A male is born, but a man is built

The founder of Inyathuko Community Project, Snqobile Mkwanazi, convened the mens` seminar under the theme “a man without a vision is a man with no direction’’ at Inanda (ohlange). The objective of the seminar was to groom the participants to strive for change in society. The community members came out in numbers to engage on the topic which speaks directly to how men should portray their characters and play positive roles in the community.

Snqobile addressed participants about character. “Character is determined by the behaviour, love will build the character and it is impossible to disseminate something you do not have therefore change has to start within men.” He said they need to convey positive actions which will influence younger generations. He went on to say that principles will serve as navigation toward what is good for the community, if males are in a standard to be called men they need to earn it. Men implements thoughts, they speak their minds, and serving the community is a norm to men said Snqobile.

Pastor Sipho Shezi from Ohlange, addressed the essence of a man and outlined that a male is born but a man is built, the man is the image of God. He said for a man to have vision, he needs to live under the supervision of God. He said in this century we have more males than men, large numbers of males are in jail because their thinking capacity contributed to actions that lead them to be imprisoned. He added for males to become men they need to know their values and virtues and set principles.

Care Works spokesperson Goodday Majola, who is a community mobiliser told men to use condoms or use birth control. He then encouraged men to go for circumcision, and he said using condom if you are circumcised will contribute to 100% safety. He said it is irresponsible to have sex without condom.

The key note speaker, Malusi Mahlaba shared his journey of growing up without a father. He said he had faced many overwhelming challenges with no one to mentor him. Mahlaba is a true example of from adversity comes success and against all odds, his situation drove him to become the founder of the Lindelani Youth Forum. He emphasised that the participants should play a man’s role in their families. He presented statistics that found 63% of youth that commit suicide are from fatherless homes and 71% of all high school dropouts grew up without a father. He said education is the key and men should play their part in making change. The stakeholders who contributed to the successful event were Development Youth Art and Empowerment Business, Africa Unite and Democracy Development Programme. All participants were given symbolic yellow ribbons. It’s hoped the ribbons will remind participants that they are no longer males but they are men. The ribbons should inspire them to drive change in society.

Meet Thulisile Bhuda

Name: Thulisile Bhuda

Province: Mpumalanga

Facebook: Thulisile Alice Bhuda

Twitter handle: alice_omuhle

Thulisile Bhunda is a 24 year old female from Kwaggafontein, KwaNdebele in Mpumalanga. She is currently doing her Masters in Indigenous Knowledge Systems at the North West University, Mafikeng campus. She believes that she was born a leader and that it is her responsibility to change the world into a better place.

 Why did you decide to be part of the ACTIVATE! Network?

I have leadership skills and qualities and I believe Activate is an organisation that will assist me in enhancing such skills and qualities.

What did you enjoy the most about training?

Team work in every task we were given and also learning from other Activators.

How has training helped you or changed your perspective?

I have gained so much knowledge that will assist me in projects I am involved in and also give me ideas on how to improve the way I have been doing things.

What do you think the role of the youth is in developing the country?

Good education which can even assist in transforming the economy of the country.

What is your field of interest?

Community development and youth development

How would you like to drive change in your community?

Through tutoring programmes and career guidance

Now that you have completed training, how do you plan to keep active in the network?

Develop new ideas that can develop the projects I am currently working on and also involve other Activators in my projects

What are your plans for this year?

Continue with my studies and be part of the projects I have been working on.

Additional information you would like us to know?

In 2016 Thulisile was nominated to go and represent the North West University in South Korea. She was chosen because of her academic excellence and leadership skills. In South korea, she participated in the global walk, conference, and community work. The North West University is the first university to have the IKS programme in the entire continent and about 2012 in was declared as science and technology by the institution and went to the faculty of agriculture, science and technology in 2013. In 2013, first year student came and Thulisile was a part of them. On the 24th of April 2017, these students graduated but only one of them got a distinction and that is Thulisile Bhuda. This makes her the first student not only in the country but in the continent to graduate with a distinction since IKS was declared as science and technology. There are currently universities that offer IKS such as University and UKZN but the North West University has the first graduates in the entire continent. This young lady she is also a member of the golden key international society that only recognizing 15% top students in every university and invite them to be members. The gold belt and rope on her neck represent academic excellence from the Golden key international honour society since she is a member. Thulisile was raised by a single parent and grandmother. She grew up in a happy home and decided to be a believer at the age of 14. Prayer is her strongest weapon to conquer and the church family has always supported her. She is currently a junior lecturer at her university, lecturing ethno-mathematics. This young lady believes that indigenous knowledge is the future and it was a calling to her in order to promote it, preserve it and disseminate it. She is interested in doing a PhD in Indigenous Knowledge systems with a thesis in geometry within the cultural life of the Ndebele people.

Sinazo Peter a Future Shaper

Flim-maker, activist and community development worker

“I had a difficult upbringing owing to my family background and circumstances that forced me to be an adult at a young age. I had to sacrifce my youth to respond to the needs of my family. Having lost my parents at a young age, I had to look after myself.”

“Through hard work and determination, I completed highschool and went on to study filmmaking at Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking. In March 2017, I represented young women in community development in Zimbabwe, USA and Italy, where I shared my experiences as a young leader and activist in South Africa.”

“My community development initiative Best Dads Movement, sets out to address the challenge of absent fathers and irresponsible men in society. We groom young boys to be better men. We’ve created a platform for these young men to have dialogues with each other and share their challenges to help each other grow.”

“One day I would like to have a childrens home where kids are exposed to experiential learning after school, according to their interests. I want to transform lives and contribute to raising responsible individuals in South Africa and the world.”

Athenkosi Nzala doing his bit to empower the next generation of leaders

Athenkosi Nzala, is a final-year civil engineering student at UCT who is committed to helping others.

He is the executive director and founder of AfrikaCan Foundation, which is a creative tutoring and mentorship programme that fuels passion for academic and social success through encouraging and inspiring high school learners to learn and think about how they learn.

He is a member of Inspire Foundation Group Africa where he is head of personal development ensuring the mentorship and academic development of students from Grade 10 to 12 at Bisho High School where he went to school.

Our June Hero is also a volunteer for Call 2 Care that builds and maintains vegetable garden beds for disadvantaged schools.

During his years at UCT, he has been a first-year civil engineering mentor, orientation Leader, 100UP mentor, EBE student council member, Engineers without Borders – Litre of Light project, a member of the interim SRC 2016/2017 where he held the portfolio of Labour Relations and Student Services.

Origonal post by Lead SA.

A! Hackathon

Red Africa – #RIPPhilela #RIP_Philela

Sincerest condolences to the family, friends and comrades of the late Philela Gilwa. May his efforts and dedicated works outlive him!

Red Africa

Blood red

Dry and red
Barren and bare
Africa is as red as Mars
Dry as the lips of her hungry
I guess she must also be hungry
What other reason can she possibly have to eat her own children?
Children that she bled to bare
Children that she dared to raise against all odds?

Blood red

The same belly that carried them alive
Has become the grave that houses their dead bodies

Blood red!

Bones like thorns poking and piercing the heart of anyone who dares to come close enough to make a difference
Death sentences are no longer left to the judicial system
But are rather the last prayers of young people who dare to take a stand against injustice

Blood and bones

Mother Africa
Turned into a hot Mars that preys over her young
A place of interest
Where outsiders live more comfortably that the natives


Blood dripping off of the claws of the monsters that have worn Africa like a glove

Ironically not to protect but to exploit her


Screaming for justice… For mercy… For a chance.
Chris Hani has now become a noun
A name dressed in “gang violence” and suicide
Accidents that “unexpectedly”, yet conveniently, murders young Africans
Men and women who dare to speak the truths that have been marked taboo

Yet their blood cries

Their blood marks Africa
The land of their ancestors
Their blood echoes
Their blood screams
Blood red
Hope for the redemption of Africa
Hope to repossess Africa from the claws if the animals that use her as a pawn
The claws that snatch her young through her own fingers
The claws that Chris Hani her sons and daughters

Blood everywhere
My blood boils with rage
It’s enough!


Hear the cries of your children

Cradle them

Protect them

Comfort them

Tell them that everything will be okay

Become the home they long for…

CPR them back to life

Protect your bloodline

Red Africa!

How long will the Blood of Africans stain your streets oh Africa!

K.D Mashile

Unite as youth leaders to change the system

Name: Honourable Spheh Bhengu

Province: KwaZulu-Natal

Facebook: Honourable Spheh Bhengu

Why did you decide to be part of the ACTIVATE! Network?

I decided to join the ACTIVATE! Network because I saw it as an opportunity for me to learn about building and running a social development organisation. I was also eager to learn more ways of introducing change to my community.

What did you enjoy the most about training?

Firstly, during the training sessions I realised that I am not the only person that has faced worst life experiences – that was a comforting realisation. Also, understanding that in order to change South Africa for the better, I have to start making small changes in my community was a big lesson.

How has training helped you or changed your perspective?

After the training I was able to clearly identify my strengths and weaknesses, which changed the way I view things, especially current affairs.

What do you think the role of the youth is in developing the country?

I believe that the positive transformation of South Africa, especially for previously disadvantaged people, is our responsibility as the youth.  If we can unite as youth leaders, we can find ways to change the current system and make it more inclusive of black people. Our role is to hold the government and other stakeholders accountable for the betterment of our communities. .

What is your field of interest?

I am interested in politics because I believe that in order to be a good leader, I should be updated on current affairs. Music is my second interest because I see it as perfect tool to bring young people together and it heals souls. My third area of interest is education because it is the only key to success.

How would you like to drive change in your community?

I would like to drive change in my community by firstly ensuring that young children and senior citizens are taken care of. Then I would like to empower the youth with skills and knowledge to initiate strategies for the benefit of the community. Lastly, I would like to bridge the gap between private and public education by ensuring quality and equal education for all.

What are your plans for this year?
I plan to get a job so that I can improve my matric results and further my studies. I can’t preach the importance of education to other people while I am uneducated. I also want to register my social development organisation and revive my music career.

How will you be involving the Network in your plans?

By working together with my fellow Activators and support them in their initiatives.

Additional information you would like us to know?

I am a recorded artist and I was once a radio presenter on Inanda FM.


PRESS RELEASE                                                                                                                       

 In an attempt to make education more accessible to young people living with disabilities, three young social entrepreneurs and members of the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers network from the City of Tshwane are preparing to walk more than 600KM. From 16 August to 01 September, Omphile Mangwagape, Dennis Tolo and Samuel Modise of Enabling Disability Education Nationally NPC (EDEN), together with six associates and colleagues, will embark on a foot journey from Tshwane all the way to Durban as a fundraising effort for education and wellbeing of youth with disabilities.

EDEN is a non-profit organisation dedicated to finding poverty reduction solutions for young people living with disabilities, with a key focus on education. The organisation’s co-founder and CEO, Mangwagape, says the initiative, #WalkForYouthDisabilityEducation, is a campaign not only to raise funds but also a tool to create awareness of the challenges facing young people with disabilities.

“Young people with disabilities are often excluded from mainstream society due to their limited access to the physical environment including public transportation, education and other facilities.   We can’t afford universal design living arrangements and for some of us even completing a standard academic schedule is a struggle, physically, financially and, in some cases, mentally,” says Mangwagape who has a mild cognitive impairment.

#WalkForYouthDisabilityEducation will commence from Transoranje School for the Deaf in Tshwane and conclude at ACTIVATE! Change Drivers’ offices in Musgrave, Durban. The group will walk a minimum of 9 hours a day over a period of 15 days. The aim is to collect at least R2, 000 per kilometer walked.  A portion of the proceeds from the initiative will be donated to the Transoranje School for the Deaf and the Fanang Diatla Centre for the Disabled in Temba.

“The secondary objective of the #WalkForYouthDisability campaign is to enable EDEN a financial capacity to accomplish its ultimate aim. That is to select deserving young people with disabilities and fund their higher education and training. Additionally, we plan on building supportive and enabled environments for young people with disabilities during their academic careers and their transition into the world of employment,” explains Mangwagape.

For more information or to make a donation, please contact Samuel Modise on 082 5100 432 or email sammy75modise@gmail.com.  Alternatively, you can fund the initiative through crowdfunding on www.thundafund.com/project/eden.




About ACTIVATE! Change Drivers

ACTIVATE! Change Drivers is a network of 2000 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.

About Enabling Disability Education Nationally (EDEN)

EDEN is a non-profit organisation founded by social activists Omphile Mangwagape, Dennis Tolo and Samuel Modise in response to a calling to drive change in the lives of young South Africans with disabilities. The organisation is dedicated to finding poverty reduction solutions for young people living with disabilities, with a key focus on education.

About Transoranje School for the Deaf

Transoranje School for the Deaf provides specialised education to profoundly deaf learners from preschool to Grade 12. The public school caters for the complete education and well-being of about 202 learners with deafness from a diverse cross-section of personal, social and economic backgrounds.

About Fanang Diatla Centre for the Disabled

Based in Temba Township, Tshwane,  Fanang Diatla Centre for the Disabled caters for young people with special educational requirements due to mental and physical challenges. The Centre provides a broad and balanced curriculum that is designed to especially for these young people.

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

For media related queries, please contact:

Zilungile Zimela

Communications/PR: ACTIVATE! Change Drivers

Email: zilungile@localhost  (cc: communications@localhost)


21 July 2017

Activators are young people who have a strong sense of self, who are well equipped to respond progressively to the challenges that plague South Africa and critically engage in big discussions that merit actionable results. ACTIVATE! Change Drivers is a network of over 2000 young leaders spread across South Africa.

The National Youth Policy characterizes youth as assets whose power must be harnessed for the betterment of society. Given that youth constitutes over 50% of the population in South Africa, it is critical for this demographic to be empowered and equipped to contribute positively into the public realm. The network views multi-sectoral collaboration as integral to the solution of the interminable challenges facing South Africa.

It is in this respect that ACTIVATE! Change Drivers deems it important to highlight the invaluable contribution of Gxakwe Projects for their donation of office furniture to ACTIVATE! and Activators in order to assist in carrying out its imperative to make a meaningful difference within the communities in which they live. The aforementioned equipment has not only improved our working space outlook but has contributed to the making of a habitable space where Activators now gather comfortably to discuss issues of national concern, impart knowledge- thereby growing from it all.

The beneficiaries of the furniture as follows:

  • The ACTIVATE! office in Braamfontein. (Where we also used the couch for a video recording and at the Gauteng entrepreneurship expo.)
  • The Kagiso Station which also serves as resource station (Contact: Matshepo Moatshe 078 676 5348) in Kagiso.
  • Nhlanhla Mbawula who runs a literacy and reading programme from his offices (062 198 4476) in Thokoza.
  • Sandile Ntethe who is a life coach (061 115 1446) in Tsakane.
  • Nhlanhla Ndlovu who runs a consultancy business (076 689 6231) in Soweto.
  • Olerato Serojane who runs Kitsong, a homework and after school centre (081 276 4421/ 071 239 4575) in Kagiso.

On social media:

Twitter: @ActivateZA

Facebook: ACTIVATE! Change Drivers

Website: www.activateleadership.co.za

Instagram: Activate_za













67 minutes and beyond

It is said that 1% of the worlds’ richest OWN 90% of the wealth in the world. This is the tragic reality of our time, but what I do know is that our network of 2000 plus young leaders who are driving change in the communities of South Africa is going to CHANGE this world; 67 minutes and beyond.

The commemoration of former President Nelson Mandela’s legacy of nation building in the month of July further reinforces our commitment to carry the baton forward of being at the forefront of addressing issues that affect us as youth and add our own footprints on the road to a future worthy of our longing.

Having said that; young people have continued to struggle to find the need and avenues for effective participation within local government outside of the party political spectrum, placing the bulk of implementation and decision-making around key youth and service delivery issues in the hands of what has lately come to be known as a ‘corrupt and unresponsive government’.

This is what led us to put a call out to the network in July 2016 for a 50-strong group of Activators from all the nine provinces to serve as local government champions in our successful and growing Youth Making Local Government Work Advocacy Campaign. Our motto and objective are: Youth Matter and have the power and vital role to play in building this country; and ours is to empower and capacitate them to speak for themselves as agents of change and gain access to decision making platforms in spaces that they influence.

Our first intervention was our participation in the 2016 local government elections as observers to ensure free and fair elections; receive training from the IEC and conduct community civic engagement sessions to encourage youth to vote and stand as councilors themselves; two activators Bheka Ntuli from Nelson Mandela Municipality and Rudzani from Limpopo were successful in their campaigns and now serve as councilors in their wards. We plan to encourage more youth to do the same in 2021.

In the words of Motsatsi Mmola who campaigned as an independent candidate: “Seeing my picture on the ballot paper showed me that anything is possible and I have never looked back. Now I am on my way to Kenya for six months to learn new skills that I will use to better my community when I come back.”

The result was a resounding success with the group growing from 50 to 87; and real time reporting taking place in voting stations reaching over  482 000 people on the day through social media.

Equally, engagement between government representatives and young people is largely prevalent around election time, but falls away soon after, reinforcing the stereotypes around the power (or lack) that a vote has. In keeping up the momentum of the campaign, our local government agents continue to conduct councilor engagements as part of a longer term accountability campaign to hold public servants to the commitments made and to find avenues of collaboration in realising the common vision of moving young people from disadvantaged communities from one level of development to another.

Some of the members in the campaign also formed part of the Walala Wasala TV programme which profiled young people doing great works to address community issues in local government. The programme played over 13 weeks on SABC 1.

This in addition to our Youth Making Local Government Work Facebook page which continues to serve as an inspiration and information dissemination platform of the great works that have continued to be undertaken by our champions in their communities with both the network and the public at large. Coverage in both local and mainstream media has also helped to add credibility to our work and spread the message.

I can say with certainty that the mission that we have taken on as the collective to highlight new and existing opportunities for young people to define the next wave of democracy and development in South Africa is definitely not an easy task: access to physical and human resources; including funding to reach the deeper rural areas continue to be a challenge; including the majority of councilors we have tried to interact with who are not open to transparency and partnerships to working with young people. One other major obstacle is the mind set shift and the breaking down of negative stereotypes that still needs to take place amongst the growing numbers of apathetic and despondent youth who find themselves unemployed and susceptible to social ills and parenthood at an early age and given up on their dreams and passions.

Our future plans include collaborations with the national Department of Cooperative Governance who are willing to support us in upscaling and replicating the work already begun nationally; including the creation of spaces through their newly launched local government forum for young people to participate in partnership with key stakeholders that address youth and community issues such as SALGA and NYDA. In the forum launch they allocated us a space on the panel with the deputy minister to speak on youth leadership based on our experience in the sector.

Civics Association is also keen to sponsor future community engagements with the group and work with us to tailor content on civic education, simplifying policy documents for youth and to support us to grow our observer campaign in the lead up to the 2019 elections.

We are also looking forward to formalize our relationship with the Youth Directorate in the Gauteng Office of the Premier to participate in the training of their youth focal points who are responsible for the implementation of youth development programmes within their respective functions in the province. This will be a great shared learning space and opportunity to share best practices in delivering services to marginalised youth.

Working together, a bright future is inevitable and it is never too late to take on the baton in the selfless service of others for the public good; 67 minutes at a time.

What is very clear is that we CANNOT and SHOULD NOT do it alone. The state of the nation and building it is the responsibility of all who dwell in it: Government; private sector and every single citizen.


South Africans need more than 67 minutes

“The ACTIVATE! Network works on community development 365 days a year. We are calling on South Africa continue the legacy of Mandela beyond 18 July, because South Africa needs more than 67 minutes on one day,” says Activator Bongi Ndlovu who is the frontrunner of the A! Dare campaign. A! Dare is calling South Africans to carry on the spirit of Mandela’s Legacy throughout the year and to commit to change by working with Activators post Mandela Day.

“It is in your hands to make of the world a better place,” said the late great Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela, urging young people to actively participate in making the country a better place to live in. Activators, members of the ACTIVATE! Network, respect and love the idea of Mandela Day and feel that a lot would be achieved if, just like Madiba, all citizens commit to change by giving back to the community more than the required by the Mandela Day Campaign.

What would South Africa look like if we decided that the private sector, the public sector and the civic sector come together, as we do every year? If you’re #CommittedToChange, please support the campaign by following this link for Activator events: http://bit.ly/2sO0U9X. To support Bongi Ndlovu’s event please follow this link: https://twibbon.com/freecampaigns.


ACTIVATE! is a network of 2000 young leaders equipped to drive change for the public good across South Africa. Connecting youth who have the skills, sense of self and spark to address tough challenges and initiate innovative and creative solutions that can reshape our society.

For more information about campaign:

Bongi Ndlovu: 079 270 3536/084 533 1840



Facebook : ACTIVATE! Change Drivers

Twitter : @ActivateZA

Instagram: @Activate_za

Website: www.activateleadership.co.za

For media related queries, please contact:

Zilungile Zimela

Communications/PR Department













17 July 2017

For immediate release


RE: South Africans needs more than 67 minutes


“The ACTIVATE! Network works on community development 365 days a year. We are calling on South Africa continue the legacy of Mandela beyond 18 July, because South Africa needs more than 67 minutes on one day,” says Activator Bongi Ndlovu who is the frontrunner of the A! Dare campaign. A! Dare is calling South Africans to carry on the spirit of Mandela’s Legacy throughout the year and to commit to change by working with Activators post Mandela Day.


“It is in your hands to make of the world a better place,” said the late great Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela, urging young people to actively participate in making the country a better place to live in. Activators, members of the ACTIVATE! Network, respect and love the idea of Mandela Day and feel that a lot would be achieved if, just like Madiba, all citizens commit to change by giving back to the community more than the required by the Mandela Day Campaign.


What would South Africa look like if we decided that the private sector, the public sector and the civic sector come together, as we do every year? If you’re #CommittedToChange, please support the campaign by following this link for Activator events: http://bit.ly/2sO0U9X. To support Bongi Ndlovu’s event please follow this link: https://twibbon.com/freecampaigns.




ACTIVATE! is a network of 2000 young leaders equipped to drive change for the public good across South Africa. Connecting youth who have the skills, sense of self and spark to address tough challenges and initiate innovative and creative solutions that can reshape our society.


For more information about campaign:

Bongi Ndlovu: 079 270 3536/084 533 1840





Facebook : ACTIVATE! Change Drivers

Twitter : @ActivateZA

Instagram: @Activate_za

Website: www.activateleadership.co.za


For media related queries, please contact:

Zilungile Zimela

Communications/PR Department

Cell: 078 255 3378











Another article about RAPE!

Research shows that at least one in every six American women has been a victim of a sexual offence, or an attempt thereof, in her lifetime. In South Africa, on the other hand, it is said that about 40% of all South African women have been victims of rape. Shocking? And these statistics are only based on the cases that were reported. A survey showed that about 91% of all rape cases go unreported. In spite of the extensive research done and published, the various organisations established and all other efforts to fight the demon that is rape, we still have an approximated 2000 girls between the ages of 15 and 22 being infected with HIV/AIDS on a daily basis, most of whom are infected through rape. The question people ask is, “If she was really raped, why did she not report it?”

As simple as it may seem to report a rape case, it becomes difficult because society still dresses up rape as a reaction instead of a disorder. The issue is not that she did not report the case; it is rather that she was raped. Therefore, the process of reporting the case should not be punitive to the victim by prolonging the traumatic situation she has been forced into. To solve the rape problem, the perpetrator must be addressed, not the victim. Hence, asking the “if” question is in itself a problem, as it suggests that she could possibly be lying – which, to be fair, is not impossible. However, rape is a real issue that needs urgent attention.

Women and children are being raped in their homes, schools and workplaces. Yet the first thing we are conditioned to ask is, “what was she wearing” or “why was she alone with him in the first place?” Why do we continue to teach women, the victims, how not to get raped instead of teaching men how not to rape? Is this not the insanity of repeating the same process and expecting different results that Eistein spoke of?

Take the currently trending Xola and Kamvelihle case for instance, what do we as young leaders do when one of our own suffers the same injustice that we claim to be fighting against? Is it enough to share her pictures with the hashtag #MenAreTrash or leave a “We Believe You” comment on her status? This cannot be all that is done. Before we know it, everyone will forget and move on with their lives until another case comes up and a new hashtag is created. This passive activism is not taking us anywhere. We must educate our young men from as early as preschool on how to treat women. The same way little girls are taught to cover up, little boys must be taught to respect women. Pop culture will not raise the next generation of men not to rape, we must. Organizations such as Love Life, ACTIVATE!, Lead SA, Citizen ZA, etc. can only do so much! So make your “I believe you” count by going to speak at the local high school about gender based violence, run campaigns in your community, run a talk-shop with the young men in your neighbourhood, do something!

We must actively be about the things we talk about. One does not have to be a feminist to realise that gender based violence has got to stop. The stranger that little girls were warned about is suddenly not as scary as the man that claims to love her. This shows that there is a great need for young people to be taught how to relate to each other when issues of community development are concerned. It becomes futile to raise up men who seem to be leaders in the workplace, in politics and in the community but fail to be decent human beings at home. If for no other reason, it is futile because it means that they will breed a generation of men who will have the same struggles that we see today.

There has been a lot written on the topic of rape, so much so that we have begun to become apathetic. However, this is ironic because rape happens even in the most intellectual of spaces. Instead of telling you what you already know, I am rather going to call you to action. Be the difference in the spaces you find yourself in. Bring up the conversation in your classrooms, at work, in the bus that you take every day, in your friendship circles… educate the men around you and compel them to educate others. The only way that we are to fight rape culture is to stand up as a collective and say enough is enough.

My “I believe you” to the rape victims around me led me to write this article so that your “I believe you” can become an action that will aid you never to have to “believe” anyone again. Change begins when you and I take a stand and stop being passive activists!

Photo credit: Wonderslist

Africa-The leader of gender-based violence globally

Activators from Cape Town gathered on Tuesday with various other young people working towards social change, social cohesion and the promotion of human rights. The purpose of the hackathon was to unpack the problem with the intention of coming up with actionable solutions. The dialogue, convened in a recording studio facilitated by Events Project Manager Lezerine Mashaba of the ACTIVATE!Change Drivers Network. In an informal setting, young people shared real life stories and educated perspectives on the origin of gender-based violence and how a nation like South Africa can progressively move forward, healing the broken, punishing the perpetrators and educating the young ones to respect people, irrespective of their gender. “Coming from an Afrikaans background where I was taught to never question anything related to sexual orientation and gender, I found it hard to discuss any issue connected to gender violence as there was no room open for that,” said Susan, a student at City Varsity- Cape Town.

Despite the immeasurable ills the African continent has endured over the centuries, from civil war, colonialism, segregation, apartheid, slavery, and misogyny they are lagging behind when it comes to addressing gender-based violence. “Structural apartheid purposefully built shebeens within every 100m2 of the townships so that after a 12 hour working day, a mine worker could drink till they are intoxicated and return home to a wife and children onto whom they would spill-over all their frustrations of the day. Even today, we have not done enough as a nation to address how alcohol consumption contributes to gender-based violence,” said Lulama Mali. Despite all the efforts that have been made to ensure that Africa once again rises to the glory and power it once enjoyed, gender-based violence; intimate partner violence and the violence against children still reminds us that our continent is indeed ill.

According to the Mc Millan dictionary, gender-based violence (GBV) is informed by crimes involving women especially in the home by a partner, usually a male with the intention to do bodily harm which at times is grievous and can lead to death. These crimes are mostly perpetuated by men against other men, children, relatives and intimate partners who have no regard or respect for women or human beings in general. “Unlearn your ills and occupy spaces that influence you positively,” said Activator and peace education activist Mkhuseli Madiba. The gripping reality is that men also experience GBV instigated by women and the African custom and perception of a man has not created enough room for men to report these cases or even go as far as calling them a crime. This is because they are committed by women which in a patriarchal sense represents a weaker gender that cannot fend for itself, let alone harm a man.

A few years ago, the devastating and gruesome knowledge of Nkululeko “Flabba” Habedi’s death, a founding member of the popular hip-hop group Skwatta Camp shook the country. He was found dead at the hand of his intimate partner, who later turned-out to be the alleged killer. The crime was reduced to intimate partner violence – a prime element of gender-based violence. “The kind of parenting we are brought up under promotes brokenness within us, the issues of violence we now face are as a result of the kind of households we come from. Our parents need to be re-educated on how to administer corporal punishment and discipline without using a rod,” explained Sinazo Peter, Activator and social activist from “Best Dads Movement.”

According to a study by George Durankiev on 08 June 2015, there is a total of 11 countries globally leading the scourge of gender-based violence and not enough is being done to re-educate men and women on how to view one another as human beings who are equally deserving of respect and protection. At number 11 is Russia followed by Iraq and Pakistan, at numbers 10 & 9 respectively, from number 8 to 2 in chronological order we have: India, Somalia, Mali, Guatemala, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan. The shocking truth is that a majority of the aforementioned countries are of from the African continent. At number one is Chad- a country with a tremendous history of a people who have beaten the odds just to be counted as people. They have endured economic instability due to corruption and unstable climatic variations, a country with a record of a population of 14 968 716 as at July 2017 source: Notrchad- worldpopulationrevie.com/countries/chad-population with a total 45% (6 735 922) people living below the poverty line and a population growth of 3% on average per annum. Our main problem is the proportion and extent to which we exercise culture, because African males go through a rites of passage which is conducted by other men and no education is passed onto them as to how to treat women in a society that is at most diverse.

These statistics beg the question, “What is the role that young people can play to ensure that these horror stories change?”

It is discussions and insights of this nature that called ACTIVATE!Change Drivers to take action steps against gender-based violence, “ Who determines how we should view culture, the very culture that informs violence?” questioned Kgotso Sothoane an Activator and social activist with a passion for educating people about GBV. According to activist, Brilliant Nyambi from Africa Unite: “Globalisation contributes to GBV because the same media which re-enforces patriarchal tendencies, wherein women are portrayed in a derogatory fashion, feeds into the ill desires of men.” These discussions and solution finding hackathons will spread to different corners of the country to educate people on how to review what they have been taught under a programmed  system that does not cater for the growing challenges of a country such as South Africa which is embodied and thoroughly immersed in diversity and volatility.

South African Government Brain Damage?

A sachet of sugar introduced me to an old proverb that reads, “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.” I immediately thought of the #NationalShutDown and #ZumaMustFall marches. I thought to myself, isn’t this another elephant fight at the expense of all the people at the grassroots level? Say Jacob Zuma falls, what happens then? Can the firing of a single man really guarantee the betterment of the lives of South African people?

Another thought reminded me of the state of our country. Assuming that South Africa in its entirety is a body, with the government as the head and the poorest of the poor at the very bottom; South Africa would be sitting with a very bad head injury at the moment. Our government is meant to make decisions that will benefit the rest of the body and if the brain’s decisions are harmful to the body, it is seen as a mental disorder. To avoid assuming that the country is retarded, I would rather assume that the country is temporarily in a comma of sorts. This meaning that we need some change to occur to avoid permanent brain damage.

As young people in South Africa, we are not only the largest population group, but we are the ones most affected by the government, or lack thereof, of our country. The businesses we build; the education we get – whether or not we can afford it; and the investments we make are affected both directly and indirectly by the decisions that are made in Parliament daily. This means that we have to play an active role in awakening our country from its current comma and minimise any further damage. The question that arises is how we are to do so?

In 1976, young people got tired of the plague of Bantu Education and consequently stood up to inform the government that it had to be remedied. This class of young people wanted to see change, in spite of the tolerance of the mediocre education system that they were socialised to be content with. And because of their willingness to undergo the much needed surgery, in spite of the risks, the country was then cured from that plague. This cure, however, brought with it the side effects which included fatality and trauma; all this so that the youth that are parented by the class of ’76 could have better opportunities to develop themselves and better South Africa.

However, the fall of Bantu Education was only the removal of one of South Africa’s brain tumours which resulted from the cancerous system of Apartheid. While Democracy cured this cancer, the youth of 1994 and beyond are still affected by the colossal economic failure that is still evident in the ever growing youth unemployment rates. With the country being declared economic junk status, the hope of the 55% youth unemployment rate dropping is seemingly non-existent. In today’s world, where young people are most likely to religiously study the tweets of a certain personality than read historical texts that will educate them on how to remedy the state of our nation, there is a serious need for the re-commitment of young people to the development of South Africa.

When asked for her observations of the struggle of today’s youth, former anti-apartheid activist Zubeida Jaffer said something along the lines of, “What made us successful is that we had a common goal and we believed in the cause. The problem with today’s youth is that there are too many focuses. There is no common goal.” We cannot expect to succeed while we’re busy cutting at the symptoms of our country’s mental state instead collectively focussing our energy on removing the cancer cells that have our country in its current comma state. This will require of us to decide on what the issue is. And if it is that we say that the government is leading the country into poverty, with youth unemployment being at the top of the side effects list. We must then agree on the most pressing tumour we would like to remove first as we cannot have too many surgeries happening at once. Are we going to focus on the Free Education Movement, on making Zuma fall or on land redistribution?

If we successfully attain Free Education, how will that affect the economy? Will it create job creators or will it mean more unemployed graduates? Similarly, will land redistribution guarantee job creation or will it be a repeat of the serial retrenchment fever that followed the closing of industrial factories after the 1994 elections? And how will the surgical reshuffling of the presidency ensure that the country wakes up from this comma? Will the power that corrupted him not corrupt the next president likewise? The questions are endless, yet we seem too quick to follow trends instead of asking the correct questions then lead from an informed position.

We are all in agreement; something must change today if we don’t want a has-been history written about South Africa forty years from now. South Africa needs urgent surgery. My question to the young leaders out there is, “How must this surgery look and what results will it yield”? 

Photo credit: Elderconsult.com




07 July 2017

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela.

To commemorate this year’s Mandela Day, members of the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers Network, “Activators,” from different parts of the country will be carrying out various initiatives to give back to their communities during the month of July.  These young change makers are calling out for help from the public to help make their Mandela Day and July initiatives a success.



– Siphesihle Bhengu will be painting a school on 18 July and needs paints and brushes. He will also be distributing food parcels. Contact: 061 300 7763.  

– Melusi Mhlaba will be hosting a dialogue on Youth and Volunteerism on the 20 and 21 July along with a workshop on conflict management. He needs assistance with light refreshments and branding.  Contact: 062 006 8767.

– Nomfundo Mkhaba of Door To Door Foundation needs assistance with paint and paint brushes. She will be painting Magabeni Primary School on 18 July. Contact: 076 619 4036.

– Sikhethuxolo Nxumalo from Hammarsdale will be hosting an event on 29 July to entertain and reward underprivileged children in his community. He needs financial assistance. Contact: 063 732 2287.

–  Wandiswa Dlamini, Zethu Khanyile and Nolwazi Majola will be volunteering at Wylie House, a care centre for disadvantaged girls. They would like to donate sanitary pads and cosmetics to the girls and need your help in doing so. Contact: 082 319 6144.

–  Aphelele Gumede from Mtubatuba will be hosting an event on the 21 July for physically challenged people in her community. He hopes to handover 10 Wheelchairs, 200 t-shirts and is in need of sponsorship for refreshments. Contact: 072 472 4447.

– Noluthando Thobekile Nene from Savannah Park will be hosting an event on 18 July. The event is part of an awareness campaign to improve the health status and condition of the people of Savannah Park as many of them have ill health.  She needs volunteers and assistance with refreshments. Contact: noluthandotnen1@gmail.com.

– Nthabiseng Makoa will be hosting an awareness event on 18 July to encourage young people to commit to bringing change in the community of Kwasabisa in the Zululand Region. Makoa wishes to be sponsored with refreshments and branding. Contact: 083 725 6897.

– Afikile Tshona runs an NPO, Senzakahle and will be hosting an event called Men to Men on 22 July in Claremont to promote social cohesion among men in that area. Tshona would appreciate assistance with refreshments, banners and flyers for the event. Contact:   0780334149/0318253022.

– Nondumiso will be facilitating a mini seminar for the Durban LGBTI community on 20 July with ANOVA Health Institute (Health 4 Men project). The event will be held on Pinewood Park, Pinetown and will look at gender identity and expression. Contact 084 772 8921.

Eastern Cape

-Xolisile Malgas will be hosting a career expo in Mdantsane on 26 July. He needs financial assistance to cover transportation costs for the attendees. Contact: 074 463 1394.

– Nomfuzo Tulumane from Ngqeleni needs a donation of 22 pairs of schools shoes. She will hand these over to disadvantaged children in her community on 18 July. Contact: 060 473 8827.

– Sindile Mahambehlala, Nokonwaba Majavele, Khanya Gengqe and Nosicelo Mayekiso from Ngqeleni  will host an event on 18 July to distribute pens, sanitary towels, gardening equipment, paint, brushes and serve finger snacks. They would appreciate any form of donation. Contact: 071 967 7076.

– Sipho Gadayi from Barkly East will be giving an under resourced local high school a facelift and resources on 18 July.  He needs paint, brushes, paper, cleaning agents, office desks, office chairs, printer, photocopy machine and three desktop computers. Gadayi would appreciate any kind of assistance.  Contact: 083 352 0889.

– Muzi Nduku from Mbizana will be hosting a sport tournament / arts and culture event in his rural community. He would like to be assisted with four soccer balls, soccer kits for two teams, netball kits for seven teams as well as prizes for the winning teams. Contact: 078 748 9538.

– Abongile Davani from East London will be facilitating a reading session with Nali Bali on 18 July as a way of promoting literacy among children of school going age. Davani is currently working with seven schools in Willowvale and aims to spread his initiative to the greater Eastern Cape. She needs assistance with refreshments and transportation. Contact: 072 141 1383.

– Ntombizine Mfundisi  from Mqanduli will be distributing sanitary towels to school children on the 18 July. She needs 200 packs of sanitary towels.  Contact: 078 002 8941.

– Khanyisa Mabece and Likhona Peter from Alice need assistance with branding and bottled water for about 80 people as they will be convening a dialogue at the Fort Hare University on 21 July. The dialogue will be on abduction of young girls, women abuse and transformation in institutions of higher learning. Contact: 072 867 5980.

-Siya Jonas will be hosting a fun day,  ‘Fun 4 Kids’, for orphaned children in Mandela Bay on 31 July at Limekhaya High School and Ilinge Primary School. In addition to entertaining the orphaned children, the event seeks to make them feel safe in a world that devalues and harms children on a daily basis. Furthermore, Jonas aims to mentor the children and empower them with life skills to cope with the challenges of life. Jonas needs assistance with food parcels and clothing to donate to the children. Contact: 073 431 8152.

– Makhi Nobhozoyi will be hosting an event at an old age home in Zwide Township on 18 July. At the event, he will be planting a vegetable garden and giving a motivational talk. Nobhozoyi would appreciate any kind of support. Contact: 073 789 1961.

-Zenande Mthwezi and Khanya will be hosting a sporting event on 21 July in Milton Mbekela High School in Qunu. At the event, motivational speakers will be encouraging young people to be active citizens throughout the year, and not wait for Mandela Day to give back. Mthwezi and Khanye need refreshments for the event attendees. Contact: 073 736 5323.

Western Cape

– Silindile Ncube from Cape Town will be having a 67 minutes cleanup on 18 July in Durbanville. Ncube needs additional hands to help with the cleaning.  Contact: 072 447 6787


–  Shanon Tabane has been selected for a leadership program and needs R70000 to be able to attend it. Contact: 076 938 9891


– Monica Thulisile Bhuda will be hosting a career exhibition on 08 July in Kwaggafontein, KwaNdebele. Bhuda’s aim is to help matric students in that area to make informed decisions regarding the careers they wish to pursue upon completing their secondary studies. Contact: 073 388 1148.

For the rest of the year, the Activators will continue to lead various dialogues, community based engagements and projects of public benefit to speak about the pertinent issues that plague the youth of South Africa. Activators are #CommittedToChange by being mobile vehicles of change that stop at nothing to see transformation realised.

The #CommittedToChange campaign seeks to encourage young people to continuously take small but meaningful steps every day as their contribution towards the strengthening of a nation whose foundation has been shaken over the years. The campaign seeks to reach those in marginalized spaces, the differently abled and the excluded in the daily existence of inclusivity and freedom.  Through these events and initiatives the Activators are answering to that call every day.



ACTIVATE! Change Drivers is a network of 2000 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.

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

For media related queries, please contact:

Zilungile Zimela

Communications/PR : ACTIVATE! Change Drivers

Email: zilungile@activatechangedrivers.co.za  (cc: communications@localhost)

Cell: 078 255 3378

Activators share their thoughts about Mandela Day

In 2008 during Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday, he said, “It is time for new hands to lift the burdens. It is in your hands now.” The United Nations officially declared 18 July as International Mandela day in 2009.

Mandela day was founded so that people recognise the power they have in changing the world, starting with the people around them. The Mandela Foundation further explained that Mandela Day exists to recognise individual power to make an imprint and help change the world.

With all that being said we wanted to know what Mandela day meant to Activators, this is what they had to say:

Bongi Ndlovu 2013 Activator

SA needs all South Africans to come on board, not just one day but everyday to build the future 

“I think Mandela Day is an insult to us Activators as we work on building our communities 365 days a year. We don’t wait for one specific day of the year to do something. In fact, I would like to suggest that Activators take a day of rest on the day while SA joins the crucial need to work together to build SA for the better.”

Nonhlanhla Dube 2016 Activator

“Most of the people who talk about 67 minutes for Mandela Day are not avid volunteers. I get that sometimes it’s all people can afford to do but sometimes the stuff they do out here for Mandela day end up looking like a joke. As  an avid volunteer and activist, I think people should have something they stand for not just on Mandela Day but everyday. Don’t make noise about it only on July 18. Giving time and resources to those who need it shouldn’t be done one day in a year. I’m all for making it a Mandela day every day.”

Sphiwe Mgadi Activator 2016

“67 minutes for Mandela Day would sound better if land was expropriated with compensation, workers’ salaries are increased, service delivery improves and support of artists from all sectors take place. That is what I would expect South Africa to focus on on Mandela day.”

Phephisile Nkanyezi Activator 2016

“The day brings hope to many, it brings people together and if there’s something that South Africans stand united upon, it’s the spirit of the Mandela Day. Tatu Nelson Mandela is the back bone and pillar of our democracy, liberations, he is the very reason we have freedom. Our state of reality is a direct result of very big and sometimes hard decisions he had to make.

As an Activator this is a good reminder that a man gave his life for my liberation and it is my responsibility to take off from where he left. Mandela Day is a reminder that I have something to give to my generation and even if it may look impossible, if I put my mind to it, it’s possible.”

Activators who are part of the youth making local government work joined in on the Mandela Day conversation, coming up with what they think the solution could be. Activators opted for a different initiative on the day. They proposed a silent campaign that will make the Mandela Day volunteer promise continue by ensuring goodwill continues beyond Mandela Day.

The Youth Making Local Government Work team said, “We want to make sure there is real change in people’s lives not just for a day but for a lifetime. It is obvious that South Africans are keen to change our country for the better. Like Tata said, it is now in our hands to bring change. We urge Activators who want to help us make sure that Mandela day leaves an impact on people’s lives to join us in our campaign, they can do this by asking for more details at the A! help desk.”

Activator Motsatsi Mmola is going to Norway in August!!

As a disciplined ACTIVATE! Network and rural Limpopo ambassador, I will make sure that I create long lasting strategic partnerships that can bring about real change into the lives of the poorest. I will make them realise that our people are capable of excelling when given the right information and support.’’

These are the words of hard working Limpopo-based Activator, Motsatsi Mmola, who is selected to represent South Africa in Oslo (Norway) in August. Her European training trip aims are to empower African community developers.

Motsatsi co-founded Bophelong Youth Project in 2015. The Zebediela NGO, Lepelle-Nkumpi Municipal based organisation improves the community by providing assistance to children with homework assignments, educational programmes, health programmes, therapeutic programmes for children and developmental skills especially for orphans and vulnerable children.

Over and above fulfilling its mandate, Bophelong Youth Project has also been involved in key social development care service initiatives like, basic health care to the community, Direct Observation Therapy (DOTS) to chronic patients in the community, food parcels and clothes to needy families and community health work courses.

Later this year, all selected trainees will participate in the global youth leadership exchange programme. Trainees will be allocated to help differently startup community development projects across Africa. Motsatsi has been assigned into a Kenyan NGO that is need of someone who has her leadership skills.

Motsatsi says she intends to use all the European and Kenyan information and contacts to empower Limpopo rural areas.

‘’Opportunities like this come only once in your life. So, I am going there with a specific, measurable, realistic and timeless unconventional plan that will see all those around me benefiting for many decades to come,” says Motsatsi.

The Public Management graduate attributes her passion for community development and astute leadership to ACTIVATE! Leadership, her mentor Patience Raseona and close friend Junior Kenya.

‘’Although many people might see this achievement as result of my ongoing hard work, resilience and determination, for me the real heroes and heroines of my success are my mentors Patience and Junior and of course the Activate Network. They all helped support me, even during the days where I wanted to give up,’’ says Motsatsi

The soft spoken young leader who has encountered countless challenges still refuses to allow what she calls ‘’the lethal, luring luxury and self-centered material world treasurers’’ to deter her from making life changing contributions in people’s lives through her community developement.

“The love for my people, community and country couldn’t allow me to sleep well at night while knowing that there are dozens of young promising souls that will die poor because the system deliberately deprives them access to academic information that could change their lives forever. That and many other social injustices are the reasons I decided to do what I am doing,’’ she says.

‘’For many years, the capitalist system thrived on unpatriotic and gullible rural educated youth who found comfort in opting for easy money making careers. That is one of the reasons today you see all these big cities or successful empires continue accumulating wealth while rural labour scrambles for scraps. Rural born youth give themselves over to be exploited rather than building home towns and their own facilities,’’ Motsatsi explains

Supporting youth and their initiatives is the only viable solution

Independent community development expert Motlalepula Mmesi believes continued support by all key global economic and social stakeholders will benefit from thought provoking youth led initiatives like that of Motsatsi’s. Eliminating most social ills (like crime and unemployment) and shift in focus toward fostering entrepreneurship among youths could be one of the most effective means to mitigate both unemployment and social affliction in disadvantaged communities in South Africa.

‘’Inclusive community development should, in theory, produce long lasting self-sustaining minded people and communities. Unfortunately that is not happening in the current South African social set up because our outdated system still restricts innovative youth ideas and initiatives. We, as the country can only move forward if government authorities, economic captains and civil society formations fully support young leaders like Motsatsi.’’

Social change drivers all over South Africa congratulated Motsatsi Mmola and wished her well in the forthcoming European training and African continent exchange programme.

Youth employment: Uncertainties, gaps and A! potential

Youth Social Justice Warriors:

The Challenge

I mostly find myself in social justice spaces, NGOs, progressive campaigns and conferences. My profile is built around that and it’s what drives me. Considering all that is happening and the power that I have to drive change, I find being on different platforms exhausting. I have a formal educational background in Communications and Public Relations and it’s working for me. On the other hand, I have acquired a skill in advocacy for reproductive justice and development. It is an impacting work space that highlights my capabilities. However, I have fears concerning stability in the long run.  I worry about buying property and working towards long-term investment. Working in a space that expects me not to seek financial reward for my efforts, how likely am I to still have a job in the next few years? How do I invest more in myself?  What kind of seeds do I plant and who do I trust as a committed strategic partner? Through that uncertainty, we still need ensure that we impact lives, influence policy and still be able to eat. We live under the pressure of having to work hard and not seek reward for the fear of being accused of not being passionate enough. This is the nonsense that denies us the right to acquire wealth. We are limited and unfortunately not privileged to inherit wealth. Instead, we have to seek to restore our wealth as folk of colour. But what happens when we don’t even have a door to knock on?   

Finding long-term partners within ACTIVATE! 

When I started at ACTIVATE!  in 2015, the first people I met were Lance Louskitier and Ramontsheng Rapolaki . We became good friends and colleagues.  Ramontsheng and I once attended an event organised by fellow Activator, Soulitude to commemorate the late Steve Biko.  At that event, we witnessed a lot of black talent in music and spoken word. We realised that these talented young people are in the performance arts industry but are unknown. That triggered our anger towards biased media and together with Lance, we decided to establish an online media platform, ‘Afro-Stories’ to showcase marginalised talent.  Afro Stories is still in the development stages and will launch by the end of 2017.  Lance and I work in sexual and reproductive justice, but in different intersecting spaces. He is in academia, and I am in Advocacy and communications. We work well together and have facilitated workshops in this regard. We both form part of the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition, but recently earned our own stripes as the youth champions for HIV prevention programmes working with marginalised folk.  We are currently implementing a grant that was awarded to us by the International AIDS Society after applying and motivating the importance of our work in our communities. The grant covers our professional costs and we’ve managed to secure stipends for our volunteers. Furthermore, we are looking at how we can expand this project and make it sustainable and profitable.   

The answer lies in the Network 

So, what exactly is my point? Well, I’m just sharing how three members of the Network worked together in coming up with ideas that do not distract our work but contributes towards putting food on our tables.   We all lead very busy lives but we found time to secure a seed grant. Think about the possibilities that can come from this Network if members sat together, found ways to bridge skills and came up with profitable ideas. This Network could have its own economy. 

Creatively Countering Youth Unemployment

Countering youth unemployment has become a theme of focus in South Africa as various stakeholders are looking to resolve what seems like a bottomless pit of unemployment. Interestingly, youth make up most of the South African population which makes them the critical factor in growing the economy. Currently the youth (aged 15-34) remain quite vulnerable in the labour market with the unemployment rate at an all-time high of 37,1 % which is 10.6 % above the national average (http://www.statssa.gov.za/?p=9561). There’s a sense in which various contributors to the economy will need to consider partnering more aggressively to balance the scales in unemployment rates. Despite the great deal of policy attention and the implementation of a range of public and private interventions, the situation seems to have not improved. Understandably so, in most cases the private sector’s top priority is profit maximisation and they run calculated risks that are determined by the labour market.

The unemployment rate is indirectly influenced by the nature of the labour market and further complicated by incompatibilities between the skills required and those that are provided through the educational system. Therefore there is an employment mismatch. The other challenge that propagates unemployment, undeniably, is the legacy of apartheid that resulted in the current demographics and spatial landscapes. Young people who live on the periphery of the major metropolitan areas have no option but to spend more time and money looking for work. With all the facts about poverty and high unemployment rates, what can be done to counter youth unemployment? Perhaps this is the battle that this generation needs to conquer.  Market based quality education is a critical tool in navigating this challenge, but more efforts from our experience the South African labour market is ready to mentor young people on how to apply what they have learnt to add value to the organisations they work with. This issue of unemployment needs to be collectively and aggressively addressed by all stakeholders. It is our belief that civil society organisations, businesses, government need to leverage each efforts and strengths in order to overcome these challenges. The perspective of the youth has to change to that which is participative, engaging and evolving. The elephant in the room is the youth, how badly do we want the status quo to change? Are we taking advantage of what is already being done or are we waiting to be rescued? Are we willing to get our hands dirty?

The youth need to move past entitlement and hunger for change. Africa has its riches on land; and perhaps we can encourage our young people to get out there and till the land rather than thinking of corner offices and shiny shoes. Youth entrepreneurship appears to be another option to be cultivated bearing in mind that the bulk of the population will be employed in jobs. We may need other creative ideas to eliminate poverty all together. It is about the restoration of the dignity of South Africans. There is a role we can play as young people, to take it upon ourselves to empower one another, create networks and grow together. Sometimes it may mean volunteering for a season to gain the much needed experience. As the Unleashed Woman, we are taking it upon ourselves to create a platform that provides an opportunity for young people to be linked up with corporates, government and various stakeholders for bursaries and learnerships that are so desperately sought out. This Mandela Day, we will be hosting our second annual Career Link initiative where we connect young people with opportunity: We are looking for corporates to partner with on this mission.

For more information contact:  theunleashed.woman@gmail.com. 

How bad do you want it?   

Activating Activators in marginalised rural spaces

Province: Eastern Cape

Facebook: Muzi Nduku

Twitter handle:@NdukuMuzi

Instagram: N/A 

Contact details: 0787489538/muzindukua@gmail.com

Project name: Vuyisile Development Centre

Activator involved: Muzi Nduku

Members involved in the project?

Chris Harrison and Sinolwethu Naledi Hlebo

Sum up your project in five words?

Service Leadership, information, skills, development, innovation

When was the project started?


Who started the project?

Muzi Nduku and Sinolwethu Naledi Hlebo

What motivated the initiation of the project?

Reasons for establishing this youth Centre stems from my background experience growing up. I am a multi-facet creative individual that is passionate about youth development. However, growing up in a disadvantage village, I did not have the right facilities, Centre to horn and harness all my skills, hence the need, the desire and passion to establish this multi-purpose Centre. I have been proactively involved in peer education and social development youth camps (both provincially and nationally). This has inspired me to plough back to my community.

What is the objective/mission of the project?

  • To serve the community through many functional activities, thus contribute to the nation building of our community for generations to come. 
  • To facilitate for people to have access to information.
  • Organise awareness campaigns, career exhibitions, motivation and leadership training youth camps.
  • Discuss social predicaments that affect our community and society at large, come up with solutions to resolve them.
  • Create a culture of Ubuntu embedded on strong cultural values which will conscioutise ethical behaviour.
  • To have a conducive environment whereby a spirit of development, independence and entrepreneurship is cultivated.
  • To challenge government, private sectors and other entities to practise good corporate citizenship.
  • Ensure an active sustainable community whereby people work and not sit on their laurels; rather they make an effort not excuses.
  • To be the light and hope of our community.

Why is this project needed in your community?

In the words of Yugo ‘good leaders are made’. In the constantly developing modern society, more than ever, development is of critical paramount. The world is speedily and accelerating becoming one big global melting pot. And in the short period since the advent of democracy our country has and continues to make tremendous strides. Creating a Constitutional democracy and embedding the structures of the state. Government programs focusing on reconstruction and development have borne fruit, and our democracy is maturing. In meeting the government half way, not sitting on our laurels and being despondent, but rather being agents of change in our society, we see a crucial need in our community for the development of a multi-purpose centre, that will not only aid change, open doors, chaperone, contribute towards the employment rate, but will also, put on par the generation of this village (and the many generations to come) with the rest of the world, because of the availability of resources and information, adequate facilities and structures that will be put in place through the birth of this multi-purpose centre.

Vuyisile Village is a small village in the deep rural Eastern Cape consisting of kind proud indigenous Phondo people. On the 16th year of the country’s young democracy, our village received electricity for the very first time. We know that the government does contribute however; there is still a long way to go. We do understand the enormous responsibility and pressure that is on the governments shoulder, because not all can receive the same kind of treatment; resources; development and care at the same time. Each community has its different needs and challenges. South Africa is dual- society, where unfortunately the rural areas are often left behind in terms of development. There is a huge gap between urban and rural society.  In bridging the gap and divides between the two clashes in our society, where often the rural areas are in a constantly ‘’catch-up late bloomer struggle’’, particularly when it comes to infrastructure and technology. Through the sustainable development of this multi-purpose centre, we seek to close the gap, thus, ultimately the ‘catch-up late bloomer struggle’ is alleviated.

 Who have you assisted through this project? What does this assistance look like?

Chris Harris has had an incredible contribution in this project and has been at the forefront since the birth of this idea. We drafted the concept down and he edited and formalised everything. Not forgetting his input and the ideas he assisted us with. We are eternally grateful  

Do you think your project encourages leadership? In what way?

The function of this multi-purpose Centre is to serve the community through many functional activities. Due to the advancement of technology in our modern society, it is imperative that every individual is inclined with the use of the advancements of technology. Unfortunately, my village is still without any access use of technology. Through the birth of this Multi-purpose Centre, it will facilitate for people to have access to information.  As this will be a multi-purpose Centre, we want it to be open to junior and high school learners to use for study purposes, learn important study skills and have access to information. The Centre will organize awareness campaigns, career exhibitions and motivations going on all year round. There will also be drama and debating sessions which will include discussions about the social predicaments that affect our society, and coming up will solutions to resolve them.  It is important that the youth is chaperoned with the adequate skills for leadership development, hence leadership training and youth camps will be done through this establishment. Sports, plays a crucial and intricate role in uniting people, keeping people occupied, fit physically and mentally healthy. Outdoor gyms and sports facilities at the multi-purpose Centre will adhere to this. In our village, there is still no pre-school, the building and premises which were appointed for it are in a dilapidated state. Through the establishment of the multi-purpose Centre, a pre-school will be opened, to occupy the Centre throughout the day, whilst the junior and high school learners are at school. Kids at the pre-school will be advantageous because of the adequate facilities in the Centre which will be catered to them.  I feel this facility is important because of the sustainable role it will play in benefitting the community and development at large.

The desired results are:

  • An informed community and united 
  • An inspired community. 
  • An active community. 
  • Excited people about their future. 
  • An adequately equipped people with skills for the world.

Inevitably leadership is encouraged.

Do you require funding/sponsorship for this project to be a success?

Yes. No man is an island on themselves. We need all the assistance we can get from different entities such as the government, private sector and the community at large in making this dream a reality.

Name some of the challenges you face?

Getting people to believe in the idea as it seems like an absurd dream from villagers who are dreaming to big and concerning themselves with the governments work instead of going to find employment just like other people. Getting the land and the title deed has been a mission as the space has been sort after by many people. It has not been easy to secure any funding at the moment and we need the funds to get the project running.

Name some of the successes?

Getting the title deed. Completing: the constitution, business plan, and successfully registering the NGO

Where do you envision your project to be in 3 years’ time?

In 2019 September have the building structure completed and have the first few offices and activities up and running.

In an ideal world, your project will achieve success if….?

A completed state of the art, world class, multi-purpose centre fully functioning and serving the Vuyisile Village and surrounding villages and my home town at large.