIVATE! network by being able to establish coalitions and connections with Activators in the cause to drive meaningful change across South Africa.  I have been able to interact meaningfully with the community I inhabit through ACTIVATE! platforms such as Exchanges, Dialogues and the Switch programme among others.

What are your thoughts on Active Citizenship?

I am keenly interested in enhancing and strengthening civic engagement and social-participation among South Africa’s populace. I firmly believe that as citizens we all have a responsibility to reinforce consultative and participatory democracy in South Africa. In this light, active citizenship essentially speaks to citizens being conscious of their rights and responsibilities in society. As citizens of a democratic society we have a right to participate in the democratic decision-making processes of our country, including the right to elect the kind of government we wish to have.  Additionally, we have a responsibility to hold those that we have elected accountable. In essence, rights and responsibilities go hand in glove.

Do you think that the voices of the youth are being heard?

Given that youth constitutes over 50% of the population of South Africa, I am of the view that their voices have been neglected. Any genuine attempt at addressing the challenges facing South Africa must be cognisant of the above-stated fact. Notwithstanding the work done by government, the private sector, and civil society in seeking to address challenges facing young people in particular, I believe a lot more could be achieved if young people were capacitated and given the platform to contribute towards finding solutions to challenges facing them. In this respect, it would serve the country well if interaction with its young people was not limited within party-political terms.  I must note though that the rise of such movements as #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall marks an important turn insofar as the voice of the youth is concerned in South Africa’s political landscape.

Do you think that youth is doing enough?

It is imperative that the youth of South Africa recognise that the onus is upon them to ensure that their voice is heard and that their interests are advanced in society. Those that have been actively contributing towards driving change in their communities must be empowered to do more not only for themselves but for their communities in general. Those that have been passive; relegating their responsibilities to others, must be encouraged. Government, the private sector and civil society all have a collective responsibility to ensure that an enabling environment exists for young people to contribute meaningfully into the public realm. This said, the primary responsibility rests with the youth themselves.

How accountable do you think municipalities should be for lack of service delivery?

Municipalities have a constitutional mandate to deliver basic services to the people.  It is important to note in this regard that South Africa comes from a history of marginalisation of the masses of our people by a draconian system of apartheid which exposed Whites and Blacks in this country to vastly different socio-economic environments. Since the dawn of democracy, government has been faced with the daunting task of redressing the imbalances of the apartheid system. This has had an adverse effect on the efficiency and effectiveness of local government in South Africa in general. In addition to this challenge, the advent of corruption in South Africa has negatively affected government in its efforts to fulfil this important responsibility of delivering services to the people. So in essence, service delivery challenges cannot solely and exclusively be the responsibility of municipalities. Government, the private sector and civil society should all be held accountable for lack of service delivery.  

What was the Walala Wasala experience?

The Walala Wasala interview certainly counts among my highlights in my journey as a community development practitioner. I think it is important that we as a nation tell the positive stories of individuals who are committed to driving change in their respective communities. More importantly, the interview was an opportunity to highlight the work we do as a network of change drivers. I hope the programme will contribute towards shaping the narrative of young people in South Africa. I love the passion of the Walala Wasala crew, and I must express my most sincere gratitude to them for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts on challenges facing our country.

What topic did you cover?

The topic we covered was “Youth Skills”. I believe the question of youth skills in South Africa speaks to so many challenges that are facing us as a country.  It can be justly argued that the many socio-economic challenges facing South Africa can be attributed to a lack of skills among young people in the country. Within the South African socio-economic context, a lack of skills commonly leads to unemployment and long term unemployment precedes poverty. In this respect, one may be drawn to assume that a lack of skills among young people will lead to socio-economic challenges such as unemployment and poverty. In our effort to address this challenge of a lack of skills among young people, we have initiated programmes that seek to empower youth with skills to effectively and efficiently run their projects and businesses. On the day of the Walala Wasala interview, myself and a few other Activators had organised a “Digital Marketing Workshop” in conjunction with ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, the Young African Leaders Initiative and Digify Bytes. The workshop sought to equip representatives from various youth focused organizations with skills in digital strategies for grassroots campaigning and marketing.

What were the results?

As part of the proceedings of the workshop, we facilitated a dialogue among youth in the province and government exploring the respective roles the two parties needed to play in seeking to address challenges facing the youth in South Africa in general. This segment also captured and will hopefully form part of the Walala Wasala programme when it is aired. What came out of the dialogue was that the responsibility of youth development does not lie solely with government, but also with the private sector, civil society and more importantly with the youth itself. 

If there is anything you could have changed in the experience what would it be and why?

I wish I had had the courage to answer some of the questions boldly and without any fear. I think there are issues that must be confronted unapologetically and without any fear.  Other than that, the experience was empowering and enlightening.

Why would you encourage youth to be future Activators?

The ACTIVATE! Leadership for Public Innovation programme has contributed immensely towards my personal development and that of hundreds of other young leaders across the country. The ACTIVATE! Change Drivers programme offers young people an opportunity to broaden and deepen their understanding and knowledge of leadership, community service and identity among other things. The programme presents an opportunity to gain skills in project management, community development, public innovation and communication among others. Over and above the chance to gain the above-stated skills, the programme offers one an opportunity to tap into and benefit from the power of a network of young leaders from across the country, who all contribute positively into the public realm.

How are YOU going to continue contributing towards the activation of change in your community?

I intend to continue contributing towards the activation of change in my community by creating platforms for civic engagement and social participation among young people in particular. With the support of ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, I am currently coordinating ACTIVATE! Imbizos in the Free State. These are essentially platforms that seek to reinforce consultative and participatory democracy in South Africa. Furthermore, I harbour ambitions of developing effective community service learning programmes and I am currently empowering myself through study and participation in community development initiatives to gather the necessary expertise and experience in this regard.

How Well Can You Navigate Your Municipality?

What drove you to be an Activator?

I was involved in several volunteer community groups in my locality, and I found ACTIVATE! to be an organization that encompasses and embraces the goals and initiatives of a person who is looking to help and influence progressive change. I was fortunate to be part of an intake of strong, passionate, energetic, and compassionate young people who are working independently and together to create positive social change in South Africa.

How long have you been doing it for?
3 years, I joined ACTIVATE! in 2013

Tell us about your involvement and the experiences/ results you have had?

For the most part of my life as an Activator, I’ve always enjoyed volunteering and being part of a cause that strives to improve my community and country. I am always inspired when I feel my help is going towards a rewarding cause. ACTIVATE! has supported me in many ways, the most recent was being selected to form part of the first group to do the Community Development Course. This is one of the programs which I believe ACTIVATE! outshines itself. The course provided me with the necessary theoretical knowledge to arm myself in tackling development. It is also proved to me that the network cares even beyond year one.

What are your thoughts on Active Citizenship?

We must be active participants in our democratic country. There will be no significant improvement in the conditions of our people and their struggle until we fundamentally change direction by being active citizens who shape the future of their communities.

Do you think that the voices of the youth are being heard?

Yes, slowly young people’s voices are beginning to be audible in the corridors of power. Young people are starting to participate in matters that affect their future. The recent #FeesMustFall campaign serves as an example of this participation.

Do you think that the youth is doing enough?

We are getting there, even though the majority of youth feel content with being critics of the status quo without applying sufficient action for an alternative. I believe that we must assume our role of being solution providers because by complaining only we will not yield results.

How accountable do you think municipalities should be for lack of service delivery?

The immediate task of every municipality is to deliver services and if any municipality is failing this task they must redefine their mission. Because of this, they should be completely accountable.

What was the Walala Wasala experience like for you?

The experience was awesome. Learning from influential young people who possess amazing intellectual prowess and discussing how young people can be capacitated in order for them to be self-reliant was really beneficial.

I know that the message shared will be beneficial for all South African youth, so I really urge everyone to watch the show.

What topic did you cover?

Skilling young people

What were the results?

We had young people in business, government and NGOs and the collective agreement we reached was that skilling young people will help curb the scourge of poverty and that skilling young people should be the major focus of government.

If there is anything you could have changed in the experience what would it be and why?

Having input from the private sector in the discussion of skills development would have been very beneficial because I feel that the provincial corporate citizens and captains of the industries have distanced themselves when coming to the issues of skilling young people even though they have a great role to play.

Why would you encourage youth to be future Activators?

I am certain that with the ACTIVATE! program they will learn a great deal of really interesting and useful skills and tools to empower themselves and their communities. It will be the most intense, interesting, challenging and awesome experience of their lives. The experience one gains in the first year will be a turning point in their lives and career. It will change and develop views on the world, yourself, and your future. 
   
How are YOU going to continue contributing towards the activation of change in your community?

Because ACTIVATE! stations are at close proximity with young people out there, I will use them as platforms to network with other Activators to create discussions, lobby and advocate for change. The enemy of the people is inequality and its cronies. That will be the centre of my fight. That’s where we should direct our rage, if we are talking about and wanting real change.

 

Action Setaka is a 26 year old Community Development Practitioner and has been an Activator since 2013.

Activate Network reignites Spark in Youth Civic engagement

ACTIVATE! Change Drivers will facilitate a gathering, the ACTIVATE! Youth Imbizo at the Free State University to explore how civic engagement and social participation among South Africa’s youth can be enhanced. This initiative seeks to address social ills that devalue the country’s democracy, especially those that derail youth development. This will be in a form of a dialogue between young people and government’s representatives and other relevant organisations in the private sector.  

ACTIVATE! Change Drivers is a network of more than 1600 young change makers or “Activators” across South Africa who are finding innovative ways to transform their communities and the country as a whole. The ACTIVATE! Youth Imbizo forms part of ACTIVATE! Change Drivers’ mission to equip young with necessary knowledge and skills to thrive in their respective social development efforts.

Coordinator for the ACTIVATE! Imbizo project, Lezerine Mashaba, says that even though the government and some companies in the private sector are implementing strategies to empower the youth, it is therefore important for young people in the country to start talking about how they can meet those efforts halfway.

The participation of young people in South Africa’s democratic processes is important for future political trends in the country. The 1976 Soweto Uprising is a perfect example of the critical role young people have historically played in challenging unjust conditions facing them and bringing about a democratic dispensation in South Africa. However, the youth today is commonly described as unmotivated and violent. Perhaps this is due to the methods that young people opt for as means of making their voices heard. Such spaces as the Imbizo aims to challenge the narrative that exists about young people.  For that reason this platform will seek to explore how the youth can collaborate with government, the private sector and civic society to innovatively and peacefully contribute towards their own development.

“The aim of the Imbizo is not only to find solutions to address challenges that face our youth, but also to make a meaningful contribution, as a province, to the national conversations around civic and political engagement among the youth,” says Mashaba.

Representatives from government, the private sector and civic organisations will be present to engage with the audience. University of Free State, Independent Electoral Commission, Love Life, Black Management Forum and the National Youth Development Agency are some of the organisations that will be participating.  The session will be as interactive as possible to encourage maximum participation of all attendants, thereby enabling environment for teaching and learning.

The Imbizo will be hosted at the University of Free State on Friday, April 22, 2015 between 11H00 and 14H00. For more information and details on how you can participate or attend, please contact Kgotso Sothoane on 060 459 7354.

Under the umbrella theme, ‘Democracy in Action’, ACTIVATE! Change Drivers is facilitating similar Imbizos in three other provinces. On 05 April the Imbizo was held in KwaZulu Natal where ‘HIV/AIDS prevention’ was discussed at the As-Salaam Institute in Ugu district. In the Eastern Cape the Imbizo took place on 08 April and the dialogue was around ‘Abortion Stigma’. The last Imbizo will be held in North West on 06 May and the topic will be ‘Land – What’s the plan for youth?’ The plan is to highlight how these topical issues affect South Africa’s hard earned democracy and come up with resolutions.  

Ends.


Issued by ACTIVATE! Change Drivers. For more information please visit www.activateleadership.co.za

For media related queries, please contact:

Nomtika Mjwana

ACTIVATE! Change Drivers

Email:nomtika@localhost

Cell: 079 816 3910

Pushing Social Change Through Technology

Thando Mdokha is a 2013 KZN Activator that’s currently based in the Gauteng Province.

What is your passion?

I am passionate about technology. When technology is used correctly, it can help develop many young people. We have established beneficial networks and we are seeing daily opportunities of making money through technology. Technology is a seed of online activism. I can now be both in my office pushing business while pushing social change using technology and in pushing hard to tap more opportunities of how I can empower young people.

What are you excited about lately

Every morning I get excited about the duties that await me for that day. Be it surprising or expected. I mean, imagine how exciting it is being South African and living in South Africa and you can’t leave to Australia. The youth rage with regard to issues which affect them is also exciting. Young people are starting to take ownership of their own development.

Share with us what you do, how many people you touch and how long you have been at it?

I do many things. I am one of awesome 40 Change Drivers in South Africa that are doing awesome things across the country. At the same time, I head Mdokha Designs a Graphic Design agency. With the Agency, I have impacted and groomed many people to realise their dreams and supporting their campaigns. It feels like I have been doing this since my mom stopped breastfeeding me.

Why do you believe in the work that you do?

There is a lot of awesomeness that can be cultivated from the work I do, impacting lives through Technology and designs is pretty awesome.

How do you connect with Activators and those around you?

Social Media has always been the centre and root of connection. The relationships built out of that are amazing and the results are visible

How has ACTIVATE! Supported you so far in driving this change?

ACTIVATE! has given me a space to showcase my ideas and the network is amazing on supporting one of their own. I do some of their artwork as well.

What do you think is the priority in setting the agenda for our country in the next 5 years?

You(th) has the power to make things happen. Have you seen the Youth Movements across the country who have positive impact? Young people must set agenda for their own future, because they are the voice we need in shaping this country. Activators represent young people from diverse school of thoughts making positive impact across South Africa. We must continue to spearhead community development outside political umbrellas.

How do you motivate yourself?

I look at my bank account and I see how short the digits are and I am motivated to do more. This should be the source of motivation for every young person. The bank balance must trigger anxiety which will enable us to change our destiny.

Final message to young people?

Let’s cease from playing victims and complainers. Let’s be a generation of solution providers.

 


Change Driver, Karabo

What drove you to be an Activator?

I was working as a Media Communications Officer. A  journalist suggested that I should apply. It was interesting and new to me so I wanted to know more.

How long have you been doing it for?

Since 2012

Tell us about your involvement and the experiences/ results you have had?

I was encouraged by a story I read on GroundUp about a girl who didn’t have money for sanitary towels and had to use rags and newspaper. I realised that I needed to start making a change. We did some research within the community on why girls were dropping out of school and work and found out that for many of them it was because of their menstruation. They would be too embarrassed to go to school or work.

In January, we started the Sanitary Pads Campaign to raise awareness that allows us to provide sanitary pads to learners and people in the community.

We also work with young people and have separate round table discussions with girls and boys to talk about issues affecting them; health issues like menstruation and stereotypes. With boys, we make them understand why girls have to go through menstruation. We then put the two groups together so that they can engage with each other.

We want the youth to influence policymakers and ensure that pads are available in schools in the same way condoms are.

How has ACTIVATE! supported you in driving change?

ACTIVATE! has supported me so far in driving this change by supporting me and giving me information on how to open an organisation, drafting proposals and constitutions. We want to partner with other Activators who are also involved in our cause and start a national organisation. The Washline methodology specifically really assisted me and I also became more confident when drafting proposals and presenting my ideas. The most important thing I learned through ACTIVATE! is that I cannot wait on government to make the change I need to do something.

What are your thoughts on Active Citizenship?

Active citizenship is very necessary. Not only in South Africa, but across the world because it drives change. People should be active in community events and have dialogues with decision makers, be involved and encourage participation with counsellors in communities.

Do you think that the voices of the youth are being heard?

The voices of youth are not being heard in government or in organisations. For example, the constitution says that everyone has a right to education but when students are marching peacefully for that right they are shot but the police who are meant to protect them. It seems like the only thing  government has heard is the violence.

Do you think that youth is doing enough?

Young people are doing everything in their power to be heard, but the government does not hear them when they are peaceful. We don’t have young people in parliament representing us and we need that.

How accountable do you think municipalities should be for lack of service delivery?

Municipalities should be the first ones to be accountable because we voted them in power. They should be responsible for problems that are facing communities.

What was the Walala Wasala experience?

It was a good and interesting experience that proved to be very beneficial.

What topic did you cover?

We encouraged youth to register and highlighted the resources that we have in our community such as clinics. We also spoke about ways that can be used to increase youth participation.

What were the results?

On the day of the shoot we went to a youth clinic in the community to film parts of the show, someone at the clinic saw me and asked for my number. After the show, I got a call from the youth clinic requesting that I provide sanitary pads to them. So far we have provided them with many packs and we are forging a relationship.

If there is anything you could have changed in the experience what would it be and why?

There should be a DVD of the show that can be taken to relevant organisations to show them what is happening in communities. I believe that many vital conversations can be born. To drive that change ourselves, we are planning to call young people after they have watched the show to find out how they interpreted the show.

Why would you encourage youth to be future Activators?

To young people in Africa, apply! ACTIVATE!! is where your ideas and dreams are born. It’s a programme where you meet young people who have the same vision as yours and this accelerates change.

 How are YOU going to continue contributing towards the activation of change in your community?

By hosting dialogues with youth in Khayelitsha. We are also hosting a sleepover in the streets for members of the community so that they can experience what other people who sleep on the street experience. Another thing we are doing is actively tackling the fact that the refuse in many parts of Khayelitsha have not been collected in two weeks. We are setting up meetings with local government to deal with this issue because it is a health risk for those that live around it.

Bootcamp Boosts Economies for Low-Income Areas

Emerging entrepreneurs from South Africa’s less privileged areas with no existing entrepreneurial ecosystems can breathe a sigh of relief. An accelerator programme, designed especially for their needs, is finally here.  The Desert Start-up Bootcamp (DSBC) is a five-day learning programme that empowers young entrepreneurs from small towns and townships to turn their ideas into viable, high-growth businesses. The Bootcamp aims to foster a culture of entrepreneurship in those areas.

For 2016, the Bootcamp will be held at the Eco-Lodge Greyton in Villiersdorp, Western Cape from Saturday, 16 April to Wednesday, 20 April. Fifteen early stage entrepreneurs, from Villiersdorp, with bold ideas to address gaps in the local market will be taking part.

Founder of the DSBC, Mhlanganisi Madlongolwana says: “Our participants do not have to have launched a business already or have any special qualifications; we’re looking for people with great ideas and the drive to make them happen. Our hands-on approach allows them to learn, prototype a product, finalise a business model and perfect a pitch through intensive peer-to-peer learning and interaction with seasoned business leaders.

As a member of the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers network Madlongolwana is committed to his role in youth development and empowerment. ACTIVATE! Change Drivers is a network of more than 1600 young change makers or “Activators” across South Africa who are finding innovative ways to transform their communities and the country as a whole. The Network connects these young people and equips them with necessary knowledge and skills to thrive in their respective efforts. “Organisations like ACTIVATE!  Change Drivers, with an unshakable mission to reshape South African youth, are making it easier for the likes of me to follow suit,” says Madlongolwana.

The lack of entrepreneurial activity amongst citizens of smaller towns can be countered by a vibrant youth entrepreneurial eco-system. DSBC is participating in driving that change by acting as a catalyst for those communities.

However, entrepreneurs, both prospective and active, in rural areas do not see entrepreneurship as a viable mode of economic activity but survival. Furthermore, they are not exposed to new thought processes that spark innovation and they have no access to support networks and resources to help them start and scale their businesses.

So the bootcamp aims to create a vibrant culture of entrepreneurship that is ‘plugged-in’ to a national and international eco-system of entrepreneurs, experts, industry leaders and mentors, whilst still recognising the local challenges that young entrepreneurs face in our market.

The experience includes:

–          A fully developed business model that’s been tested for viability.

–          Introductory lectures on important elements you’ll need to know to launch a business (business strategy, marketing, product testing, registering a company, logistics etc.).

–          The opportunity to interact with business leaders and specialists in different fields – especially local senior entrepreneurs.

–          A chance to practice pitching your business plan.

–          Networking with fellow entrepreneurs and business leaders in your community.

–          The opportunity to meet business partners.

 

The pilot of the DSBC was launched in Upington in 2015, where an intensive seven-day business set-up course took entrepreneurs through a rigorous process of starting their own businesses. The pilot was made possible by a grant from the US Embasy. A total of 22 jobs have since been created by the participants who took part in the pilot. Additionally, R130 000 was collectively raised by the participants through direct investments and grant funding.

DSBC has partnered with the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading Project (VPUU) and the Local Economic Development unit of the Theewaterskloof Municipality in Villiersdorp to make this initiative possible. The partnership with VPUU forms part of the project’s Local Economic Development strategy for the Villiersdorp community. VPUU is a partnership between the Western Cape Government, German Development Bank, City of Cape Town and the National Treasury to upgrade low-income neighbourhoods. Entrepreneurship development is the project’s core element, hence the partnership with DSBC.  

Final Chance To Make Your Voice Heard

22 570 registration venues were opened in the first municipal elections registration leg (5-6 of March) and more than one million eligible voters were registered.

Electoral Commission has decided to give millions of South Africans who missed out on the first municipal elections registration weekend last chance. The next registration weekend (9 and 10th of April) will allow those who have never before registered as voters to register, those who need to re-register because they have changed voting stations as a result of moving place, or people who have been affected by changes in ward or voting districts.

According to Statistics South Africa 24.9 million people on the voters’ roll and approximately 9.1 million eligible voters are not registered – more than 80% of these below the age of 35.

The voters’ roll as of 31 January 2016 showed that 24 964 498 voters were registered.  Based on latest voting age population (VAP) estimates provided by Statistics South Africa, there are currently approximately 34 million South African citizens of voting age, placing the current registration level at 73 percent of all eligible voters.

Of the approximately 9 million eligible voters not currently registered:

•    Approximately 1.5 million are 18 – 19 years old (16 percent)

•    Approximately 4.3 million are 20 – 29 years old (46 percent)

•    Approximately 1.6 million are 30 – 39 years old (18 percent)

•    Approximately 0.8 million are 40 – 49 years old (9 percent)

•    Approximately 1 million are over 50 years old (11 percent)

Activate Leadership member, Modi Sithembiso Nkambule is one of the IEC’s station managers. Nkambule explain the political physio-social voting value for all South African more especially young people. “Contrary to popular, voting isn’t merely an opportunity to voice using our power to chop and change new leaders or keep the same leaders that we currently have. Voting is one of very few basic tools that legible South African uses build this country. That for me is the value of elections and good enough reason for everyone to for everyone to register to vote.”

The Mpumalanga based activator stressed the importance of registering and voting. “I know most people have lost interest in elections more especially local elections purely because they see voting as political thing only. That believe of behavior is a biggest threat to our country’s future because most of those people who take elections for granted don’t realize that actually voting or not voting is a huge step of either moving the country forward or destroying it completely.”

Free State based political science scholar and social change driver Tshepo Future Mabuya said  “Even though local government may not have power to make laws and highest decisions that can be binding at a national level, it is however through local government that a community gets to be developed. This is where democracy gets to be fully unfolded. It is at local government level that the devolution of all acts, laws is realized and that key decisions are implemented. Registering to vote is a sign of claiming people power that enables young people to lead the national conversation on governance and accountability as well as decision making. Registering and voting in the upcoming local elections is one first steps we can do to define our generation obligation.”

Governance scholar and social change driver, Senzo Hlophe stressed the important role of local government (which is to ensure services that impact the daily lives of citizens in their areas, including water, electricity and sanitation) and reasons why voting in the upcoming local is very important for all South Africans more especially youth. “Local government elections are equally important if not more than national elections, for two reasons. One, local government are to provide democratic and accountable government for local communities, ensure provision of services in a sustainable manner, promote social and economic development, promote safe and healthy environment etc.  Two, Base on that reason alone, you definitely want to register and vote because you do not want the wrong leadership to be responsible for your beaches and amusement facilities, cemeteries and funeral parlors, local amenities, municipal roads (pot holes), street lighting, traffic and parking responsibilities. All of these affect you and you want to make sure the best men or women get the job. So get off your butts and do the right thing.” said Hlophe

On the other hand, Eastern Cape based activator and Qunu Youth Development co-founder Phikolomzi Habe said” For far too long the untouchable elite have suppressed youth’s views on issues of national importance. It was through elections that they got to be where they are and it is also through elections that they can be moved. So registering for elections and ultimately voting is very important for everyone more especially youth because elections are one of very few available tools to decide the future leaders we want as the youth.”

Renowned political analyst and former national Electoral Commission Information Analysis Department head, Steven Eli Friedman, said the upcoming elections’ value is unquantifiable “The country (South Africa) finds itself in a very volatile situation where any actions by citizens can be a good or extremely turning point. Now the really power of this country rests within its citizens more especially the youth. History tells us that most African countries started experiencing political, social and economic crises. Now looking at what is going on in South Africa right now, I think most all South Africans must start to ask themselves what else they can do to deepen South African democracy. So words can ever explain the value of these upcoming municipal elections

IEC has also developed an online candidate nomination process which will allow candidates to apply via the internet. This is currently in testing and will be available in time for the candidate nomination process. Electoral Commission Spokesperson Kate Bapela said the online candidate nomination systems is one of the enabling innovations of the 2016 Municipal Elections that will allow political parties and independent candidates to upload their candidate nomination documents easily and correctly.

All voting stations will open from 8am to 5pm over the weekend of Saturday 9th and 10th of April for new voters to register and for existing voters to update and check their registration details.

Unlike national and provincial elections, voting in a municipal election is only allowed at the voting district in which you are registered to vote. Voters who do not know their voting stations can email IEC at email info@elections.org.za or website www.elections.org.za. Alternatively communicate with IEC through their Twitter handle @IECSouthAfrica or Facebook IECSouthAfrica.

Those who do have access to internet can call IEC Call Centre
on 0800 11 8000 between 7am and 9pm weekdays or Dial *120*IEC# (*120*432#). Voters who are already registered can SMS their ID number to 32810 (cost R1) to receive confirmation of their voter registration details including the name of their voting station.

The date is not yet confirmed but in terms of the Constitution the election must be held between 18 May and 16 August 2016. Those who miss both registration dates can go and register at their municipal elections.

Trio Provides Opportunity For Fellow Entrepreneurs In Sebokeng

Youth empowerment organisation, Novelty Seeking Youth (NSY), will be hosting an entrepreneurship expo, NSY Expo, on Saturday, 09 April at the Good News Ministries, Plot 6, Ironsyde in Sebokeng. Ran by three young social entrepreneurs and Activators, Molwantwa Letlhake, Xolisile Nxunya and Thilda Masenkane, NSY is bringing this event to Sebokeng as a platform for young entrepreneurs to showcase and pitch their existing business ventures and ideas to potential investors.

As members of the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers network, Letlhake, Nxunya and Masenkane are committed to their role in youth development and empowerment. ACTIVATE! Change Drivers is a network of more than 1600 young change makers or “Activators” across South Africa who are finding innovative ways to transform their communities and the country as a whole. The Network connects these young people and equips them with necessary knowledge and skills to thrive in their respective efforts.

NSY provides business/project management skills transfer workshops and business mentoring services to budding entrepreneurs. The NSY Expo will be attended by established business owners who are interested in investing in emerging entrepreneurs. Business experts will also be there to offer their view and feedback on the presented business ideas. Furthermore, the entrepreneurs will be exposed to other opportunities like referrals, mentorship and possible funding or sponsorship.

Letlhake says the aim for the expo is to revitalise entrepreneurial culture, assist young entrepreneurs by connecting them with opportunities in order to reduce social ills like unemployment and crime. “I have realised that my community does not have an existing entrepreneurial ecosystem, which contributes to the growth of unemployment rate,” he adds

Some of the experts who will be giving advice at the Expo include radio personality, Lehlohonolo Menyatso, Small Enterprise Development Agency member, Bonolo Mantsa, Renowned motivational speaker and published author Sanele Zulu, entrepreneur and radio presenter Motseki Maboye as well as  Sebokeng based entrepreneurs, Solly Montoedi and Sello Sekaja.

Letlhake, Nxunya and Masenkane admit that preparing for the NSY Expo presented a lot challenges. One of those was being snubbed by their local government support structures. However, they attribute their resilience and the skills they have acquired at ACTIVATE! Change Drivers for the success of the preparations.

“Our involvement with at ACTIVATE! Change Drivers has helped us to identify problems, experiment with ideas and validate solutions. We used several tools from the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers programmes to come up with innovative solutions to every barrier we encountered along the way,” says Nxunya

National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) applauded the three young entrepreneurs for organising Novelty Seeking Youth expo. NYDA Communications manager Nawhal Kara-Foster said: “Such initiatives that make us, at NYDA, believe that South African youth are on the right track. Entrepreneurship is one of few tools that South Africans need to really consider in moving forward. These platforms are some of the major channels for making that happen. We hope that established local businesses will invest in this promising event.”

The NSY Expo will run from 09h00 to 14h00. To participate or for more information on the NSY Expo, people can contact the organisers on 078 975 3736 or send an email to noveltyseekingyouth@gmail.com

Eastern Cape Youth Gather to Eradicate Abortion Stigma

Twenty two years ago, South Africa attained democracy, which came with a bill of rights that was established to ensure that every citizen is treated fairly and has freedom of choice. However, with human rights like the choice to terminate one’s pregnancy still heavily stigmatised, even after nearly 20 years since it was legalised, are we entirely free?

For a closer look into that matter, on Friday, 08 April ACTIVATE! Change Drivers will facilitate a community gathering, the ACTIVATE! Youth Imbizo, at the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu, Umthatha from 09h00 till 12h00.  ACTIVATE! Change Drivers is a network of more than 1600 young change makers or “Activators” across South Africa who are finding innovative ways to transform their communities and the country as a whole. The Network connects these young people and equips them with necessary knowledge and skills to thrive in their respective efforts.

A report revealed that of the designated health facilities in the country, just over 40% do in fact render abortion services. This means that a large number of women in the country arre still opting for unsafe backstreet abortions. The rate of maternal deaths continues to increase in the South Africa and illegal abortion is one of the top five contributors. Lack of knowledge and the stigma around abortion are amongst the main reasons young women do not seek professional medical assistance to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

The ACTIVATE! Youth Imbizo will enforce a dialogue between young people, more specifically high school learners, healthcare providers and other relevant experts. Issues such as abortion laws, women’s rights regarding abortion, relevant policies, reproductive health, prevention of unwanted pregnancies and safe available options for termination of pregnancy will be discussed.

Activator, Lusanda Poswa says: “The aim of this Imbizo is to help young women gain a more informed understanding of abortion from experts. We want them to know their rights surrounding this matter and options available to them, with hope that the stigma attached to abortion will eventually fade, which will decrease the rate of maternal deaths due to unsafe illegal abortions.”

The ACTIVATE! Youth Imbizo will be in a form of a conference where expert panelists will lead the discussion by giving presentations. Government departments such as Education and Health as well as activist organisations like the End Abortion Stigma Initiative and Love Life have been invited to be a part of the dialogue. The session will be as interactive as possible to encourage maximum participation by all involved parties.

For more information and details on how you can participate or attend, please contact Lusanda Poswa on 073 735 0861.

Under the umbrella theme, ‘Democracy in Action’, ACTIVATE! Change Drivers will be facilitating similar Imbizos in three other provinces. On 05 April the Imbizo will be in KwaZulu Natal where ‘HIV/AIDS’ will be discussed as a topic. In Free State the Imbizo will be on 22 April and will look at ‘How civic engagement and social participation among South African youth can be enhanced’. The last Imbizo will be held in North West on 06 May and the topic will be ‘Land – What’s the plan for youth.’ The plan is to highlight how these topical issues affect South Africa’s hard earned democracy and come up with resolutions.  

5 Minutes With Puleng

Puleng Sirengqe, (26), I am a motivational speaker, Food Security and Nutrition facilitator at UNISA and founder of Bantu Quest Development Service an NPO that specialises in food security and nutrition.

What drove you to be an activator?

I saw it as a niche way for young people to learn tools on how to develop their own communities, all in the spirit of young people helping each other. I always wanted to assist my community by launching my own NGO and business so that I could assist communities and develop young people with their nutrition, and I saw Activate! as a perfect platform to help me reach my goal.

How long have you been doing it for?

I’ve been an Activator since 2015.

Tell us about your involvement and the experiences/ results you have had?

Since being an activator I’ve felt more motivated to help my community, so much so, that I launched my NPO, Bantu Quest Development Service in 2016. Based on an indigenous knowledge system under our forefathers, the philosophy of each one-teach-one, the organisation specialises in food security and nutrition by sharing knowledge with each other. We hold workshops in my area of Orange Farm under the topics:  introduction to food security, what are sustainable natural resources, food behaviour and nutrition, optimising food production and food resource management to mention a few.

I believe by educating ourselves and each other we can avoid hunger and malnutrition two of the greatest challenges facing our community.

How has ACTIVATE! supported you so far in driving this change?

Through Activate! my network has grown and the methodologies and trainings have assisted me greatly.

For example, I find the Wash Line Methodology an extremely smart way of planning a project. It has helped me when allocating tasks to people and also in determining the duration a task should take. The Switch programme assisted me in turning my ideas into reality and the workshops helped me be better prepared when pitching to funders.

What are your thoughts on Active Citizenship?

We all need to get involved, all of us need to challenge the status quo, we shouldn’t be ignorant and just accept what is happening in our communities.  We must raise our voices and motivate people to achieve their potential.

Do you think that the voices of the youth are being heard?

Currently it seems like the public is listening to our voices but not the government. For example, the government has policies in place like the National Youth Development policy, but it’s not implemented accordingly. Since I started my NPO, I’ve become aware of all the red tape that young people face when starting a business or project. For example I am having a problem applying for funding from the government because I need a bank account to do that, but you need money to open an account and that is a problem for me. I feel that there are so many hurdles that end up deterring youth from starting their own businesses and ngo’s.  

Do you think that the youth is doing enough?

Yes I do, there are so many youths doing great work. But there is a lack of support, funding and infrastructure. For example I have a great vision on how to educate people about food security and nutrition but the lack of accessible resources proves challenging.

How accountable do you think municipalities should be for lack of service delivery?

I believe that they are 100% accountable, but in order to move forward we all need to work together: municipalities, youth and elders.

Tell us about your contribution to the upcoming episode of Walala Wasala?

Driving awareness about the lack of roads and infrastructure in my community of Orange Farm. Highlighting the problems we have with potholes and how the lack of roads is affecting everyday life, for example ambulances won’t come to the area because the roads are too bad. Other services like the police also struggle getting access to certain parts of the communities because the roads either aren’t there or the potholes are too bad. Another problem caused by the lack of roads is that farmers and businesses struggle to access goods or supplies that is vital to their success.   

We discussed how the community is trying to address the problem with local government but that they are always told that there is no budget. Even though there is a budget for roads in the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) they are constantly told there is no money, and community members living standards remain low.

I also spoke about community members who are educating themselves about local government and the IDP and then educating others, I believe that together we are driving change.

How was the experience?

It was a good experience because it gave me an opportunity to raise awareness about the issues facing Orange Farm.

What topic did you cover?

Municipal roads.

What were the results?

The coverage sparked more interest so people are engaging with me, asking me about local government and a way forward. I always advise them to study the IDP and to work together with the municipality. Knowledge is power.

If there is anything you could have changed in the experience what would it be and why?

To have more one-on-one engagement with the ward counsellor.

Why would you encourage youth to be future Activators?

Experience! Joining the network and experiencing the training changes the way you look at life it encourages you to be more proactive about change.

How are YOU going to continue contributing towards the activation of change in your community:

I will continue being a social entrepreneur driving change to solve social problems. I will encourage anyone to join ACTIVATE! network. Empowering my community with information and continue to put information into practice by host dialogues and workshops.


Youth Leads Conversation on HIV Prevalence in KZN

KwaZulu-Natal activators are joining forces with various organisations to fight against HIV infections, which continue to hit this province.

A three-hour dialogue, named Imbizo- a Zulu word meaning assembly or gathering, will take place at the Coastal KZN College’s AS-Salaam Campus in Port Shepstone, under Ugu District, on Tuesday, 05 April from 12h00 till 15h30.

About 200 community members are expected to take part in this robust dialogue, where they will be grappling around the issues of HIV prevention, management, control and access to healthcare, with the hope that they will together get to the heart of the problem.

The Bill of Rights sets out a number of rights, including the right to access information and the right access to health care, which includes reproductive rights, but there are various challenges and limitations, especially for people living in rural communities.

There are a number of contributing factors to this growing number of HIV infections in KwaZulu Natal, including false traditional beliefs, sexual violence, and lack of educational programmes.

The Ugu District is made up of six local municipalities, five of them are mainly rural municipalities, with high rates of unemployment and poverty. According to the latest statistics, HIV prevalence is at 27.9% amongst people between 15 and 49 years in KZN. However, this Imbizo, doesn’t just want the numbers to decrease, but, provide insight on how to enhance and strengthen peer education, sexual rights and reproductive health.  

Hibiscus Coast Municipality youth manager, Phumlani Mzobe, said his office chose to join this campaign because dialogues have much larger impact than campaigns, “Dialogues give people the opportunity to talk. It goes deeper in finding root causes. For example, people will get the opportunity to say why are we still skeptical in terms of using prevention measures,” he said.

KZN activators who are planning this dialogue hope it will eradicate the myths on HIV/AIDS prevention methods, address the issues on stereotype in relation to HIV/AIDS, create zero tolerant on stigma and further influence the Department of Health’s policies. Though, the target audience is youth, adults are also invited to take part, in order for intergenerational conversation to also take place. During the event the community will also be updated on the latest developments in government’s efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  

Unlike other dialogues, there will be no panelists, One of Imbizo organisers, Nkosinathi Mpungose, activator 2014, said they want the session to encourage maximum participation of all attendants and create a safe environment for people to talk, teach and learn.

Nkosinathi further explained that the aim is not to infringe people’s rights to choose, sexuality and reproduction, but to engage on what influences their choices and how they can choose knowing the facts about HIV/AIDS.    

“We are doing this informative dialogue because there are cultural beliefs that constitute myths on HIV/AIDS, while the health care support is limited, so we’re hoping that by facilitating a conversation we will create awareness,” he added.

This dialogue will happen while South Africa is getting ready to host one of the biggest events in the world, International AIDS Conference, from 18 to 22 July in Durban. This year’s main focus is to explore different systems and ideas to empower the country on improving the health system and services concerning HIV/AIDS.

Youth and adolescents are the concern of the international community and RSA have challenges on the group age participations when it comes to the topic. The Imbizo will also create a culture where young people can express and voice out their sex lifestyle with their peers and come up with possible solutions.

Sanele Hadebe, activator 2013, says it’s important that this conversation is led by young people, “It’s one of the conversations that young people shy away from them because some of them feel like they don’t know enough, some of them feel like they are not touched, but the reality is that we’re all affected. We can also reduce government spending, therefore taxes. The more young people are aware of the facts the more they will behave accordingly,” he said.  

A number of government departments and non-government organisations such as, THINK, Ugu Youth Office, Hope to Educate, Islamic Medical Association, Let’s stop AIDS are in full support of this initiative. Community leaders, including the royal house representatives will also take part.

This dialogue is part of a series named Youth Imbizo, under the umbrella theme ‘Democracy in Action’, whereby activators facilitate conversations in their communities to build and shame South Africa’s democracy.

 

Youth to Lead a Conversation on HIV/AIDS in Kwazulu-Natal

KwaZulu-Natal activators are joining forces with various organisations to fight against HIV infections, which continue to hit this province.

A three-hour dialogue, named Imbizo- a Zulu word meaning assembly or gathering, will take place at the Coastal KZN College’s AS-Salaam Campus in Port Shepstone, under Ugu District, on Tuesday, 05 April from 12h00 till 15h30.

About 200 community members are expected to take part in this robust dialogue, where they will be grappling around the issues of HIV prevention, management, control and access to healthcare, with the hope that they will together get to the heart of the problem.

The Bill of Rights sets out a number of rights, including the right to access information and the right access to health care, which includes reproductive rights, but there are various challenges and limitations, especially for people living in rural communities.

There are a number of contributing factors to this growing number of HIV infections in KwaZulu Natal, including false traditional beliefs, sexual violence, and lack of educational programmes.

The Ugu District is made up of six local municipalities, five of them are mainly rural municipalities, with high rates of unemployment and poverty. According to the latest statistics, HIV prevalence is at 27.9% amongst people between 15 and 49 years in KZN. However, this Imbizo, doesn’t just want the numbers to decrease, but, provide insight on how to enhance and strengthen peer education, sexual rights and reproduction health. 

Hibiscus Coast Municipality youth manager, Phumlani Mzobe, said his office chose to join this campaign because dialogues have much larger impact than campaigns, “Dialogues give people the opportunity to talk. It goes deeper in finding root causes. For example, people will get the opportunity to say why are we still skeptical in terms of using prevention measures,” he said.

KZN activators who are planning this dialogue hope it will eradicate the myths on HIV/AIDS prevention methods, address the issues on stereotype in relation to HIV/AIDS, create zero tolerant on stigma and further influence the Department of Health’s policies. Though, the target audience is youth, adults are also invited to take part, in order for intergenerational conversation to also take place. During the event the community will also be updated on the latest developments in government’s efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS. 

Unlike other dialogues, there will be no panelists, One of Imbizo organisers, Nkosinathi Mpungose, activator 2014, said they want the session to encourage maximum participation of all attendants and create a safe environment for people to talk, teach and learn.

 

Nkosinathi further explained that the aim is not to infringe people’s rights to choose, sexuality and reproduction, but to engage on what influences their choices and how they can choose knowing the facts about HIV/AIDS.   

“We are doing this informative dialogue because there are cultural beliefs that constitute myths on HIV/AIDS, while the health care support is limited, so we’re hoping that by facilitating a conversation we will create awareness,” he added.

This dialogue will happen while South Africa is getting ready to host one of the biggest events in the world, International AIDS Conference, from 18 to 22 July in Durban. This year’s main focus is to explore different systems and ideas to empower the country on improving the health system and services concerning HIV/AIDS.

Youth and adolescents are the concern of the international community and RSA have challenges on the group age participations when it comes to the topic. The Imbizo will also create a culture where young people can express and voice out their sex lifestyle with their peers and come up with possible solutions.

Sanele Hadebe, activator 2013, says it’s important that this conversation is led by young people, “It’s one of the conversations that young people shy away from them because some of them feel like they don’t know enough, some of them feel like they are not touched, but the reality is that we’re all affected. We can also reduce government spending, therefore taxes. The more young people are aware of the facts the more they will behave accordingly,” he said. 

A number of government departments and non-government organisations such as, THINK, Ugu Youth Office, Hope to Educate, Islamic Medical Association, Let’s stop AIDS are in full support of this initiative. Community leaders, including the royal house representatives will also take part.

This dialogue is part of a series named Youth Imbizo, under the umbrella theme ‘Democracy in Action’, whereby activators facilitate conversations in their communities to build and shape South Africa’s democracy.

Join the conversation on twitter. Hashtag #ActivateImbizo and engage. 

Last chance to register to vote

Who can register as a voter?

• You must be a South African citizen.
• You must have a South African green bar-coded identity document (ID), a smartcard ID or a temporary ID certificate.
• You must be 16 years or older (but you will only be able to vote when you are 18 years or older).
• You have to register in person. Nobody can do it for you.
REMEMBER: If you do not have your green bar-coded ID book or a smartcard ID, you need to apply for one at the Department of Home Affairs. It takes at least four weeks.
Once you have registered to vote, you do not need to re-register to vote in future elections.
You will only need to re-register if:
• You have moved house and are living in a different voting district.
• You have been affected by the re-drawing of the voting district and/or ward boundaries.
Why should you register?
• If you don’t register, you cannot vote. And if you don’t vote, you are giving up a very important way of making your voice heard.
• It is your right and civic duty to choose your public representatives. So it is important to register as soon as possible.
Where can you register?
• Register to vote in person at a registration station in the voting district in which you live.
• Register at your local IEC office from Monday to Friday during office hours. Because registration is on-going, you can register whether an election is taking place or not.
The IEC opens its registration stations during registration weekends just before general elections. Make sure that the address you provide is correct and complete. The address shows where you normally live. REMEMBER: If you give false address information, it is a crime. You could go to jail for up to 10 years.
How does registration work?
The barcode of your ID or smartcard will be scanned. The registration official will place a receipt in your ID book or on a form.
The receipt will show:
• Proof of application
• Your ID number
• The voting district number of your voting station
• Date and time of your application
Your ID book/smartcard will be checked when you vote to make sure that it is YOU. Your personal details on the voters’ roll will be the same as on your ID/smartcard.
How do you check if you are registered?
• Check at your local IEC Office from Monday to Friday during office hours.
• SMS your ID number to 32810.
• Go to the IEC website (www.elections.org.za) and follow the link “Am I registered to vote?”
• Before general elections, check the voters’ roll at your voting station where you are registered to vote. You can do this during the voter registration weekends.