We are not free if one of us remains in chains

Name: Duncan Japhta Khothatso Moeketse

Province: Free State

Facebook: www.facebook.com/moeketse

Twitter handle: @tatso

Instagram: tatso

Duncan is a human rights activist who is passionate about the equality of minority groups and their rights as well as the rights of those living with HIV/AIDS and TB. He continues to do this locally and international through consulting and serving on various boards of different organisations. 

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

 I decided to be part of the ACTIVATE! Network because I felt that it would be an exciting opportunity to connect with like-minded young idealists who are committed to social change and to make a difference in their different spaces. Most importantly, I hoped to gain from the capacity building activities of the programme, and to use the skills and experiences from the programme to strengthen my own social initiative.

What did you enjoy the most about training?

Added to the programme modules, I enjoyed being immersed in a space that oozed with the energy and passion for change and to positively contribute to the development of South Africa. I was also fascinated by the calibre of leaders the programme brought together to work on social action plans to make a difference in communities.

How has training helped you or changed your perspective?

Training has helped me tremendously in terms of how I viewed effective leadership. My ACTIVATE! experience opened my eyes to whole new world in terms of how I have always perceived true leadership and how I can personally make a difference. In a way, it curved me to be a much more competent and efficient as a leader, who can also play a very important role in terms of moulding others to positively contribute in their development and those of their communities.

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

I have always been of the view that the young people given the opportunity, tools and the space, can play a significant role in the development of their communities and their country and this should be a meaningful involvement not a “window dressing” exercise. This has been proven numerous times and South Africa is one example of the importance of youth involvement in development. Our country, South Africa, has a long history of youth-led movements that have brought significant social change. Through actions and lead roles many young people have played a critical role in many things that have changed our world – whether it is through social initiatives or through activism. We need to  brace ourselves to our duty and say, if we are for strong social responsibility; that it should be our moral obligation to empower young people. Put them in the forefront of the global change and innovation.

What is your field of interest?

I am interested in Public Health, Human Rights, social business entreprenuership

How are you driving change in your community?

I am driving change in different ways. Not only am I an emerging entreprenuer, but throughtout my young life, I have been actively involved as an activist for the right of the sexual minorities, an advocate for service delivery to enhance the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS and TB both nationally and internationally. I co-founded organisations and was fortunate to have participated at various portfolios at some United Nations agencies, such as UNAIDS, UNESCO and UNFPA, and have sat on the boards of numerous organizations including Global Fund Communities Delegation, GNP+ and many others.

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

Even though I have not been as active as I would have liked, I have been constantly connecting and making use of the contacts that I made during the training, depending on their areas of interest and expertise, in different ways. Whether it is on an advisory capacity or on contractual capacity to expand my work. One of the benefits of having been part of the Activate! Network was to build strong relationship with skilled individuals that one can always call on when the need arise. But in the coming years, I hope to be more active in the network and also ensure that share as much possible.

What are your plans for this year?

Besides growing and broadening my entrepreneurial interests and to strengthen the work of my social initiatives and involvement, one of my important plans for this year is to definitely rekindle the relationships that I builT within the network and to be more involved in the A! Activities, because to lose this would be like losing a goldmine.

Are you involving the network in your plans?

Absolutely, yes.

Additional information you would like us to know?

Yes. I feel that ACTIVATE! Has invested a lot in those who were fortunate to be part of the network, and it would be a shame if some of the wealth of knowledge and experience that has been build by the network is left to fall through the cracks and only a few benefit from what the network has to offer. I know that this has been part of the discussions, and I am going to reiterate that the network need to re-emphasise that the objectives of the network is to ensure that all those who have passed through its ranks are as much entitled to what all others are entitled to. Of course understanding that other human beings are more proactive and more involved than others, but the efforts to always reassure all members of the network to be involved and to share whatever they are involved in to the network should always be consistently encouraged, and the notion of “elitisms” within the network should be dispelled at all costs. Thank you!

SA finally African, all thanks to Zuma

The following article was originally published by the Sowetan, and as a youth organisation we felt it necessary to share it on our website and social media platforms to engage young people on what their stance is in relation to the article and their definition of being “African.” The article by Prince Mashele raises interesting questions around constitutionalism, what are your thoughts?

“SA finally African, all thanks to Zuma,” forms part of a new series where we consider the opinions of individuals outside of the ACTIVATE! Network in order for us to enagage with alternative perspectives and have intentional conversations around specific issues.

In the midst of the political confusion that has gripped our country many people are wondering if we have come to the end of South Africa.

The answer is simple: the thing called an “end” does not exist, not in relation to a country. SA will be there long after Jacob Zuma is gone.

What Zuma has done is to make us come to the realisation that ours is just another African country, not some exceptional country on the southern tip of the African continent.

During the presidency of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, some among us used to believe that the black people of SA are better than those of other African countries.

We must all thank Zuma for revealing our true African character; that the idea of rule of law is not part of who we are, and that constitutionalism is a concept far ahead of us as a people.

How else are we to explain the thousands of people who flock to stadiums to clap hands for a president who has violated their country’s constitution? Such people have no idea of constitutionalism.

Now that we have reclaimed our place as another African country, we must reflect on and come to terms with our real character, and imagine what our future portends.

In a typical African country, ordinary people don’t expect much of politicians, because people get tired of repeated empty promises.

In a typical African country, people have no illusions about the unity of morality and governance. People know that those who have power have it for themselves and their friends and families.

The idea that the state is an instrument for people’s development is a Western concept, and has been copied by pockets of Asian countries.

Africans and their leaders don’t like to copy from the West. They are happy to remain African, and do things “the African way”.

The African way is rule by kings, chiefs and indunas in a setting of unwritten rules. Is there anyone who has seen a book of African customary laws?

The idea that a commoner can raise questions about public money spent on the residence of a king is not African. The ANC MPs who have been defending Zuma are true Africans.

Asking a ruler to be accountable is a foreign – Western – idea. In a situation where there is conflict between a ruler and laws, Africans simply change the laws to protect the ruler. This is why no single white person has called for King Dalindyebo to be released from jail.

The problem with clever blacks is that they think they live in Europe, where ideas of democracy have been refined over centuries.

What we need to do is to come back to reality, and accept that ours is a typical African country. Such a return to reality will give us a fairly good idea of what SA’s future might look like.

This country will not look like Denmark. It might look like Nigeria, where anti-corruption crusaders are an oddity.

Being an African country, ours will not look like Germany. SA might look like Kenya, where tribalism drives politics.

People must not entertain the illusion that a day is coming when SA will look like the US. Our future is more on the side of Zimbabwe, where one ruler is more powerful than the rest of the population. Even if Julius Malema were to become president, it would still be the same.

African leaders don’t like the idea of an educated populace, for clever people are difficult to govern. Mandela and Mbeki were themselves corrupted by Western education. (Admission: this columnist is also corrupted by such education.)

Zuma remains African. His mentality is in line with Boko Haram. He is suspicious of educated people; what he calls “clever blacks”. Remember that Boko Haram means “Against Western Education”.

The people who think we have come to the end of SA don’t realise that we have actually come to the beginning of a real African country, away from the Western illusions of exceptionalism. Those who are unsettled by this true African character need help. The best we can do for them is to ask them to look north of the Limpopo River, to learn more about governance in Africa.

What makes most people restless about the future of SA is that they have Western models in mind, forgetting that ours is an Africa country.

The idea that a president can resign simply because a court of law has delivered an adverse judgment is Western. Only the Prime Minister of Iceland does that; African rulers will never do that.

Analysed carefully, the notion of SA coming to an “end” is an expression of a Western value system – of accountability, political morality, reason, and so on. All these are lofty ideas of Socrates, Kant, Hegel, and so on. They are not African.

All of us must thank Jacob Zuma for introducing us to the real African Republic of South Africa, not some outpost of European values.

The article was originally published by the Sowetan.

 

In the midst of the political confusion that has gripped our country
many people are wondering if we have come to the end of South Africa.

The answer is simple: the thing called an “end” does not exist, not in
relation to a country. SA will be there long after Jacob Zuma is gone.

What Zuma has done is to make us come to the realisation that ours is
just another African country, not some exceptional country on the
southern tip of the African continent.

During the presidency of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, some among us
used to believe that the black people of SA are better than those of
other African countries.

We must all thank Zuma for revealing our true African character; that
the idea of rule of law is not part of who we are, and that
constitutionalism is a concept far ahead of us as a people.

How else are we to explain the thousands of people who flock to
stadiums to clap hands for a president who has violated their
country’s constitution? Such people have no idea of constitutionalism.

Now that we have reclaimed our place as another African country, we
must reflect on and come to terms with our real character, and imagine
what our future portends.

In a typical African country, ordinary people don’t expect much of
politicians, because people get tired of repeated empty promises.

In a typical African country, people have no illusions about the unity
of morality and governance. People know that those who have power have
it for themselves and their friends and families.

The idea that the state is an instrument for people’s development is a
Western concept, and has been copied by pockets of Asian countries.

Africans and their leaders don’t like to copy from the West. They are
happy to remain African, and do things “the African way”.

The African way is rule by kings, chiefs and indunas in a setting of
unwritten rules. Is there anyone who has seen a book of African
customary laws?

The idea that a commoner can raise questions about public money spent
on the residence of a king is not African. The ANC MPs who have been
defending Zuma are true Africans.

Asking a ruler to be accountable is a foreign – Western – idea. In a
situation where there is conflict between a ruler and laws, Africans
simply change the laws to protect the ruler. This is why no single
white person has called for King Dalindyebo to be released from jail.

The problem with clever blacks is that they think they live in Europe,
where ideas of democracy have been refined over centuries.

What we need to do is to come back to reality, and accept that ours is
a typical African country. Such a return to reality will give us a
fairly good idea of what SA’s future might look like.

This country will not look like Denmark. It might look like Nigeria,
where anti-corruption crusaders are an oddity.

Being an African country, ours will not look like Germany. SA might
look like Kenya, where tribalism drives politics.

People must not entertain the illusion that a day is coming when SA
will look like the US. Our future is more on the side of Zimbabwe,
where one ruler is more powerful than the rest of the population. Even
if Julius Malema were to become president, it would still be the same.

African leaders don’t like the idea of an educated populace, for
clever people are difficult to govern. Mandela and Mbeki were
themselves corrupted by Western education. (Admission: this columnist
is also corrupted by such education.)

Zuma remains African. His mentality is in line with Boko Haram. He is
suspicious of educated people; what he calls “clever blacks”. Remember
that Boko Haram means “Against Western Education”.

The people who think we have come to the end of SA don’t realise that
we have actually come to the beginning of a real African country, away
from the Western illusions of exceptionalism. Those who are unsettled
by this true African character need help. The best we can do for them
is to ask them to look north of the Limpopo River, to learn more about
governance in Africa.

What makes most people restless about the future of SA is that they
have Western models in mind, forgetting that ours is an Africa
country.

The idea that a president can resign simply because a court of law has
delivered an adverse judgment is Western. Only the Prime Minister of
Iceland does that; African rulers will never do that.

Analysed carefully, the notion of SA coming to an “end” is an
expression of a Western value system – of accountability, political
morality, reason, and so on. All these are lofty ideas of Socrates,
Kant, Hegel, and so on. They are not African.

All of us must thank Jacob Zuma for introducing us to the real African
Republic of South Africa, not some outpost of European values.

The next female president

Per a McKinsey report published last year, the number of female parliamentarians doubled between the years 2000 and 2014 to 24%. With more and more women emerging on the political scene, the number is sure to double again.

African countries like Liberia, Namibia, Gabon, Burundi, Malawi, Mali and a number of others have been led by a female president. South Africa seems like it might follow suit very soon.

The ANC Women’s League declared support earlier last month for Dlamini-Zuma to succeed Jacob Zuma as president of the ANC in December. Zuma himself also showed support for the ANC to be led by a woman and not follow the traditional route of the deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, stepping up as the president with the new term.

Is the endorsement a sign that we are ready to change our patriarchal mindset towards political leadership in SA?

Dlamini-Zuma isn’t any ordinary woman in politics, historically speaking. She has been in the South African government leadership since the inception of our democratic government in 1994. She later went on to serve as the chairperson of the AU from 2012 till 2016. Not even some of our strong male leaders have such political leadership experience.

She is arguably qualified to take on the leadership of a whole nation.

So, it is safe to say that we are ready to be led by Dlamini-Zuma, but besides giving females roles in government leadership, what have we done or are we doing to prepare other female presidential aspirants for the role?

We must bear in mind that because of the gender oppression that is still happening in society to this day – some women still believe that they are inferior to men and that leadership positions are meant for men – it is very rare to hear a young girl to say that they want to take on the position of presidency one day.

But for 17 year old Tshegofatso Modiga, being president is the only thing she sees herself as when she is older.

On her Facebook page Ms President, which she created after she reached the friends quota on her personal facebook account, she shares everything she does that’s contributing to her journey to the presidential seat.

Tshegofatso is motivated by the fluctuating South African economy, lack of stability in socio-economic contributing institutions and “the reverse-reaction of a supposed democratic nation”.

Tshegofatso believes that the two most crucial requirements for any presidential candidate is education and experience. She referenced that Mandela was a lawyer and that Mbeki is an economist. After Mbeki’s ousting, she says that people chose to vote for who “they liked” more than who was competent (education and experience) and that was the beginning of our downfall as a country.

“How do we have a minister of HEALTH who is an economist? How do we have a lawyer who was posted to a ministry of Trade and Industry for 10 months and then posted back to Correctional Services? How do we switch 3 Finance Ministers without reason and the economy fall and relapse? I can go on. Does that conclude to lack of direction?’ she asked.

Besides being the head girl at her highschool, Tshegofatso also founded Quest of the conquerors, a non-profit organisation that aims to raise a generation of impact-conscious ladies who will revolutionise Africa, and she is also a motivational speaker that can be booked for events.

“So this is what inspired me to be President: To lead a nation, not based on retrospective events, yet still regards it, but a prospective one. One that doesn’t bother so much about the inconsistency of an economy , but it’s global competitiveness due to it’s radical propelling which I will bring about,’ she concluded.

She wishes to join organisations such as the UN and the AU to bring her one step closer to her presidential chair.

Tshegofatso expressed that she does not have any form of a support structure, even with her relatively large social media following.

Political organisations for the youth such as the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), the South African Students Congress (SASCO), the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (PASMA) and the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO) exists to groom future political leaders for the respective organisations. These organisations give the members a chance to broaden their political knowledge, critical thinking and communication skills as well. Youth as young as 14 can sign up for membership.

Is a membership in such organisations sufficient to groom girls like Tshegofatso who want to enter the male dominated political world and eventually realise her dream to be president? Or do we honestly need to do more as a nation to give young girls a chance to consider presidency as an option for them?

            

Boost Your Business Success In 2017

Do you have a desire to accelerate the success of your small business? Would you benefit from a two-year programme of professional business development support? SAB Foundation invites applications from viable, black-owned businesses who would like to be considered for the 2017 Tholoana Enterprise Programme.

High potential SMEs will benefit from a unique combination of expert mentorship, skills training workshops, access to markets, and qualified investment-readiness support. This proven programme significantly improves the confidence, skills and financial performance of participant businesses. The Tholoana Enterprise Programme primarily supports enterprises that benefit or are run by women, the youth and those living in rural and peri-urban areas. A particular focus this year is to create opportunities for entrepreneurs with disability, who are strongly encouraged to apply.

Bridgit Evans of the SAB Foundation says, “We offer committed candidates an incredible opportunity to take their business to the next level. Our partnership with small business growth professionals, Fetola, boosts the long term sustainability of the participants in our programme, making it a highly impactful and sought-after solution for promising South African small businesses.”

Over 100 emerging entrepreneurs around the country have had their success accelerated and consolidated by this methodology since the business support programme commenced in 2015. One star performer on the programme is Amelia Masakane of Senkatane Buy and Braai in Kroonstad, whose turnover has increased steadily month by month since joining the programme. “I gained more confidence and learned to take myself seriously as a business owner. Tholoana has changed my life, and opened up the world of entrepreneurship,” said Amelia.

The Tholoana Enterprise Programme supports small businesses with significant potential to grow and make a positive contribution to the economy. Applications are especially welcome from businesses working in new and growing sectors such as export, manufacturing, food processing, water, energy and waste management.

“We are looking for the very best candidates across all nine provinces, those whose enterprises have a proven business concept, a track record of trading, and long-term potential for growth,” Evans said.

If your business has been in operation for at least six months and less than five years, you may be eligible for consideration. Visit www.sabfoundation.co.za to review the selection criteria and apply.

Applications close at 12h00 on 15 March.

A leader with presidential ambition

Name : Kwandile Mhlaba

Surname: Sikhosana

Facebook: Kwandile Mhlaba Sikhosana

Twitter :@Ukwandile

Instagram: Kwandilesikhosana

LinkedIn :Kwandile Sikhosana

Province : Gauteng

Kwandile describes himself as the prospective president of the Republic of South Africa. Constantly working on advancing the bar of what Black Excellence means, he is a global citizen and his work is not limited by borders . Motivated by what God managed to achieve in 7 days, he feels that he can emulate that as he believes to be the son of God and carrier of the earth as per his name ”Mhlaba.”

Why did you decide to join the network?

A network is priceless as it enables you to tap into a different market / environment without having to be there . It helps motivate you and also have links with like minded individuals so it was a no brainer for me to join a network of over 2000 people.

What did you enjoy about the Change Drivers training programme?

Meeting new people and hearing their stories of triumph . Nothing feeds me more than that.

The Role of the Youth in developing Countries

The youth of today live and lead in the Information Age whereas we ought to know everything from how we can develop our economy and be consistent in leading in global economical trends . The whole world is open to diplomacy so that has opened channels that are vital in propelling developing countries as that means less red tape.

What is your field of interest?

Education / Health / Economics and Entrepreneurship and also Culture as  a lot of us have been decultured through western Education and that dilutes values that have been strongly transported through cultural songs and beliefs

How are you Driving change in your community?

I’m working on establishing a University in Ekurhuleni the only metro in South Africa that doesn’t have its own University . This is the Industrial Hub of South Africa and Agricultural Hub of Gauteng , hosting the largest Airport in Africa amongst other landmarks but still doesn’t have its own University to aid the development of these infrustructural developments . We need to retain people to the Region to better its economical standing and having a University City is one of the best ways to achieve this .

I also establish mini libraries for disadvantaged community and host various workshops from Arts /Literature to Agriculture . We do school tours whereas we motivate young people to become better at listening to God about what he has to say about their purpose

We host trainings whereas people get trained at no cost and get accredited certificates and we also find them employment .

We afford people opportunities in various fields such as media to enhance their skills amongst other things we do in community development

How do you keep in touch with fellow Activators

We call each other / text / email and WhatsApp each other

What’s your plan for this year?

Continue building a multi million rand Empire . Work with Barack Obama on a campaign . Be a member of South African Parliament

How will you be involving the network?

There’s a great deal of potential in some of the people I have engaged with so we will definitely collaborate in campaigns etc

And another thing,

Alcohol is a distraction, those hours of drinking could be used to refine your proposals . Entertainment is distractive to our people , the more consumed you are with Kim Kardashian is the more you will want to look like her and not become her because she is not her make up but a multi millionaire that makes money whilst your sitting there watching her lead her life .

Use data wisely

You can achieve anything with Christ by your side .

Twitter: @UKwandile

For the love of money

Today, Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan will deliver his much anticipated budget speech and share with the nation what the plans are for the almost R2 trillion for the new financial year. With the ruling party and president emphasising their strategy of radical economic transformation, one wonders how this will be revealed in today’s budget speech. How will government go about implementing this radical economic transformation strategy? What is the time line they are looking at and who will benefit?

As we await budget 2017, many Activators and citizens alike want more money to be invested in programmes that will uplift communities, empower entrepreneurs, unlock access to education, provide employment and give the poor child an opportunity to enter the economy. In addition, money needs to be allocated for drought relief, water, fires, etc.

The budgetary process and allocations are meant to serve the citizens of this country, but is the pie big enough to satisfy all these dire needs? No.

The pie needs to grow substantially if we are to fulfil some of these. This week on Justice Malala’s show, The Justice Factor, Deputy Minister of Finance, Mcebisi Jonas said what the country requires most is inclusive growth. Inclusive growth contends that in order to redistribute resources to those who need it the most, the simultaneous creation of new assets and wealth needs to take place while the economy transforms. “Growth without transformation can only increase inequality and poverty across the board. Equally, transformation without growth is problematic,” said the deputy minister. Inclusive growth which increases the size of the pie by creating fertile ground for investment while opening up the economy to previously marginalised communities is no easy task. It goes without saying that in order for everyone to fully benefit from the economy it needs to grow, it needs to diversify, it needs to transform and it needs to be inclusive.

Although from the outset the budget can seem like a complicated beast (which it is) Activators who have gone through the ACTIVATE! programme are well acquainted with the budget, how it gets divided and why some budgetary aspects take precedence over others. Unpacking the national budget in the Change Drivers programme gives Activators an opportunity to understand what the core functions of government are and how these are reflected in the national budget. Top of mind for these Activators are that the benefits of the economy need to profit all citizens and not just 10% of the citizenry. Last year, the minister announced that more money will be injected into sectors like education, health, agriculture and social protection, among others. Currently, education is the single biggest expenditure in the budget with a whopping R297.5 million allocated last year and additional funds were made available to the fees must fall movement. “In budget 2017, in areas that ensure greater participation in the economy of the historically marginalised, we must pay more emphasis on labour intensive sectors of the economy, and I stress the point that our schooling system is fundamentally and critically important,” said deputy minister Jonas.  

Looking at the division of revenue, how much of the money in the budget goes to the different spheres of government you ask? Well, national government receives 47%; provincial government receives 44% and local government receives just over 9%. It is our responsibility as active citizens to hold administrators in the various spheres of government accountable on how they spend our money. Certainly, we all want inequality to be narrowed, we all want jobs and thriving businesses, we all want fewer people in poverty, but what are we going to do to contribute to the solution and to the betterment of the country?

When questioned about the alleviation of personal income tax which burdens every working citizen, minister Gordhan said: “Our general policy on taxation is that we have a progressive tax system which means it’s a system which says the more you earn, the more you will be taxed, so the burden of taxation is spread evenly…no country in the world works without public finances. Secondly, our tax system must be redistributive as part of being progressive and within the economic model we work in, it is the key instrument by which the less advantaged people in our society benefit from the more advantaged people in our society.”

Based on that response, it does not seem like hard working South Africans can expect to see more money in their pockets at the end of the month. On the up side though, according to the minister, the budget process in South Africa is amongst the most transparent in the world. “We compete with 94 countries in a budget transparency process and to the best of my knowledge we were in the top 3 in the world a few years ago,” he said.

Highlights from the 2016 budget

In 2016 government planned to:

  • Manage finances in a prudent and sustainable way
  • Re-ignite confidence and mobilise the resources of all social partners
  • Collectively invest more in infrastructure to increase potential growth
  • Give hope to our youth through training and economic opportunities
  • Protect South Africans from the effects of the drought
  • Continuously improve our education and health systems
  • Accelerate transformation towards an inclusive economy and participation
  • by all
  • Strengthen social solidarity and extend our social safety net

Interesting facts from budget 2016:

  • Fuel levy increased by 30 cents per litre,
  • Tyre levy of R2.30 per kilogram of tyre  was introduced
  • The incandescent globe tax increased from R4 to R6 per globe
  • The plastic bag levy increased from six cents to eight cents per bag
  • The motor emissions tax rate increased from R90 to R100 for every gram of emissions/km above a certain rate for passenger vehicles, and from R125 to R140 for double cabs.
  • Excise duties on tobacco and alcohol increased (rates will vary depending on the product imported)
  • Taxing sugar-sweetened beverages: this was proposed as a way of helping to stem South Africa’s grave obesity and diabetes levels. It will be introduced on April 1,2017 but an amount has not yet been stipulated.

An intervention to instill hope

Project name: Tsoga Youth Foundation 

Facebook: @TsogaYF

Twitter handle: @TsogaYF

Contact details: 078 680 6763

Project name:  Tsoga Youth Foundation

Activator involved: Petros Sithole, Itumeleng Molea, Lindiwe Phiri & Busisiwe Mahlangu

Members involved in the project?  Themba Nkosi, Lindiwe Nhlapo, Charles Ngolele, Pertunia Makhubalo, Mpho Mashishi & Vincent Tlala

Petros Sithole describes their project as a youth development and after-school programme.

When was the project started?

23 August 2016

 Who started the project?

Petros Sithole, Itumeleng Molea and Lindiwe Phiri

What motivated the initiation of the project? 

There was a dire need for intervention, more especially to instill hope in the youth in the community of Mmakaunyane and surrounding’s. 80% of the youth of Mmakaunyane are unemployed and most are school dropouts, therefore we saw the need to help them rediscover the need and importance of being an educated individual and this was after we have received training at Activate to go and empower other people out of the space of training.

What is the objective of the project?

To impact and create independent young leader’s of at least 500 like minded people in a space of a year.

Why is this project needed in your community?

This will help the youth feel empowered, and reduce the number of non-graduate’s as well as school dropouts in and around the community. We believe by doing this initiative we’re driving out the need for drug usage amongst the youth of Mmakaunyane.

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

We have currently worked with Mmakaunyane Sundowns Academy where we have held 10 days camp with at least 65 young people with the aim of instilling the need for education and to show them that education can be received either in a formal or informal manner. This year we are also working with Mmakaunyane Secondary school with the afternoon program and have come to agreement with them to do away with Matric ball, instead they should utilize that time to prepare the students both for preparatory and main exams

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

Yes it does, currently we have established young mentors within the group of the learners we working with and because we encourage independency with on our learners.

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

Yes we do, in terms of branding and members attire and resources to use during camps, such as black boards,books and pencils

Name some of the challenges you face?

Poor engagement from most of the youth and non-support from the community

Name some of the successes?

We have been able to convince the school to do away with matric dance and for Mmakaunyane secondary we have seen an increase in the overall school pass rate which was standing on 56% and it’s  now on 84%

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

We would like to have impacted over 13 school’s and be able to form a cohort with other existing organizations accross the country in sharing programs to run in schools and at the community level

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

If most school schools would do away with matric ball just a week before a preparatory exam period to avoid hearing the Minister of education giving unpleasant reports about number of pass rate accross the country.  It would the allow us as an organization expand and imapct more schools as possible. 

Change starts at school

Name: Blossom Ncedisa Kolisi

Province: Eastern Cape

Facebook: Blossom Ncedisa Kolisi

Twitter handle: Bloss4897993

Instagram: Blossom Ncedisa Kolisi

Blossom who holds a degree in Human Resources and is currently enrolled to do her BCom Honours in Industrial Psychology at University of Fort Hare is a lecturer at Lovedale Tvet College. She enjoys moonlight strolls at the beach, red roses by the armful and participation dances. Her friends would describe her as easy going, a good listener and a wordplay champion.

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

I joined the A! network because I like working with youth on issues affecting our communities in order to develop our communities.

What did you enjoy the most about training?

I learned alot from the network since module 1. I was not really aware about how local government works and also enjoyed the Lemonade leadership and leadership archetypes and how to engage using concept cards. And then there was the African chapter in module 3 where I reconnected with me being African because at first I was negligent that I did not even know what Africa looks like. I never knew anything about Thomas Sankara until ACTIVATE.

How has training helped you or changed your perspective?

The programme changed alot of things, I have changed how I perceive a few things.

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

I believe I am responsible for giving useful knowledge to kids around me so they grow up knowing a thing or two about our country.

What is your field of interest?

My field of interest is education, sport development and addressing in social issues (gender,race sex, equality).

How are you driving change in your communit?

I am addressing social issues through arts and culture. I have started dialogues with the kids at the college and surroundings and also started debate.

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

I have already collaborated with some Activators from around the Eastern Cape and we have been working well. I also know a few people from the Network who have the same interests as mine.

What are your plans for this year?

I am still continuing last year’s plan since I did not achieve all I had planned.

ACTIVATORS MAKE THEIR VOICES HEARD

The 2017 State of the Nation Address had the MOST. The anticipated event shook the nation from pillar to post from all that transpired. Ideally, the State of the Nation Address is to report back to the people- the main stakeholders- as to what the country’s current standing is, its future plans and programmes for the betterment of the people. It is to highlight and reflect on the plans made yesteryear, and what action has since been adopted to ensure the fruition of such plans.

 

Activators from across South Africa gathered at this year’s State of the Nation Address held at parliament to make their voices heard on matters they feel directly affect young people. This was done in a peaceful, legal and cohesive manner.

Wielding placards and message boards with messages like:  “YOU(th) MATTER,” “State of the Youth = SONA” and “HEAR US, Prioritise our voices” Activators took to the ‘People’s Assembly’ that was held at the Grand Parade in Cape Town to share the message and make the voices of the youth heard. The picket was structured to symbolise the unity and solidarity of our youth and how much the government, now more than ever, needs to hear the voice of young people.

Currently, individuals between the ages 18 – 35 constitute about 60% of the country’s population, yet the largest estimation of unemployment falls within that group as well. Tragedy? Most probably. You may be asking yourself, why a picket? Well, picketing originated in France and has since been used by groups of people to extend their message. It is a form of protest in which people (called picketers) congregate outside a place of work or location where an event is taking place. Often, this is done in an attempt to dissuade others from going in (“crossing the picket line”), but it can also be done to draw public attention to a cause. Picketers normally endeavour to be non-violent.

Picketing, as long as it does not cause obstruction to a highway or intimidation, is legal in many countries and in line with freedom of assembly laws, but many countries have restrictions on the use of picketing. It can have a number of aims, but is by and large to put pressure on the party targeted to meet particular demands and/or cease operations.

The focal points of concern for these Activators were the contents of the 9-point plan and National Youth Plan on matters pertaining to Youth unemployment, Skills development programmes and education. The SONA itself addressed these matters and our young people now all look forward to the budget speech which will give the cost implications as well as the time frames for all the said plans. Do we trust our government to prioritise youth concerns, do we believe the promises already made and do we have faith that service delivery cometh forth? The budget speech may surely provide more of a green light on the aforementioned.

As powerful and significant as the picket was, it could have done with a lot more Activators in their numbers to also be a part of this historic footprint. The ACTIVATE! network hosts and toasts a total of 2000 Activators actively driving change for the public good across the country and imagine if all those minds, voices and human force  gathered together in one space to spread one message, imagine the collateral signage that would be.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The State of Whose Nation?

Young leaders making a difference in their communities

Yesterday, President Jacob Zuma delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA) where he attempted to address issues affecting the youth. Fighting a complex reality caught between South Africa’s apartheid history and democracy, South African youth are at a risk of inheriting an uncertain future.  Young South Africans are looking for bold leadership that will drive the youth agenda and fulfill the promises that have been made with the establishment of various engagement platforms such as the Youth Desk, the National Youth Plan and National Development Plan.

Youth are hungry for action-packed programmes that will connect them with opportunities for youth involvement in public innovation. ACTIVATE! Change Drivers is one such programme focused on shaping South Africa’s future leaders while creating an environment that will allow young leaders to thrive. The network is made up of over 2000 eager young people (Activators) who are ready to change the future of South Africa. To date, many young people were able to drive their innovative ideas and inspire other youth to take up the baton and change their communities. Below are some of the youth who are part of the programme to change communities and the lives of their peers.

Activator, Prince Nofoto runs the Future Leaders and Young Great Minds project established in 2013 when Nofoto saw that many young children from his community were walking to school with no shoes or jersey’s in the middle of winter. Nofoto started this project on his own, but has managed to keep it running from support he has received from family, friends, neighbours and various community organisations. The project was established with the vision and aim of addressing social issues and injustices within his community, he also saw an opportunity to bring positivity into the lives of youth. “I aimed to empower the youth both academically and in life by chipping away at the ignorance that saturates the impoverished community.” he said. Although only running for 4 years, Future Leaders and Young Great Minds has benefitted the community greatly, young leaders are being moulded by the project and the poverty cycle is slowly turning. In the coming years, Nofoto hopes that he will receive more funding to grow the project and reach more youth.

Initiated in 2014 by Gladys Nomvuyo Sebeko, the FATWA (From a girl to a woman) Back to School Drive was borne out of a need to educate and inspire young women to build their confidence and self-esteem. Sebeko together with other five youth noticed that many teenage girls miss school during their monthly menstrual period and many were dating older men just to afford basic toiletries. Reflecting on the importance of FATWA, Sebeko says: “Our community is a previously disadvantage community which has informal settlements where most households are low income households.” Because of FATWA, learners from Buhle Bemfundo Secondary School and Michael Zulu Primary School have been assisted with sanitary towels and school shoes. Through the project, many lives have been changed and lives have been saved, once a month Sebeko gathers the teenagers in her community where she runs mentorship programmes designed to guide and teach the group about self-confidence and preserving their dignity. To date, the project has assisted 300 learners. FATWA hopes to reach many more youth within Gauteng and Ekurhuleni. 

In 2014, the Mankweng Cluster Youth Development started the Grade 12 Motivational Tour to help Grade 12 learners in and around Limpopo. This group of young people were motivated by the matric results in their area: “We had to reflect on the results and we agreed that there can be other issues causing young people not to work hard. We had to look at those issues and how we can address them,” says one member of the project. The project plays a great role in the community, learners are provided with motivational talks, personal coaching, mentoring, extra classes and they also give out stationery when needed. Young people have benefitted from this project greatly, their attitude towards their work has changed they are more eager to go to school. Many Grade 12 learners have also been assisted with applying for bursaries and university applications. With some funding the project hopes to be able to assist more than 50% of the schools in their area in the coming years.

These Activators are managing to make a huge difference in their communities. They do hope to see more funding come their way so that they can see their programmes expand to reach more youth in South Africa.

Championing African Youth Policies for Global Development

“I heard from the young Canadians who were frustrated. Who told me that they couldn’t get a job because they don’t have work experience, and they couldn’t get work experience because they don’t have a job.” The youngest Prime Minister in the world, Justin Trudeau of Canada.

South Africa has, after two and a half decades, managed to make formidable transformational moves in its socio-economic developmental agenda. We must acknowledge the pace of change has been scarcely quick enough to keep up with most accelerating and economic challenges faced by our people. In seeking to meet both social and economic aspirations, the government is increasingly identifying the skills development as a crucial issue.

Looking across the landscape of Africa and beyond, an achievable pro-Youth policy and a doable master-plan that reflect the vision, voices and priorities of African youth are fundamental to building a peaceful, harmonious and prosperous continent of African solidarity, unity and commonality.

 Since approximately 60% of Africa’s population is below 35 years old, intentional investment in youth-focused initiatives could breed double-digit growth and genuine development across the continent. African Youth are the architects and engineers of a prosperous future under a new Africa. Therefore, they must be at the centre of leading Agenda 2063, UN Security Council Resolution 2250, SDGs 2030 and the African Renaissance. 

 Africa must pillar its aspiration, vision and vast potential predominantly on youth development through education, entrepreneurship, employment, empowerment, technology, agriculture and commerce.

Education

In 2005, SA’s Education Minister said: “We cannot accept a view that says universities can blithely ignore society and its needs. That broader objective critically involves educating our students to become part of a socially committed and critical citizenry”.

That statement, made by the honourable minister, points to a larger question: what role should higher education (HE) play in contributing to South African socio-economic development?

South Africa is yet to reconcile and rationalise the role of the State in subsiding tertiary learning institutions, which will vary in history and needs, and the State governing them. Seemingly, we need a policy dialogue about whether tertiary learning institutions are entirely independent entities, at liberty to implement fees at their own discretion, change curriculum at their own discretion, or whether the State has to intervene, and if yes, ‘how’?

We’ve seen in other countries like the USA, Nigeria, Kenya, India and Brazil among others, have one kind of tertiary institution. The question we need to answer is, why is South Africa in a conundrum on universities about the notion of private versus public institutions?

We also need relevant education that will help address the current challenges we’re faced with in the country. This implies decolonising the current curriculum. Career guidance, Civic Education and Entrepreneurship should be integrated into the curriculum and start being taught at primary level so pupils know the constitution and how to create jobs. We need to bring back the National Service for the youth after high-school so the country can have compatriots and not necessarily soldiers.

Photo credit: Petros Sithole

Koketso Marishane writes as a concerned citizen

A Microscopic View Of The SONA

The State of the Nation Address is undoubtedly one of the major events on the South African calendar. It is on this day that multitudes in the country over, gather in different parts to watch the event live and or attend it. The main aim behind the attention it receives is not only for the outfits and ‘hublahaah’ of the main entrance or the dramatic effects within parliament but to hear the report back from our head of state on where the tax payers’ money, investment and donations went as appropriated in the previous year.

It is on this statement where matters of the public’s concern are arguably sufficiently dealt with. This year is no different, if anything- the anticipation is on an all-time high following massive events like the Fees Must Fall movement, the land issue and the closing down of poultry farms due to the importing of chicken from abroad-unnecessarily. Following the anticipated 2019 elections the nation also stands eagerly to at least get a feel of whom the political house has selected and lobbied as hopeful candidates to stand in the running for the coveted presidential seat come 2019.

More to be attended to, is the quality of education, especially given the dreams the nation has repeatedly been sold, year in and year out about our education system producing graduates and matriculants of first choice yet accepting a 30% margin as a pass rate! The focal points of interest have come to be Education and whether or not the quality of the current curricula will stand the test of time, the issue of unemployment and how the government continues to brag about job creation through the Extended Public Works Programme failing to mention that such workers are hired seasonally and not permanently; the escalating rate of crime and how in some of the most notorious townships of South Africa there aren’t enough police stations or corrective centres to at least be employed as possible  permanent solutions to a perpetual problem.

The nation as it stands wonders as to how ‘The House’ plans to alleviate crime when they themselves continue to act as though they are above the law. This we have witnessed in numerous reports where the ‘’who’s-who’’ are never tried and convicted of any crime when they see their day in court. Tax evasion and crimes related to fraud and embezzlement of state funds is reduced to office sweets and continuously swept under the already dirty carpet on claims of insufficient evidence versus the proof beyond reasonable doubt that the people on the ground see on every case. The skills development programs that young people are still yearning for since the inception of dinosaurs is still a long standing plea even after their extinction.

Constitutionally, the rules pertaining to the joint sitting have more often than not been violated over the years in parliament publicly  for the masses to witness, yet not a lot has been done to progressively call the ‘perpetrators’ to book. Such happens do not paint the desired picture of our thriving democracy or powers vested in our judicial system. The current state of the happenings of this thriving nation have made it a worldwide spectacle at best, for all the wrong reasons. In law speak the constitution is the supreme law of the country which states that any law or conduct inconsistent with it is invalid, and the obligations imposed by it must be fulfilled. Furthermore, the Bill of Rights is a cornerstone of democracy in South Africa. It enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.

It further states that the right to basic education is a right open to all who require it including adult basic education, and further education which the state through reasonable measures must make progressively available and accessible. We will remember that if the former was adhered to and the latter followed the nation would not have witnessed the hard hitting of fees must fall in 2015 – 2016 would it? Rule (2) also makes clear mention of the right to receiving of education in the mother tongue or language of preferred choice as a right to be enjoyed including; Equality, Practicability as a need to redress the results of past racially discriminatory laws and practices.

We wonder how much of these claims will be dealt with this year and how feasible the plans to be made will be relative to the NYP and 9 point plan that directly deal with youth concerns. The coming generations would fault us greatly if we did not question, microscopically view and interrogate these issues as they continue to contribute to the demise of this beautiful country on the 09 February 2017 at 19H00.


So Now is a good time

As the annual opening of parliament for 2017 draws close we seat up and ready our minds for the State of the Nation Address (SoNA). We meet this day with a lot of pessimism and a touch of excitement, not because we foresee elements of good news, because we know our president is bound to see ‘red’. This does not mean that we are not filled with expectation, hope even. After all what is South Africa if not the land of the hopeful? With our eyes turned away from the number one citizen, we mumble amongst ourselves what we hope will change. It is fitting that as a citizen of this great land we speak on some of the things we anticipate to come up in the SoNA. This year we expect The President to use this occasion to set out the government’s key policy objectives and deliverables for 2017 on land,  education (looking at #FeesMustFall), youth development, sanitary pads legislation.

The national anthem ends of by saying “…in South Africa our land!”  The questions is; is it really? It is concerning that spatial planning and land use still maintain the apartheid divides, any endeavours for restitution takes people far away from central economic hubs which then sees them to still living  in squatter camps to be able to get themselves to work.  This begs a question of why land restitution does not to apply to town and cities (with the exception of Umtata that was restituted to traditional leadership). According to LegalBrief, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) Minister Gugile Nkwinti, indicated that 79% of land is in private hands, 14% in state hands and 7% percent is unknown and the department still needs to analyse by race and nationality. As a country, it is clear that we need to know what percentage of this ill-gotten land is going to be given back not only for commercial purposes but residential use in central points. Where there are mines and industries communities be given clarity on how they will benefit  from the activities happening in their land.

Perhaps the president will be able to give us an indication of how, under his leadership, they have been able to “protect communal tenure to enable beneficiaries of the reform to hold on to land”. We have questions, Mr President;

  • During the  2016 Budget speech 500 Million was set aside for Strengthening Relative Rights (SRR) of People Working the land; how is that working?

  • DRDLR were to start ‘one house one hectare’ utilising state and traditional authority own land to create small holding farmers and agro-processors; what are the numbers currently?

  • According to your 2016 SoNA you were to

Action 37 under Chapter 6 of the NDP; “Rural economies will be activated through improved infrastructure and service delivery, a review of land tenure, service to small and micro farmers, a review of mining industry commitments to social investment, and tourism investments.” Under your leadership, Mr President, we need clarity as a country on how the mining, timber and agricultural industries continues to flourish and as a country we own no part of-  except for your people providing labour. These aforementioned industries had communities that lived on these were displaced.  We need to know how, as a people, we can benefit from this except for the Corporate Social Investment (CSI) by the companies because, let us face it, even CSI is on their terms always. What is needed is not CSI, it is ownership (even if it is in part) of these industries to further this country’s economy and her people. If we assert this is our land then the spoils too should help meet the needs of citizens.

Chapter 9 of the National Development Plan 2030 (NDP) speaks to; IMPROVING EDUCATION, TRAINING AND INNOVATION. It goes further to say; Increase enrolment at universities by at least 70 percent by 2030 so that enrolments increase to about 1.62 million from 950 000 in 2010. The question is; how would this be possible with when you have the majority of South African living in poverty? It is critical to appreciate your administration for opening up Further Education and Training institutions to those who cannot tertiary learning. We also cannot forget the upheaval in universities for the past 2 years and it speak to the growing concern of commodified education that cannot be accessed by those who truly need the hand up. Mr President, have you read the Thuto ke Lesedi proposal by students that shows possibilities when it comes to how higher education can begin the walk to free education.

The possibilities of this happening exist! Look at the amount of wasteful expenditure for the 2016/17 period; this amount exceeds 1 billion rands (according to BusinessTech). Look at how much the mining industry is making off the county’s minerals. There is a responsibility to plough back into higher education’s infrastructure and the human capital that will eventually be the workforce. The children of miners also go to these institutions and that is an additional reason to access fund from this industry. Corporations are direct beneficiaries of tertiary institutions and they need to invest more. There needs to legislation that increases the percentage of contribution to this country’s education.

As we peel off the layers of need, is it not necessary for your administration to lead the conversation of knowledge systems such that as a country we begin to benefit from a decolonised way of working with one another. This can lead to realising one of the NDP goals of “Between 80 – 90 percent of learners should complete 12 years of schooling and or vocational education with at least 80 percent successfully passing the exit exams.”-education that is relatable and relevant to the learner as subsequently tertiary education.

As we discuss the importance of education we cannot forget the girls who are missing school because they are unable to access sanitary ware. We recognise the work that has started in KZN with 3000 school accessing free sanitary pad. It must be said however that periods are part of a female’s life that are not optional and for the sake of education and dignity sanitary ware should be free and easily accessible much like condoms. Mr President, we understand that continuous delivery of pads on a monthly basis may be costly and so we advise the use of reusable pads and sanitary cups. You cannot begin to put a price on dignity and we cannot justify young girls missing school because of periods. As a country, the school drop-out rate is high enough, this cannot be yet another reason. On the SoNA, we expect you to speak on how you will be starting on legislating that we see sanitary ware available as a show of respect for the country’s constitution which speak to the right to education and dignity.

Young people are struggling to access higher education as well as jobs. We have read of those who have given up on looking for a job, yet the country is lacking artisan skills. Why it that as part of development there is no an intentional dedication to building and developing vocational colleges in rural places? Why is the National Youth Development Agency not championing the cause of vocational colleges?  The talk of ticking time bombs and lost generation is a non-progressive, self-defeating narrative because young people are in the informal business sector and starting community development initiative but bulldozed by bureaucracy. Why is it that in the areas that need development the most there are no NYDA full service offices? More to the point,  should it not be every local government youth manager’s office that is able to house the NYDA so that the mandate of the  NYDA is realise and in part resourced by local government?

Let us talk business. Let us talk about your black industrialist initiative in particular. This initiative has a potential to move this country from being a consumer country to being a country. The concern I is the great expense one has to go into just to know if the business is feasible. According to Martin Mngadi he was invoiced R250 000 (by a reputable firm) for a Feasibility study when he wanted to enter into the  bitumen industry, without capital how do young black industrialists start in these industries? The Department of Trade and investment speaks of a cost sharing structure for something of this nature. How genuine is this Black Industrialist Programme if  there are deterrents  even though it is a know fact black South African do not have funds to start or share cost and the financial industry considers them high risk. Please give us an indication of the number of black industrialist who are currently in this programme.

The questions are many and we expect genuine responses from you, Mr President. One person may be writing this but we are a collective of young leaders working hard at answering some tough questions this generation is facing, which you too are painfully aware of. We are not waiting on you but, we are working tirelessly and our hope is that with policies and budget you allow us to drive change. There are those watching silently. 2017 is the year of redemption. If the local government elections are anything to go by, South Africans are not just mumbling amongst themselves- there is a rumbling in the atmosphere that will manifest in the 2019 elections. So now Mr President, is the time to do right by this generation.


Delegates from around the world attend the YESPeace Network Launch

On Thursday, 26 January 2017 ACTIVATE! Change Drivers along with UNESCO MGIEP launched the YESPeace Network at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town. In line with the African Youth Agenda 2063 for a peaceful and secure Africa, the YESPeace Network is on a mission to educate young people on peace education, sustainable development and global citizenship for a better and peaceful life for all.

This platform has sparked inclusive collaborations with stakeholders and young people who are interested in forging partnerships through the practical application of skills and global citizenship.

The event featured a list of delegates from countries across the world such as Kenya, Fiji, South Africa and Lesotho, among others. Delegates in attendance shared a passion for peace education, sustainable development and global citizenship in Africa. The likes of Yufenyuy  Kevin Ngwayi, Director at the African Development Association; the founder of Change mind, Change future, Evaristus Khotso Masheane and Africa Monitor, media specialist Joyce Moholola. South Africa is the 3rd group in the world and 1st in the continent to be launching the YESPeace network following countries such as India and Malaysia.

Of particular importance was the strengthening of innovative plans to get young people talking to decision makers who attend important conferences. To this end, ACTIVATE! CEO, Chris Meintjies added: “What if this partnership opens up a cross-pollination of content which creates really rich curricula that could be used by different organisations to create change for peace education.”

UNESCO is a category 1 research institute and YESPeace is one of 22 research projects mandated to help government and young people build awareness on global issues. Amongst the plans to promote the spread of peace education and raise awareness, ACTIVATE! Leadership has plans of coordinating a publication that will specifically deal with documenting African stories, in a manner that celebrates and correctly tells the stories of Africa.

About ACTIVATE!:

ACTIVATE! is a network of 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.

 

On social media:

Twitter: @ActivateZA

Facebook: ACTIVATE! Change Drivers

Website: www.activateleadership.co.za

Instagram: Activate_za

 

For media related queries, please contact:

Nelisa Ngqulana

Communications Manager

Cell: 073 817 8017

 

 


 

Working together, moving South Africa forward

“Our economy needs a major push forward,” President Jacob Zuma said at the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2015 subtly implying that all South Africans should be sharing in the county’s wealth. Just a year before in 2014, the National Development Plan (NDP) and Vision 2030 was designed and implemented to create an inclusive society, offering a better life for all, it presented an opportunity to share in the country’s wealth. Many South Africans’ participation is limited despite the numerous programmes, plans and initiatives being backed by government.

Working together with the NDP and presented to society as the ‘Fixer’ is the 9-Point Plan. It forms part of the Presidential SONA. Intended to accelerate economic growth and create much needed jobs the 9-Point Plan speaks to nine specific focus areas of government for the next year. The plan groups together various sectors, and breaks these down allowing government the room to zone into each sector.

Crippling South Africa’s growth and greatest challenge is unemployment, the current unemployment rate sits at 35% much of this is made up of youth.  To address this the government has implemented projects such as the Expanded Public Works Projects which have alleviated the burden of some young people but has not given them a concrete solution. Keith Gottschalk local political analyst and Political Science Lecturer at the University Western Cape comments on this, “The expanded public works projects have been a lifeline for many, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that seven million jobs need to be created for people with only matric or less there is no substitute for incentivizing business to do this.” This presents a worrying scenario for the country as its still confronted with challenges of higher education and in some provinces basic education too. As we approach SONA 2017, education should be a top priority on the
9-Point Plan. To be a productive nation, we need skilled youth who are going to present new and innovative ideas on how to move the country forward.

Grouped under Operation Phakisa, the Oceans Economy and Tourism have been the focus of the current administration. In recent years, the South African tourism sector has been booming. Strategies such as the Global Marketing Strategy have been implemented by the Tourism Ministry to keep attracting visitors to the country and further grow the sector. The marketing strategy enhances trade relations between countries which could potentially benefit South Africa and translate into additional job creation.  

Gripping headlines globally has been South Africa’s mining sector, the sector has experienced an increase in retrenchments, mine closures and illegal mining activities. This has been noted in the plan, government has committed itself to rebuilding mining towns and expanding South Africa’s mining activities to add to the growth of the economy.  

In addition, to the already mentioned points, government has since recognized that small businesses also have a huge role to play in growing the economy. Over the last few years’ government has been in support of small businesses. Incentives, grants and funding have been set aside for women and young people. As a result there has been a rise in women-owned businesses. Laws have been relooked to favour growth of small businesses, the bidding process has also revised and makes it easier for businesses to work with government. Gottschalk further adds, “The Auditor-General’s report makes it clear that the top priority is to clean up the Supply Chain Management System. The tendering systems are now focused on empowering businesses, tenders are awarded to the lowest bidder and no contractor should be paid before the work is done.”

For the last four years, the energy crisis has been top of the government’s priority list, the Department of Energy has committed itself to improving the state of our energy crisis with the implementation of energy renewable programmes. The department has made great strides in this regard with the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme. A total of 52% of job opportunities that came from this programme have been given to youth.

Rural renewal and development has seen the agro-processing sector grow, progress has been made with transforming the Land Bank into a strong development finance institution that will play a bigger and effective role in rural and agricultural development.

All this work must be followed through with the advancement of state reform, access to internet, transport infrastructure and the basic sanitation services. Too many boundaries exist between the rural and urban areas, often the rural areas become lost due to the inaccessibility to information. Budgets have been set aside by government for all segments of the plan, however some communities still experience exclusion as the funds do not reach them.  

The country sits in anticipation as the SONA approaches South Africa would like to see a plan that materialises and does not remain. A comprehensive plan that targets higher education, and offer a constructive solution to the country. During 2016, a large percentage of youth benefitted from the 9-Point. South Africa wants to see an increase in the opportunities presented to the youth. South Africans would also like to see the 9-Point Plan speak to corruption.  

Confronting our social defects to equip the youth

South Africa is a United Nations Member State. The UN has recently officiated the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Over the next fifteen (15) years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, SA among others will mobilise efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities, and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind. We’ll thus implement the 2030 SDG, the Africa We Want 2063 Vision and others concerning SA’s development.

An unprecedented number of world leaders recently emphasized the role of youth in shaping a better future in their national statements during the UN General Assembly.  59 countries highlighted the importance of youth development and participation, recognizing young people’s contributions to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to international peace and security. This is what leaders had to say:

South Africa: President Jacob Zuma recalled key developments in South Africa’s history, such as the 1976 youth uprisings, which “highlighted and cemented the role of young people in fighting for liberation and a better society.” This example, he stated, is similar to the theme of this year’s General Assembly debate on “Sustainable Development Goals: A universal push to transform our world,” recognizing the power of youth in improving our world.

Our global development partners (BRICS: Brazil, Russia, India and USA) had these to say:

Brazil: President Michel Temer highlighted the need for stronger support to young people’s education in his country. “We must also turn our eyes to minorities and other more vulnerable segments of our societies. This is what Brazil has done, by means of cash transfer programs and better access to housing and education, including financing for students from poor families.”

Russian Federation: In his address, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: “It is necessary before it is too late to dwell on the task to prevent the proliferation of terrorist and extremist ideology, which literally holds the youth hostage in various regions of the world. We are drafting a UN Security Council resolution aimed at mobilizing efforts to eliminate this evil and looking forward to your support of our initiative.”

India: Minister for External Afffairs, Sushma Swaraj focused on India’s efforts empowering young people through technology training and education opportunities. “Digital India is transforming the country. Under the Skill India initiative, a number of programmes are underway to enable youth to reap the demographic dividend. These initiatives have added a new dimension to India’s growth story, making it the fastest growing major economy in the world at a time of slow global growth.”

United States of America: In his statement, President Barack Obama (Now Former President) praised young people’s commitment to education and entrepreneurship, as well as their strong feelings of empathy toward others. “Entrepreneurs need to access information. In order to invent, young people need a global education in order to thrive. I have seen that spirit in our young people, who are more educated and more tolerant, and more inclusive and more diverse, and more creative than our generation who are more empathetic and compassionate towards their fellow human beings than previous generations.”

Because we’re a growing economy still recovering from our bitter past, we need to confront our social defects before they raise their ugly heads again.  South Africans are travelling all over the world, seeking better opportunities and sometimes we’re finding ourselves in difficult circumstances.

As a result, we shouldn’t unfairly demonise ourselves in SA, but seek to understand that every country has its own prejudices, its own sense of superiority or exceptionalism. We also need to come-up with innovative ways to possibly incorporate the symbols of our past into our present SA in an effort towards building an inclusive future.

For a large part of our own, SA is one country that has dealt with compromises. It’s one country that has not been able to frame its own history and its own narrative. We have spoken enough about ‘reconciliation’ even though there hasn’t been much reconciliation. We thus need to talk more about ‘the reconciliation of the economy, the haves and the have-nots, reconciliation between those who were privileged and those who were underprivileged under one roof.

We also need to acknowledge and celebrate our own heroes and heroines, not Mandela alone. People like Jafta J Masemola, Robert Sobukwe, Es’kia Mphahlele, O.R Tambo, Kgoshi Marishane, Kgoshi Mampuru, Lillian Ngoyi, Govan Mbeki, Chris Hani and Bantu Steve Biko among others who fought against the apartheid regime for the liberation of South Africa and its people.

With 80% of the people in SA being black Africans, we must not apologise about teaching our youth about their African history. In fact, we owe it to them.

We thus need to capacitate our educational sector, to properly serve the interests of our people. We’ve proven to be strong in the primary economy, but we must have trained professionals to move us into the secondary and tertiary economies. We should be able to provide high level services and manufacture our own goods, even cars!

The reality is, we have structural inequality and structural unemployment because the economy hasn’t been able to absorb labour. So in essence, we’re presented with a very sensitive but unacceptable reality, whereby not only are there people who have never been employed, but also, a huge probability of having people who may never work and this is why we need radical robust transformation.

Koketso Marishane writes as an active concerned citizen. 

What young leaders can learn from Oliver Tambo

Oliver Tambo; a herder boy who became a giant; a man with a vision for a better tomorrow; an exemplar of leadership and service to others. Tambo left a rich legacy that will forever occupy a superior echelon within our minds and our hearts. In honour of the great man, the theme under which the State of the Nation Address (SONA) will be celebrated is: The Year of Oliver Reginald Tambo: Unity in Action Together Moving South Africa Forward.

By elevating the memory of Tambo, what he stood for, the qualities he unpretentiously embodied which made him great, we also continuously endeavour to become that which we admired in him. Today more than ever, the country needs a different calibre of leader, a leader that will touch the deepest essence of all South Africans to inspire them to do better, to be better. A leader that will take decisions with the highest probability of the best outcome for everyone involved. Someone once said, excellent leadership is like the light, it touches every aspect of life, while poor leadership is like the dark, always in the shadows darkening areas of life.

As young people running the gauntlet of life, it is up to us to be brave, like Tambo, and take up the challenge to be ethical influencers and leaders while inspiring and motivating others around us. For many young leaders in South Africa, Tambo represents the finest example of how a leader should contribute to transcending performance and service to others. When questioned about what could be learned from Tambo, Activators had this to say:

Prince Charles: “Oliver Tambo had patience. He was determined to build a nation, sadly we don’t have that anymore. Next week is the SONA, yet we don’t have a nation’s frame of mind. We need to be a nation first, then we can have the state of the nation.”

Nhlanhla Ndlovu: “My view is that Oliver was very tactful. From the 60’s when he was a commander of MK, he had a way of dealing with situations that were rather inflammatory in a way that would leave both sides calm while establishing a way forward. He was fearless. He was a think tank himself and was the kind of leader that was respectful to both subordinates and those he reported to. Yet, I also think his diplomacy and tact was a weakness at times as it affected his ability to act decisively and always waited for the “right” or favourable moment to act. This can be a weakness and a strength.

Tennyson Magura: “In my view, OR Tambo was honest (sometimes brutally so), he was a teacher, as he mentored Thabo Mbeki and was instrumental in Mbeki becoming Deputy President of the ANC and RSA. He was an Africanist who advocated for the mainstreaming of the African identity within our politics.”

Xabisa Roqo: “Selfless revolution and morals.”

Asanda Molose: “Tambo taught us that the people from the Pondoland lead with agility, that education should be paramount in any nation to better navigate societal structures.”

Aloma Malgas: “His perseverance, calmness, strength and willingness to see his people free is what I have taken from Tambo. It’s a lesson to us young leaders to have strength when things don’t go accordingly and to serve humbly.”

Sikhonza Madasa: “Tambo was a unifier, a plottist, a tactician and good at forming relationships.”

Tambo strived to achieve the faultless ideals of democracy and freedom, but what faultless ideals will the youth of today champion? What is the mission of our generation? At the funeral of Oliver Tambo on 02 May 1993, Nelson Mandela said:

“Oliver lived not because he did all the things that all of us as ordinary men and women do. Oliver lived because he had surrendered his very being to the people. He lived because his very being embodied love, an idea, a hope, an aspiration, a vision.”  

“While he lived, our minds would never quite formulate the thought that this man is other than what the naked eye could see. We could sense it, but never crystallise the thought that with us was one of the few people who inhabited our own human environment, who could be described as the jewel in our crown. I say that Oliver Tambo has not died, because the ideals for which he sacrificed his life can never die.”

Lest we forget…

Photo credit: Hapakenya.com

Understanding SA’s youth agenda

For immediate release

 

Understanding SA’s misrepresented youth agenda

Why the country’s largest population is ignored?

South Africa’s youth has a default culture of shaping the direction of the nation’s progress. With statistics indicating that South Africa’s population is comprised of over 60% of young people under the age of 35, it can be naturally assumed that the youth agenda should be a key consideration in the country’s policy-development. This is sadly not the case. High levels of unemployment, which carry with them the ripple-effect of poverty and crime have a greater impact on the country’s youth.

With the current administration repositioning itself to recapture the heartstrings of the nation, President Jacob Zuma’s January 8th statement for the African National Congress’s 105th anniversary, was dedicated to the late ANC stalwart Oliver Reginald Tambo who felt strongly about active citizenship. The President’s address created an immediate impression that the ruling and its leaderships are ready to listen and act on the needs of the nation.

With a youth fatigued by well-intentioned policies, which are yet to deem results that benefit the masses; questions have risen on whether having more young people within the country’s policy-making and leaderships structures could have a positive effect on addressing the youth agenda.

ACTIVATE! Change Drivers; a network founded on encouraging youth development and molding future leaders through prioritising active citizenry has its finger firmly on the pulse of the country’s youth agenda. This network of over 2 000 forward-thinking youth are planning on re-intensifying their efforts to bringing emphasis on prioritizing the youth agenda beyond policy development. #SOTY2017 is the network’s campaign aimed at highlighting key youth issues that need to be brought into consideration during the President’s much-anticipated upcoming State of the Nation Address, which will be delivered on February 9th 2017.

“Through #SOTY2017, we would like to highlight the fact that since 2008, there have been over six youth-centric policies developed, which include the NYDA; National Skills Accord and the National Youth Policy – none of which have been successfully implemented and influenced the change in the concerning socio-economic climate that is experienced by a clear majority of the country’s youth,” says Nelisa Ngqulana, Communications Manager at ACTIVATE! Change Drivers. “If we look at the State of the Nation Addresses over the past five years; the youth agenda is always positioned as an after-thought. This is great dis-service for population group that makes up a majority of the country. We are saying the State of the Nation is the State of Youth (hence #SOTY)”.

The creation of economic opportunities seems the key priority of South African youth. The current global crisis has halted the envisioned 4% growth rate, thus putting more pressure on the government to come up with creative and sustainable solutions geared at empowering the youth.

“For us, active citizenry can be developed to be a key development tool for South African youth,” says Ngqulana. “Youths from our rural areas with limited resources have been taking the development of their communities in their own hands, which has brought some commendable results. The engagements we have in our network clearly indicate that providing young South Africans with much needed support and the presence of effective activated policies will directly contribute towards the betterment of the country’.

 

Ends

For more information on the programme check out the following:

Websites: www.activateleadership.co.za

Social Media

Twitter: @ActivateZA and #SOTY2017

Facebook: Activate! Change Driver

About ACTIVATE!:

ACTIVATE! is a network of 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 media related queries, please contact:

Nelisa Ngqulana

073 817 8017

Nelisa@activateleadereship.co.za