SWITCH ANNUAL SEMINAR 2018

“Exploring the Social Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in a South African Context” 13 – 14 October 2018 at Workshop17 Maboneng

DAY ONE Saturday 13 October SE Ecosystems & Financing

Time Session Facilitator

9:00 – 9:15 Welcome!

  • Why Workshop17 Maboneng?
  • Why Switch?

Westleigh – OPEN Nhlanhla, Claire – SSEP

9:15 – 9:45 Plenary: “Exploring Social Entrepreneurship

Ecosystem in a South African Context”

Belisa – Belle & Co.

9:45 – 10:30 Play: “Switchers Build an Ecosystem” Belisa – Belle & Co.

10:30 – 11:30 Networking Tea Capacity Building

11:20 – 12:10 Breakaway Sessions:

  • Why Social ENTREPRENEURSHIP (MTN Foundation)
  • The Art of Failing (BBC)
  • How to get funder ready (Black Umbrellas)

Guest Facilitators

12:10 – 13:10 Lunch

13:10 – 14:10 Maximizing Opportunities Interactive Session BBC, NYDA, RED Bull

Amaphiko, Black Umbrellas

14:10 – 14:45 How To: “Financial Modelling for Social

Enterprises”

Asanda – ACTIVATE!

14:45 – 15:00 Working Tea

15:00 – 17:30 Digital Skills Training For Entrepreneurs Facebook

17:30 Closing and Thanks SSEP

DAY TWO Sunday 14 October Making an Impact

Time Session Facilitator

9:00 – 9:10 Welcome back! Nhlanhla – SSEP

9:10 – 9:40 Plenary: Inspirational SE story Greenpop CEO

BRICS Media Journal

9:40 – 10:30 Breakaway Sessions:

  • Building Your Narrative: “Power of storytelling & How to build your story”
  • Building M&E Indicators: “How To Plan For Impact”

Red Bull Amaphiko

Aliyah – ACTIVATE!

10:30 – 10:50 Networking Tea

10:50 – 11:50 Panel: “How ITC Plays a Role in the SE Ecosystem”

  • Q&A

Guest Panelists x 3 Switch Facilitator

11:50 – 12:15 Lessons from India: “A Startup Safari Experience” Penester & Vusi –

Switch

12:15 – 12:30 Insights: “Morning Lightbulb Moments”

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch

13:30 – 13:45 How to: “Pitch Like A Pro” Activators

13:45 – 16:00 Pitching Den Panelists

16:00 – 16:15 Announce Winners & Prizes

16:00 – 16:30 Closing Remarks & Thanks SSEP

Facilitator: Northern Cape Region/Upington area

Siyashesha Leadership Incubator is a non-profit organisation that develops skills builds opportunity and connects young leaders from across South Africa through the Activate programme.

Siyashesha seeks to appoint a Trainer/Facilitator, whom will report in Western Cape Nodal office but will cover the Upington area and surrounding areas in the Cape provinces.

The successful applicant will join a team of trainers to co-facilitate the Activate Programme. S/he is expected to be committed to and passionate about Development in South Africa. S/he will lead in-depth conversations, exploring the depth and breadth of many challenging topics and extracting a great deal of energy and participation from the incredible young leaders in the programme. The applicant must be willing to be away from home and present at the training venue for an average of 10 consecutive residential training days per month.

Key responsibilities:
· Work with nodal team members strategically during preparation phase
· Develop an inclusive environment conducive to adult learning:
· Effectively deliver training event and training sessions to the agreed standard
· Maintain contact and links with Activator networks where feasible
· Manage and ensure that own administration and reporting systems are maintained and timeously completed
· Comply with policy and procedures relating to the training programme, operations and human resources management.

Requirements:
· Graduate qualification and a minimum 3 years facilitation experience
· Computer literacy

177 Main Rd Muizenberg Cape Town 7945 T. 087 820 4873 F. 086 091 5657 www.activateleadership.co.za
Siyashesha Leadership Incubator NPC Reg no 2011/000482/08
DIRECTORS: Chris Meintjes, Grace Matlhape, Danaventhan Pillai, Michael Savage, Margaret Worthington -Smith, Yolande Wright

Social media competence
· Administrative capability & organising abilities
· Valid driver’s license
· Accredited assessor and moderator will be advantageous

Attributes
· Team player with initiative, problem-solving skills;
· Effective communicator
· Flexible, outgoing and energetic
· Able to manage stress well

Shortlisted candidates will go through a rigorous interview process on communication skills, training ability and level of understanding of training materials. Candidates may also be subjected to appropriate psychometric testing and other selection instruments.
Salary Range: R14 000 – R15 500 per month dependent on experience. To apply, submit a CV copy of your ID and recent pay slip if possible as well as a motivation letter to hr@localhost by no later than Monday
19 February 2018

Subject line info: “Roving Facilitator W C for Upington area
No late CV’s will be considered. Please ensure your CV reflects your recent email address, town of residence and cell phone number.
Should no feedback be received within two weeks of the closing date, kindly accept that your application was not successful.

 

16 Days of Activism Activator Events

In observance of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, Activators across the country will participate in various programmes and initiatives aimed at raising awareness about this scourge.

On the 24th November from 09:00 to 14:00, Port Elizabeth based Activators will join Amnesty International at the Nelson Mandela University as part of a panel-discussion themed “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All”. Contact Activator Prince Charles for More Information on 081 446 1903.

On Saturday the 25th November, Activators from across the Free State will gather at Goldfields Casino Hall in Welkom as part of the BMF Gender Catalyst Seminar. For more information contact Activator Mihkenso Ngobeni @ 073 185 2031

In Eldorado Park in Gauteng, Activators will be at the launch of the #ZEROTOLERANCE Campaign as coordinated by the Eldorado Park Local Drug Action Committee in partnership with the Gauteng Department of Social Development and the South African Police. Contact Paris Makaringe for more information at 082 515 7520.

Khayelitsha based Activator Ntombisizwe Mkonto will launch the #ThePeopleVsHer campaign aimed at highlighting the pertinent challenge of gender based violence. The campaign coincides with the launch of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence on the 25th November. For more details contact Ntombisizwe @ 071 725 7665

On 30 November Activators in Merafong, Gauteng will join AfriMan Rising Campaign, the brainchild of Sello Maake kaNcube Foundation. Various dialogues will be held around challenging violent masculinity. For more information contact Nhlanhla Ndlovu on 076 689 6231

Applications for Switch 2018 are now open!

SSEP APPLICATIONS OPEN 20 Nov 2017 – 19 JAN 2018

The applications for Switch Social Entrepreneurship Programme are now open!
Please read the attached brochure and below information to ensure you fully understand the programme, its offering and what it expects from you.

The SSEP accepts 60 candidates a year. Due to limit spaces, we are looking for the brightest and most sustainable social enterprise concepts. As the programme runs over 11 months, we’re also seeking activators who are fully committed to learning and building their idea.

Please see more about the programme on our Facebook page and attched brochure.

Basic requirements:

  • Completed the ACD Training
  • Basic computer literacy
  • Access to internet and a computer
Time Management:
The SSEP is a part-time programme so you can complete it while working and/or studying but please note that time management and planning is crucial to get the best out of this experience.
There are 7 home missions that need to completed by required deadlines throughout the year. Although we provide plenty of time for these to be completed, it is still important that you plan your SSEP work according to your availability.Remote Support:
SSEP prides itself in creating a warm, supportive and family-like environment for all candidates. We offer loads of support via various platforms, regardless of where you are. Any challenge does not need to be experienced on your own as we’re always here to help. We understand life happens and we have your back the whole way through.

Missions:
Missions are home tasks which you’re expected to complete within a certain time frame. These missions are fun, offer significant skills development and bring something new to you with each one. The biggest mission of the year is a fundraising event which you will plan and host (with our support of course). Please note that your confidence will grow with every mission and they are designed to help you learn and build your idea. Resources and support is continuously shared on our SSEP Facebook group for your convenience.

Communication/Accountability:
Thorough communication throughout the programme is important to ensure a positive experience for all involved. Should you face any challenges, miss a deadline or have a change of personal details, please be sure to communicate with the SSEP team via email, Facebook or phone.

Cancellations:
Should you miss a mission deadline or workshop without prior communication, it results in immediate programme cancellation.
Every deadline and workshop is compulsory to complete the programme.
Should you choose to cancel your SSEP journey, please note that we reserve the right to request death certificates/doctors notes.

Cost:
R 150 (non-refundable) for those who have been accepted and choose to join us.
Switchers cover their own travel to provincial workshops and the annual seminar. SSEP does NOT offer travel reimbursements.

Workshop locations:
The locations of the workshops during March/April 2018 is dependent on the location of successful applicants but we visit almost every province – meeting you half way 🙂

SSEP does not:

  • Offer funding or financial support for any project.
  • Offer an accredited certificate
  • Incubate small businesses (we are a PRE-incubation programme)
What happens after SSEP?
Once completing the whole programme, you join a network of previous Switchers and awesome connections within and beyond the Activate network related to social enterprise.
You will receive a letter of completion detailing the various skills you have acquired.
Although we are not an incubator, we will have partnerships with incubators across the country and offer those connections to the most dedicated Switchers who have been able to excel throughout the programme (meet every deadline and show significant growth) – should you choose to start your own project.Many Switchers choose to take their SSEP learnings to further their studies or find work with an existing social enterprise. This is also a great path to take.
You will be included on a mailing list and Facebook group of continuous opportunities.

I’m ready to apply! What now?

Please apply online here

The outcome of your application can be expected in your inbox by end of January 2018. We wish you the best of luck!!!

Introducing the A! Health Champions

Pssss…. have you heard? ACTIVATE! has a new focus group where all their focus will be on the #YouthHealthMatters. Over the past 5 years, the ACTIVATE! has had Activators that have been working in isolation in various health initiatives. Well, this year we are happy to introduce the A! Health Champions that are Activators that are running initiatives or working within the Health sector who are working together to become an influential force for good, in the South African Health Sector.

Now you maybe asking yourself what is this A! Health sector and what role it plays in assisting the alleviation of the high disease burden in the country? Well, the A! Health Sector is a platform where Activators working with Health issues or rather under the Health Department work together to implement real change in the community. The sector recognises the work done by both the health workers on the ground and the government health Departments. With that said, the plan is to assist in professionalising and elevating the work that the A! Health Champions are doing in their communities.

As we have seen the South African Department of Health has and still is making a huge effort in trying to reduce the number of people infected by HIV/AIDS, especially the growing number of young people living with the disease. The other issue is that the government is trying to control the high rate of young people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs. The country’s disease burden is such that the government can’t be working alone to resolve issues. Which is why the A! Health Champions have taken it upon themselves to work with the government and other sectors to ensure that we have an impact. We believe that by working together, we can make a difference.

The main reason for this increase in the country’s disease burden is that the Health Sector is not youth friendly or youth-led. The A! Health Champions have been engaging youth and have taken it upon themselves to be at the forefront of the pandemic and are leading alternative methods of combating the high disease burden. They are also championing the importance of living healthy lifestyles so that youth can see that there are positive alternative lifestyles options rather than drinking or doing drugs for fun.

Currently the A! Health Champions, have received various achievements such as reduction in pregnancies in the various university campus, and they have been finalists for various organizations such as the Innovation Hub, SABC Ventures and have received funding and support from their communities. They have trained over 140 HIV Counsellors and are assisting in increasing the pass rate in nursing schools while advocating for youth-friendly clinics nationally. And we are only getting started.

How will the A! Health Sector keep the fire burning? It will be hosting its 1st A! Health Bosberaad, in partnership with FEM and HOSPERSA. A bosberaad is an exclusive get-away to a secluded venue, usually in the bundus, that politicians used to attend during the apartheid era, to end political deadlocks. The A! Health Bosberaad will take place on the 1st to the 4th of November, 2017. 30 Activators from across the country, will come together with a goal to strategise for our future community initiatives and our role in implementing the National Adolescent and Youth Health Policy 2017. The A! Health Champions Pledge Ceremony will be the After Party of the Year. Tickets are sold out! Don’t miss the next one if you are an Activator who is a health professional or working in a health initiative and would like to join the A! Health Champions.

We have exciting plans for the next couple of years and are also in the process of working with exciting partners that will help us grow the impact in our communities. Join us!

https://chat.whatsapp.com/7ut44GWUjsBEHpXSwYy0QA

We are the alternative!

#YouthHealthMatters

 

Contact Us

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ACTIVATE! CEO declares Mphanama Station Official

On the 24th of November 2016, the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers Chief Executive Officer Christopher Meintjies accompanied by the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers Limpopo Provincial Acting Representative Koketso Marishane, visited Mphanama (Ga-Kgaphola) in Limpopo Province to meet with the Kgaphola Royal Council and the Tubatse Fetakgomo Municipal officials as part of the national tour to inspect how provinces are functioning.

“We’ve been working tirelessly with Koketso Marishane since ACTIVATE! Change Drivers visited our community. Our youth are very much excited about the program and they’ve joined in large numbers to express their hunger for development,” said Mphanama Community leader, Sir. S.P Kgaphola

ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, a free apolitical youth leadership development program represented throughout South Africa, trains South African youth on socio-economic and geo-political dynamics of the country and the world.

“ACTIVATE! has really helped me discover my leadership potential by affording me the platform to showcase my talents as a young person from rural Limpopo”, said Activator Mogau Kgaphola.

There are currently 2000 people in the ACTIVATE! network nation-wide and approximately 500 of them are from Limpopo Province and the program will be continuing for a brief while before it gets discontinued in the near future.

“I’m honoured to be accompanied by the CEO of the program to Mphanama, Ga-Kgaphola. But, I’m equally honoured to be welcomed and appreciated for the work we’ve been doing through the program in the community. Our visit here thus reaffirms our commitment to continue relations as we’ve started and we’re going bigger in terms of the work scope”, said ACTIVATE! Limpopo Acting Provincial Representative, Koketso Marishane.

Mphanama has been identified and acknowledged both at provincial and national level as one of the promising communities needing special focus for development. Through their efforts, reports show that the youth are serious about development hence other records of their predecessors are testimony to that.

“We are fortunate today to be receiving visitors from as far as Western Cape- Cape Town. We’re appreciative of their efforts, but most importantly, their interest in developing our people in this rural space. We promise and commit ourselves as the Fetakgomo-Tubatse Local Municipality to support the initiative for our development”, said the Mphanama Ward Councillor, Mr. S Kgaphola.

“I’m happy to be welcomed, acknowledged and appreciated by the Kgaphola Royal House in their community. I’m also happy to see the wonderful work done by our ACTIVATE! members in this community together with other young people within the Sekhukhune area. I am thus content to declare this venue, the ACTIVATE! Sekhukhune District Station and with that said, I look forward to strengthening relations with people within this area on future projects starting from 2017”, said ACTIVATE! Change Drivers CEO, Christopher Meintjies.

“Our people have for a long time been longing for services. We’re now happy that their cries will be a thing of the past,” concluded the Kgaphola Royal House Representative, Sir. M Kgaphola


Ambassadors of Change Hosts Heritage Day Event

Established in February 2016, Ambassadors of Change is a youth-orientated group that seeks to inspire the youth in communities to identify and develop their talent and their mission is to develop new role models with profile and educational support.

They also motivate them to live their lives to the fullest. The organisation has 70 dedicated members. Youth coordinator and founders of Ambassadors of Change are Faith Thando Sidinana, Sibabalwe Mkungela and Sibulele Qavile.

A united team with the love of CHANGE in young people in life, together with hosted successful Heritage Day event at the United Methodist Church in ward 96 in Makhaza, Khayelitsha. We’re grateful that, finally, an event of this nature took place here in Makhaza. We invested so much time to make this event a success, it was not easy but it was worth it,” said Sibulele

The event saw different communities, groups of elders and youth gather together to celebrate culture and customs. Attendees included musicians, artists, drama enthusiasts and individuals sporting traditional wear. Community leader, Pastor Mashiya from the Covenant Evangelism Movement also attended the event and said: “Through these kinds of events we want to promote a drug-free society where the youth will divert its attention to programmes that will build and benefit society.” “Our children lose focus because there is no one to establish their natural talents and send them to relevant people to nurture potential growth and recognition. That is why significant days like Heritage Day allows us as parents to note what else our children are good at. Our role after this event is to give the necessary support to these kids,” added Pastor Mashiya.

Founder/Activator, Thando Sidinana said: “Through networking we have been able to put together this successful celebration for our community and we are grateful for the positive response from our community.” Thando who has been a member of ACTIVATE since 2014 and Although the event was a resounding success, our main speaker, Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Buti Manamela couldn’t speak to us because he arrived early to an empty venue and had to proceed to other commitments. We are calling for people to learn to respect time.

Ward 96 councillor Danile khatshwa said it was good to be at the event, to celebrate the importance of culture and its practices. Danile furthermore urged parents and the community of Makhaza to take centre role in shaping communities through arts and culture programmes. He said: “Respect, tolerance and sympathy is one of the fundamental practices that need to be brought back to our societies so that we can eliminate a number of wrong doings and wrong doers.” “Parents are quick to judge their children on the choices they make, instead of listening and reasoning with children while finding common ground to meet each other half-way. This is why we have so many children on the streets, because there was no common ground reached at home, no support at all. So today, I urge parents to take Arts as an important field to bring together isizw’esimnyama (black community),” added Danile. Amongst the groups that had outstanding performances were the Proud Young Dancers who originate from Khayelitsha and is made up of young girls and boys who are five years old and older. “Children bring light and unity to us,” said ululating Makhaza community member.

Ambesiwe Vutuza, member of the Grade 4 Arts Group, Ezakwantu said: “I joined the group this year through my brother. The group has been a home away from home, I have met new brothers and sisters and we all love each other. I couldn’t sleep on Friday night; I was so excited waiting for this day to arrive so that I could showcase my talent.” In her late seventies, Gogo (grandmother) Nophambili Qavile from Eastern Cape, in Centane said: “I arrived early Saturday morning from Transkei to support my grandchildren in their cultural performances. I am overwhelmed to be here, these traditional dances remind me of my early days when we would sing and dance at every household in Centane during a traditional ceremony,” said a happy Gogo Nophambili.

Switch Weekend Comes To A Close

After a hearty breakfast, the final day of the Switch weekend seminar commenced with Paul Smith, founder and CEO of Ignitor, a company accelerating and assisting entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. Ignitor does this by utilising the LEAN start-up programme, coaching and mentoring.

Paul introduced Switchers to methods to test business ideas quickly, the importance of product-market fit, how to make the first 100 people in your business happy and the importance of writing a simple pitch utilising credibility markers to convince funders.

Switchers were encouraged to become part of the Ignitor Accelerator programme but were discouraged that the programme was not offered in rural areas. “If you want to become part of the Accelerator programme, be proactive, come together and raise money to invite organisations like Ignitor to your areas. You as Switchers need to take the lead and be innovative about how you go about soliciting help,” said Switch Co-ordinator, Carrie Leaver. “We need you guys to succeed. If you look at what makes life successful, its entrepreneurship, especially in technology. Go out there and build a better world,” said Paul.

Second guest speaker, Frank Magwegwe, CEO of Momentum Market and certified financial planner representing the Financial Planning Institute of South Africa, gave a talk on Money 101 and spoke about essential financial management strategies for start-up businesses. “Money does three things for us: we either spend it, we save it or we share it. For people to better manage money, you need to change behaviour. We go through life and have many money decisions to make. We make about 4-6 money decisions a day, whether these money decisions fall within your means is another question,” said Frank.

After sharing an embarrassing story about buying a trolley of groceries but not having enough money to pay for it, Frank spoke about the importance of budgeting. “Budgeting is beautiful because budgeting is simply a spending plan, you direct the money instead of the money directing you.”

Quick rules for budgeting

  • 50% of your money should go for essentials.
  • 30% of your money should go to lifestyle choices.
  • 20% of your money should go to savings.

Sobering money facts

  • 77 out of 100 South Africans have no money left at the end of the month.
  • 86 out of 100 South Africans use credit for day-to-day expenses.
  • 94 out of 100 South Africans don’t have enough money for retirement.
  • 8-9 % of clients say they don’t save because they don’t have money to save.
  • Spinach is 10 times more expensive from Woolworths than at Shoprite.

Frank furthermore highlighted that saving doesn’t create wealth, only taking risks creates wealth. “You must take risks and that is where investing comes in. If you keep your money in your savings account, you’re probably getting a 3% growth, however u can grow your money by more than 9% if you invest in shares on the stock exchange for example,” he explained.

Carrie furthermore emphasised the importance of a having a group of like-minded people outside the Switch environment as grouping together is the best way to share ideas and resources after the seminar. “You are not alone. There are probably people all over the country who are looking for like-minded people. Social media platforms are not only a good source of motivation and inspiration but they also connect us all, use them,” lamented Carrie.

At the end of the final day of the seminar, Switchers felt encouraged and appropriately equipped with requisite skills to make their individual projects a success. “Success is never a straight line, there are unexpected turns and obstacles you will encounter. Switch can only take you so far, but the onus is on you to make your project a success. Failures are part of journey, embrace it and move forward. What makes us Switchers is we see opportunities and we see problems, but the problems excite us,” said Carrie.

Switcher, Lusanda Yose from the Eastern Cape was beaming with optimism and hopefulness at the idea of opening her own coffee shop at the end of the weekend seminar. “Switch helped me because I had a lot of ideas but no idea on how to implement them. Switch has helped me explore other avenues and because of that I’ve had a good year. I look forward to putting in the work to make my coffee dreams a reality,” she said.


 

Inaugural Switch Weekend Seminar Kicks Off

Fifty-five delegates from around the country joined together in the first ever national SWITCH weekend seminar at the Alpha Conference Centre in Johannesburg. The seminar brings together Switchers from diverse backgrounds who run various projects in their communities to exchange ideas, exchange lessons learned, develop skills and inspire each other to strive for greatness.  

Drive, resilience and determination are words Switchers know intimately. After travelling from far and wide, with some spending hours on a bus to get to the seminar, Switchers enthusiastically participated in a networking session, public speaking activity and shared experiences, among others. The day was jam-packed with dynamic speakers and informative presentations created to reinforce the positive gains Switchers have achieved within their individual projects. Said Ndumiso Sokhela from Durban: “For me, the day has enlightened me and provided me with specific information as a networker and public speaker to achieve my project goals.”

Guest speaker, Steve Mululu, CEO of Dream Body kicked off the seminar by emphasising the importance of seizing opportunities. Using an unconventional presentation style, Steve rattled the group by challenging who they are, why they were at the seminar and how they propose to plan for the future. Steve furthermore hammered home the significance of time: “Time is the only true democracy in the world. We only have 24 hours in a day. It doesn’t matter where you come from or who you are time is consistently constant. The difference is what you do with your time. Do you invest your time or spend your time? That will determine how your future unfolds,” he said. Duane Kok from Pietermaritzburg encapsulated Steve in one word “organic.”

Carrie Leaver, SWITCH Co-ordinator gave the group a practical talk on legal forms for social enterprises, touching on essential issues every social enterprise should be cognisant of when registering. Carrie emphasised the importance of understanding the purpose of a ventured social enterprise, and the difference in processes when registering or applying for funds as PTY’s, NPO’s or NGO’s: “130 0000 non-profit organisations are competing for the same funds and corporate spaces are also tighter with money. If you have a sustainable business plan, companies will give you money. You just have to find the right funders,” explained Carrie.  

Another guest speaker, Mpumelelo Zulu, founder of Kofi Africa, the first premium coffee bar in Soweto along renowned Vilakazi Street, shared his experience of creating a credible brand and owning his dream: “You need to believe your brand is actually good. That’s why I strive to give my customers a good cup of coffee even when I’m not there,” he said. 

The group also participated in a public speaking exercise facilitated by Slilindile Ncube where she highlighted essential public speaking skills required for funding presentations. Erika Joubert presented a session on partnership analysis in order for Switchers to understand collaboration, the difference between developmental partnerships VS ordinary joint ventures and the various forms that partnerships can take.  

Although the group was thoroughly spent by the end of the first day, everyone seemed excited to confront the final day of the weekend seminar. At close of the first day, William Sirengqe from Orange Farm said: “It was well organised and the content was fruitful,” while  Dean Jates from Western Cape said: “The first day has reminded me that I’m on the right track and its okay to make mistakes, but it’s equally okay to be successful, I can’t wait for tomorrow.”

PRESS RELEASE: Ambassadors of Change Driving Heritage Day

Formally known as Shaka Day before 1995, Heritage Day is a national holiday and gives South Africans a chance to pause and take stock how their diversity can contribute to building a better South Africa.This day brings different forms of cultural appreciation and celebration nationally, as the young and old embrace their cultural identity in various ways and in spaces.  

Ambassadors of Change (AOC), is hosting an event that will take place on Saturday, 24th September 2016 at the Methodist Church in Makhaza. As country with different cultures, with many people from Africa, this youth organisation saw the need to give the Khayelitsha community a chance to reflect on themselves and their past, present and future- more specifically the youth of this country.

Ambassadors of Change is a youth organization that was founded in February 2016 by a dynamic group of young people in Makhaza that saw the need to drive change using innovative tools for development. Faith Thando Sidinana, who is one of the members of AOC, is part of the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers Network of just over 2000 young leaders who are active citizens for public good.

We are aiming at encouraging people to learn about their culture, our National flag, our national anthem and other symbols of historic importance. We want to celebrate our achievements as a nation and look forward to a peaceful and prosperous future”, says Faith.

The Deputy Minister in The Presidency, Mr. Buti Manamela, is expected to give a keynote speech at the event, along with other inspirational speakers with various youth development backgrounds. The dynamic cultural group of young dancers: The Proud Young Dancers, under the Texas Battle Foundation, will be rendering a traditional dance performance.

The event will take place at:

40878 Gwegweleza Street

Makhaza

Khayelitsha

7784

To confirm your attendance, contact Faith on 0786831829 .

For Media Related Queries, contact

Nelisa Ngqulana

ACTIVATE! Communications Manager

Email: nelisa@localhost

Cell: 0738178017

Social Change Drivers Making Local Government Work

One of the easiest ways young people can be involved in local government is by building relationships with their elected officials in areas where they live; run social media campaigns to initiate conversations on accountability and active citizenship. This is the backdrop of the Swing Your Vote campaign. An initiative started by a group of change drivers who include members of the ACTIVATE! Network 

Swing Your Vote comes at a perfect time where youth from democratic processes abstinence is on the rise. According to Statistics South Africa, out of 24.9 million people on the voters’ roll and approximately 9.1 million eligible voters are not registered – more than 80% of these below the age of 35. Swing Your Vote, the one-year-old organisation, has received overwhelming support from seasoned political activists, experts and governance scholars.

In order to bring to speed with latest youth governance issues, Swing Your Vote members have attended a Public Governance course which was conducted by one of South Africa’s youth development organisations, Educo Africa.

 The organisation hosts online discussions, dialogues and interactive workshops in public spaces such as schools, clinics, churches, trains and taverns. They also use informative posters, pamphlets and stickers at the same public spaces. The aim is not just to mobilise the masses but also educate the public about how local government works.

Members of Swing Your Vote believe that young people have a right to be actively involved in democratic processes and to voice out their concerns and opinions. Therefore in order to ensure that such happens, they have decided to drive meaningful change in local government across the Western Cape at grassroots level starting with the upcoming municipal elections.


According to the leaders of #SwingYourVote, funding and getting more young people interested in addressing social ills are some of the challenges that the youth organization is facing. Swing Your Vote Public Relations Manager Anele Wondo cleared some of the misconceptions about the organization. “We are a young public governance awareness organization, nothing more or less than that. We are not starting a political party nor are we affiliated to one”,  she said.

One of South Africa’s revered political stalwarts, and former President Nelson Mandela’s  and political adviser, Dr Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada is one of many prominent leaders who believe that initiatives such as #SwingYourVote have potential to drive positive active citizenry among young people.

While addressing activators in August last year, Dr Kathrada said “Young people are the majority in South Africa.  It is very important that the youth is always involved in every decision making. Of course there are power hungry people who will try to make that difficult, but that does not mean young people must just assume spectator roles and watch adults take decisions that affect their lives. I wish all competent young people like you [Activators] can start now, roll up your sleeves and be prepared to serve this country.”

#SwingYourVote is supported by ACTIVATE!. The organization is currently operating in Cape Town. Some of the members: Siphelele Chirwa, Nicole Alexander, Zikhona Mgwali, Mcebisi Emmanuel Ntozinde , Anele Wondo, Mbulelo Ncevu, Shandre Samantha Slinger, Mkhuseli Madiba and  Xolisa Right  are Activators from Cape Town townships Langa, Kraaifontein, Delft, Khayelitsha and Hanover Park, but it is accessible to all young South Africans who want to participate.

For more information about Swing Your Vote, visit Educo website www.educo.org.za or contact the organization via email: MakingLocalGovernementWork@gmail.com .

Find them on Facebook: Swing Your Vote or Twitter:  @educoafrica.


Create Change Press Release

Thursday, 19 May 2016

What can ordinary citizens and small groups of people do that can create real change and have large scale impact? Although there are various ways to improve South Africa, evidence from around the world shows that one thing – more than anything else – can lead to greater equality, better education and health outcomes; a stronger economy and a better society with less crime and public violence. That is: investing in the early development and wellbeing of children. 

The DG Murray Trust, a private foundation investing in initiatives aimed at ensuring every South African is given the opportunity to fulfil his or her life potential, recently released a powerful seven-minute video showing the potential of young children to bring real change to South Africa. Titled, ‘What will bring the next real change in South Africa?’, the video appeals to both logic and emotion and makes suggestions of how ordinary citizens and small groups of people can start creating change for the children of South Africa and the future of our country.

The video forms part of DG Murray Trust’s Create Change campaign which includes an online toolkit with ideas, guidelines and tools that ordinary citizens and small groups of people can use to support the early development of South Africa’s children. The kit is available free of charge from the trust’s website and is being widely distributed to individuals, community institutions and organisations across South Africa.

“The DG Murray Trust has been working and investing in the social development space for several decades and the bulk of our investment goes towards the early development of children, simply because it is the most powerful investment in human capital that a country can make,” says Dr. David Harrison, CEO of the DG Murray Trust. 

Outlined in the video, and confirmed by resilience studies from around the world, is that children need just three things to thrive despite their poverty: a loving parent or caregiver; an additional caring adult standing by the child and connections to opportunity – even modest opportunities – at crucial times in a child’s life. Child psychologist Ann Masten calls these three things the ‘ordinary magic’ that can place even the poorest children on the pathway to success.

“Imagine what could happen if each of us found a way to help nurture just one child at risk?  To be there for them and their parents, in small and practical ways? Like standing by a mother during pregnancy. Bringing a few books and toys into the home of a young baby. Telling stories and reading to a group of children every week,” asks Harrison.

Every year, a million children are born in South Africa and half of them will miss out on achieving their full potential.  All that is needed is for 500 000 people in this country to show interest in our children and confidence in our common future.
You can start by watching the seven minute video ‘What will bring the next real change in South Africa?’ and by exploring the associated toolkit.
Who will bring the next real change in South Africa? Each and all of us.  

Visit www.dgmt.co.za/change-south-africa/ to start creating change for the children of South Africa and the future of our country.   The DG Murray Trust’s is a private foundation aiming to, together with our implementing partners, create an ethical and enabling environment where human needs and aspirations are met and each South African is given the opportunity to fulfil his or her potential.  

Issued by: Sally Mills / Reach PROn behalf of: DG Murray TrustContact: Sally Mills
Sally.claire.mills@gmail.com082 333 0461

 

#OrlandoShooting: Let me add another HashTag

For the record, this is not about #OrlandoShooting, this is about the ‘daily discriminatory shooting’ that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ+) community experience daily. The #OrlandoShooting is a reflection of the societies we live in, whether it’s in the US, South Africa or Brazil.  Give me a chance to share my somehow selfish 2 Cents about the #DailyDiscriminatoryShootings from which the #OrlandoShooting finds its comfort. This comfort transcends geo-boundaries as best as we know them.

The other day, I went to a supermarket and in front of me in a queue was a white guy my age who, like me, was shopping and about to pay.  The cashier was a white woman and she greeted the guy and asked him whether he was paying by cash or card, to which the gentleman replied ‘card’. The cashier then turned the card machine to the guy’s direction so he could administer his transaction. Transaction was complete and it was now my turn. Did I get a greeting? Nope! Did I get an eye contact? No! Did she ask if I am paying by cash or card? Yes! Finally, I get asked. In my mission to try my best not to catch feelings, I replied “Card!” Did she turn the EFT card machine? Nope! She then asked me to give her my card so she could administer the transaction on my behalf. I gave her the card and she did the transaction. When was done, I asked her why she’d treated me differently from the previous customer, and before she could answer I left.  If you do not see what is wrong with this encounter, you are a #DiscriminatoryShooter like the cashier and I will not bother narrow it down for you.

I digress back to the LGBTIQ+ discriminatory shootings we experience on a daily basis that create an enabling environment for the #OrlandoShooter to exist.  A good example is Mpho Tutu who was on the verge of being stripped off her right to practice as Reverend Canon of the Anglican Church had she not resigned because she married a woman. The Cape Town Diocese was instructed from the higher offices to revoke her licence on the basis of her marriage to a woman. Weeks later, Arch of Canterbury calls for Christians to pray for the victims of the #OrlandoShooting. You see, the church has created an environment that makes people like #OrlandoShooters to exist and feel comfortable and convicted that their views at whatever level of extreme are justified.  The same conviction that the white Christian men who were part of the Ku Klux Klan had and went as far as lynching our black brothers and sisters in the US, is the same DNA that the #OrlandoShooter is made of.

Therefore, let us not act surprised and #PrayForOrlando. Instead, #PrayForRepublicans in the US to shift their legislative stance on same-sex marriages and gun control laws.  #PrayForChurches to amend their church laws that recognise holy matrimony as a lifelong and exclusive union between one man and one woman. We should not downplay the role churches have in socialising people and normalising ideas that form part of an individual’s belief systems.  The #DailyDiscriminatoryShootings come in a form of a lifetime ban of men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating blood without any sound scientific or medical reasons.

As a people, the #OrlandoShooting offers us an opportunity to reflect on how, on a daily basis, we discriminate against others such that people like Penny Sparrow calling black people monkeys, or #OrlandoShooters killing about 49 people and injuring 53 in a gay club feel confident to a level that they commit such atrocities.  We need to be aware of our own contradictions and hypocrisy. We are first to complain about politicians that they do not talk to us or roam our streets unless it is campaigning seasons.  This is because politicians are driven by the looming Election Day which motivates them enough to sing, dance and make moving speeches.  We also do the same! People had to be killed for lawmakers in the US to start a process of reviewing gun laws.  The LGBTIQ+ community had to be slayed; to a point where the Food and Drug Administration policy on banning MSM from donating blood was put on spotlight with the Democrats calling the policy to be reviewed since the LGBTIQ+ community was not allowed to save one of their own, because of the stigma attached to the gay community regarding transmission of HIV and Hepatitis.

In conclusion, all of us must think and act proactively towards erosion of injustices of any kind.  It should not cost us a soul for us to do the right thing. Let us not wait for situations to deteriorate for us to start praying or reviewing policies nor thinking twice about our beliefs and actions.  
 

“Blood mustn’t be spilt for us as a people to act.”

Senzo Hlophe is a member of the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers’ network of more than 2000 young change makers or “Activators” across South Africa who are finding innovative ways to transform their communities and the country as a whole.

Lessons from the 1976 Soweto Uprisings

Challenging the Dominant Narrative about the Current Generation of Youth 

The 1976 Soweto Uprisings serve as a great example of the critical role young people have historically played in challenging the harsh and unjust conditions facing them and bringing about a democratic dispensation in South Africa. On 16 June 1976, young people across South Africa resolved to confront white domination, marking the end of submissiveness on the part of the black population of South Africa and the beginning of a new militancy in the struggle against apartheid. The current generation of young people in South Africa is typically described as lost, apathetic and passive among other things.

 It is crucial to develop an alternative narrative of young people in South Africa – one where despite the challenges of poverty, unemployment and crime youth grapple with daily, they remain actively engaged citizens. Over 20 years since the dawn of democracy South Africa still grapples with challenges systematic marginalisation and deprivation of the masses of our people. Years of apartheid’s overt and covert practices systematically and progressively produced a racially polarized society that was founded on deplorable inequality and ensured that the masses of our people were condemned to poverty.

Poor housing, inferior education, unfair and discriminatory labour practices, a biased judicial system and restrictions of movement, economic and political exclusion, racial and ethnic hostility, and spiritual repression adversely affected the black majority in South Africa. Steve Biko, Tsietsi Mashinini, Solomon Mahlangu and countless other young men and women all dedicated their youth to the revolutionary struggle against this draconian system of apartheid which sought to oppress and marginalise the masses of our people.

The dominant narrative about the current generation of youth in South Africa is that they are “the lost generation”, and that they are “the future”. There is a need to challenge and interrogate this characterization. I believe that it is grossly simplistic to characterize the current generation of South Africa’s youth as lost, apathetic and passive. In the same breath, it is problematic to describe the youth as the “future”.

With respect to the former characterization, I believe it is important to highlight that the current generation of young people in South Africa are actively contributing into the public realm. The emergence of youth-led social movements like #FeesMustFall and the #RhodesMustFall clearly indicate the important role young people continue to play in society. This disproves the notion that youth are generally passive and apathetic. Equally, it challenges the narrative that youth are “the future”.

Notwithstanding the challenges of unemployment, crime and poverty youth are in many respects, contributing positively towards building prosperous and thriving communities across South Africa. The narrative that youth are “the future” is problematic insofar as it seems to absolve the youth of their immediate responsibility of playing an active role in government, business and civil society now and not in the future.

 Perhaps there is a correlation between the tendency to describe the youth as lost and apathetic and their envisioned role in society. I wish to contend that the current narrative about youth in some way serves to perpetuate the oppression and marginalisation of the masses of our people. Youth constitute over 50% population in South Africa and as such ought to play a more influential role in decision-making structures within government, the private sector and civil society.

Karl Marx maintains that the ruling ideas are in every epoch the ideas of the ruling class. In this respect, one may be correct to assume that the dominant narrative about the current generation of youth in South Africa is in fact shaped by the ruling elite in this country. Interestingly, ruling elite in South Africa happens to be composed almost exclusively of old men; the predominantly old white male economic elite and the largely old black male political elite. The dominant narrative about youth in this country seems to suggest that there is a lack of interest on the part of the youth to play a meaningful role in the affairs of their communities and I argue that this is fundamentally flawed.

An important lesson that can be drawn from the 1976 Uprisings is that the youth in this respect played a leading role in waging battle against the exploitation and oppression of the masses of the people. The youth determined for themselves what issue needed to be addressed and how this issue should be addressed.  What the 1976 Uprisings should teach us as the current generation of youth is that we must assume leadership in addressing challenges facing us. Solutions to some of the most pressing challenges currently facing young people in South Africa essentially lie with the youth of this country. Youth must rise!!

Rammolotsi Sothoane is an International Relations graduate from the University of the Free State and a member of the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers network. He writes in his personal capacity.

The Future is Inevitable

The urgent need behind the Soweto Uprisings was the notion that a better future was inevitable. Young people across the country refused to be taught in Afrikaans. From there, a plan of action started to refute this. June 16 was definitely a turning point born out of a series of deliberate steps. As a result, the culminating protests were driven by small actions that sought to realise that future. In 2016 therefore, we must ask ourselves what does this spirit of ’76 look like in our time? What does our inevitable future look like?

In a country where the majority of the population are below the age of 35, one can’t help but wonder what are we doing with this potential? Youthfulness should be associated with energy and creativity. The youth voice should be prominent in media and shaping narratives around what it means to live in a free and democratic South Africa. However, this is not the case. As we’ve seen in the recent youth stats report released by StatsSA last month. The current situation for many young people looks grim. Primarily because many young people are still shackled by challenges inherited from our oppressive past. Many are paralysed into non-action because of the lack of transformation and access to opportunities or resources that could provide a much-needed push. But we do have options. We can choose to not be associated with narratives that associate being young with words like “lost” and “apathetic”. As Sizwe Maphindani, a member of the ACTIVATE! network, puts it, “We have no other alternative remaining for us as (black) youth in South Africa except activism.”

Imagine then if there was support for those young South Africans who are waking up every day to tackle these pressing challenges that are standing in the way towards this inevitable future. These young people aren’t unicorns. They do exist. For example, a network like ACTIVATE! Change Drivers has managed to connect more than 2000 youth from all corners of South Africa who are committed to the cause of a better South Africa. These young people are a new breed of leaders who are fearlessly saying, ‘our future is now’. Members of this network, Activators as they call themselves, manage to push for change through being connected with each other and growing their voice. The voices we should be hearing are of those young people who convened meetings in Vuwani with community leaders to find alternative learning spaces in that community when schools were being burnt. It is the young people who convened on Robben Island recently to interrogate the state of our democracy, to reflect on what they are doing in their communities to address the many challenges they see. It is that young man in Orange Farm, instead of joining protests against the municipality, he pointed to the Integrated Development Plan that had made allocation for the development of road infrastructure and changed the course of that conversation. This voice is the group of youth who will convene at the Jabavu Centre in Soweto to share their work and contribution towards keeping themselves and their government accountable.

“Each Activator has committed to a journey of service to the public good, working from within their own homes, communities and beyond. Many Activators run their own initiatives, many volunteer in support of others, and there are those who come from very harsh living conditions yet are dedicated to finding solutions to their community’s challenges. In a network whose membership currently stands at 2000, poised to grow beyond 5000, the collective impact is immeasurable. The knock-on impact of Activators engaging around issues, sharing their positivity, inspiring others to follow is profound. The innovative spirit that flows through the network inspiring young people to look at the old ways of doing things and to come up with new solutions to the issues is tangible.” CEO of ACTIVATE! Chris Meintjes explains the spirit of collective leadership that lies in this group of young South Africans.

At the heart of this push for change driven by youth, there is a magic that happens when young people from different backgrounds share a space and find ways of working together towards a common goal of transformation. There should be a drive amongst youth to build bridges of opportunity. We should be deliberate about the small actions that continue to build an alternative future. As Injairu Kulundu puts it, “we build an alternative future in small actions. We build it piece by piece. Until the recognition of that alternative future become unavoidable, until that future becomes inevitable”

The achievement of this inevitable future doesn’t mean that as young people we must sit and wait for its ‘coming’. We have a responsibility to stand up now and seek the change that we want to see. “What the 1976 Uprisings should teach us as the current generation of youth is that we must assume leadership in addressing challenges facing us. Solutions to some of the most pressing challenges currently facing young people in South Africa essentially lie with the youth of this country.”, says Rammolotsi Sothoane an International Relations Graduate from the University of the Free State and a member of the ACTIVATE! network.

ACTIVATE! Network Unites Youth To Revive The Spirit Of 1976

The 1976 Soweto Uprising will forever be remembered as a turning point and a brave collective action by South African youth. Across the country, youth united in their struggle to make their voices, with the Soweto Uprisings as the most visible.

It’s been 40 years since that brave incident and South African youth continue to battle many challenges. However, unity and bravery seem to be missing in the fight against today’s battles.  As a result the youth is commonly described as “lost, apathetic, violent and unmotivated” among other things.  How did the narrative of South Africa’s youth change from being actively involved in the struggle against their oppression and exploitation to a passive, disengaged and lost generation, perceived as merely “problems to be solved”?

To explore how civic engagement and social participation among South Africa’s youth can be revived, network of young activists, ACTIVATE! Change Drivers will facilitate a gathering, the ACTIVATE! Youth Imbizo on Thursday, 16 June. Aimed at reflecting on South Africa’s democracy from an activist’s point of view, the gathering will be held at the Jabavu Skills Centre, Central Jabuvu in Soweto from 09h00 till 14h00.

ACTIVATE! Change Drivers is a network of more than 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 ACTIVATE! Youth Imbizo serves as ACTIVATE! Change Drivers’ objective to create platforms for civic engagement in South African communities.

Communications Manager at ACTIVATE! Change Drivers’, Nelisa Ngqulana says in addition to facing challenges such as unemployment, young people have to deal with social ills like poverty, crime and restrictions to resources, which lead to social discontentment and ultimately political instability.

“With such conditions, it is very easy for our youth to be demotivated and resort to illegal or harmful ways of survival. ACTIVATE! Change Drivers’ role is to provide platforms for the youth to articulate their views in order to increase their impact on the social, economic and political dimensions of life. Our aim is to revive the spirit of 1976 and challenge the narrative that exists about young people. We equip youth who are active in driving change for the public good across the country with knowledge and skills to thrive in their respective social development efforts. We hope this Imbizo will achieve that objective,” adds Ngqulana.

Ngqulana further states that even though the government and some private companies are implementing strategies to empower the youth, it is important for young people to start talking about how they can meet those efforts halfway.

Since participants in the dialogue will be from various sectors of society, the expectation is that output emanating from dialogue will provide insight on how to enhance and encourage active citizenship and engagement as well as social participation among the youth to liberate their communities from social injustices.

Coordinator for the ACTIVATE! Youth Imbizo project, Lezerine Mashaba, says: “The aim of the Imbizo is not only to find solutions to address challenges that face our youth, but also to make a meaningful contribution to the national conversations around civic and political engagement among the youth.”

For more information and details on how you can participate or attend, please contact Bongi Ndlovu on 079 992 8823.

Under the umbrella theme, ‘Democracy in Action’, ACTIVATE! Change Drivers has facilitated similar Imbizos in four other provinces. On 05 April the Imbizo was held in KwaZulu Natal where ‘HIV/AIDS prevelance’ was discussed. In the Eastern Cape the Imbizo took place on 08 April and the dialogue was around ‘Abortion Stigma’. On 22 April the Imbizo was in Free State and it looked at ‘How civic engagement and social participation among South African youth can be enhanced’.  In North West on 06 May the Imbizo’s topic was ‘Land – What’s the plan for youth?’ The last Imbizo was held on 28 May at Robben Island and the topic of ‘Active citizenship by the youth’ was explored. The plan is to highlight how these topical issues affect South Africa’s hard earned democracy and come up with resolutions.  

ends.

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

For media related queries, please contact:

Nelisa Ngqulana

Communications Manager: ACTIVATE! Change Drivers

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

Cell: 073 817 8017

 

Stations: Innovate Revolution of Bright Minds

In most ACTIVATE! sessions, gatherings, Facebook pages, WhatsApp groups and even informal meetings, there’s always a question posed: “Why doesn’t ACTIVATE! opt to be a political party?” or a suggestion of “let’s rather be a political party”. These suggestions or questions are not normally based on a true sense of a political party, but are based on Activators’ immeasurable love and attachment to the network that they feel as Activators on the ground. They feel the programme should be a driver of national discourse. It is triggered by Activators valuing each other’s clarity of thought and their innovative solution to challenges facing young people on the ground. Some went as far as suggesting that the ACTIVATE! programme should be made a compulsory gap year program as it has capacity to sharpen or widen the mind of young people and planting the seed of patriotism.

Thembinkosi “Professor” Sithole, a 2013 Activator and a teacher by profession, thinks that the ACTIVATE! first year programme would be useful if it was a gap year course for all grade 12 graduates. “I feel it shouldn’t be just like an academic year at tertiary where you count modules you’ve got in the bag without guarantees what the end result (qualification) would give you. That gap year would be very useful if each person would state their goals then be given support on how to get started in working on those goals. For example some would like to start their own businesses, a step-by-step support can then be given on how to get paperwork for registration, proposals and the like done. So the year would be given to those who present clear goals for their future and for which ACTIVATE! can provide support”, he said.

Alex Khoza, 2013 Activator, Law graduate and one of founding participants of ACTIVATE! Community Development Course who Is known by Activators for his passion and love for youth engagements said that it must be compulsory for all grade 12 learners to go through the ACTIVATE! training programme like the Life Orientation subject. The subject could be titled “Good Citizenship”.

Using the same lenses management of ACTIVATE! responded appropriately by introducing  a project within the Network Connect portfolio called “Stations”, coordinated by Activator Nonkululeko Hlongwane. These stations are places where youth can meet and drive change. Nonkululeko was on a stations tour from the 2nd to 9th May 2016, to ignite a flame and passion of change to station heads as well as assessing the progress of stations around the country. In her visit to Free State the stations simply said that “Stations are the basic units of the ACTIVATE! Network and pillars of existence as they give life to network’s campaigns on the ground. They are for every young person who believes in the positive power of young people”. These stations will be headed by both Activators and non-Activators and this will fulfil many Activators wishes that such programs [as ACTIVATE!] are needed and necessary to any young person in the country. “Our greatest learnings come from connections, human contact, and dialogue. Every theory, formula, system, structure and invention has been influenced by human interaction”, explains Nonkululeko on the power of these stations. Nonkululeko says the stations are created to spark dialogue among young people on matters they feel passionate about. “The idea around stations was to encourage young people to create safe platforms of interaction and then guide and nurture an idea or thinking that develops in those spaces”, she added.

In the midst of violent protests around the country many Activators think that stations will breed a new form of innovative revolution were young people develop a culture of speaking about issues. Alex Khoza thinks that since ACTIVATE! stations are there to play a role in building responsible citizens. “They have potential to minimize the number of strikes and destroying of our resources”, he adds.

Stations will also play role in coming with solutions around the problems facing the country, particularly on education. Northwest stations manager, Activator Thabiso Motlakase said that North West will use these stations to plan thoroughly on taking some of these issues head-on. “We are using the stations as plenary platforms and we aim to open it for the afternoon classes for grade 12s, because currently we have been having Saturday classes for Maths and Science. We now plan to run it throughout the week and all the learners that need extra classes can visit the station after school or the library, depending on their arrangement with us.

The leaders in all stations are taking the leading role in making things happen in their communities. “I don’t feel as though I am leading the project. More than anything I am guided by these change drivers and we all deliver on the needs that arise in stations and all the decisions taken are informed by young people, just as all these stations are initiated and run by them”, remarked Hlongwane in appreciation of the amazing effort demonstrated by station heads in creating better conditions for their communities.

 

Stories Competition finalist: Action Setaka

When I applied for the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers programme in 2012, I had a cocktail of expectations.  All  these  expectations  were  based  on  personal  development  that  had nothing to do with others or thoughts of meeting any person that may possess superior intellectual prowess which may surpass mine. Not that there is an element of narcissism in me, but it was just a passing thought caused by  confidence and motivation to prove myself in the midst of like­minded individuals.

There is a disturbing  and  fundamentally wrong mentality implanted in male species particularly approaching conferences  or seminars. Fellow men, before even exploring curriculum or content of an event, conference or the training, they marginally think about the beauty of female attendees.  In an extreme case they will search the names of attendees on emails attachments and search them on social sites to view how they look so that they may invest their emotions on them even before exploring their character. I am not a saint; at times I do fall for this filthy sin.

I arrived in Durban 2013 at 6:00am, anxious to meet crème dela crème of South African youth leadership, waiting at the Greyhound bus station I met a wonderful, elegant and gracious woman called Khonzeka Gxalatane and signs of a man got up with me. 

Later that day, around  1pm, I met a leader by the  name of  Mthoko Simelane. This young man had an overflowing fountain of wisdom, whom today is still one of my closet friends. He demonstrated a presidential character from the onset he directed everyone who attended the training to a relevant bus which was coordinated by a lady of staunch discipline, a paragon of virtue and a non­stopping voice of reason whom I later knew as my facilitator.

After our late lunch we had an introductory session, amongst all attendees there was this eloquent lady from Kwa Zulu Natal, Woodlands who had a captivating introduction. I recall vividly that she profoundly said in conclusion of her introduction.” My personal is my political, therefore my struggle is not about black or white, it’s about wrong or right.” This is dialectically correct utterance. As beautiful as she was I was perplexed about my emotions responds to this phenomenal woman whom every male species in the room was a victim of unavoidable infatuation I gathered this in “men’s only conversation” I was extremely inspired by the profundity of thought portrayed by this woman on both formal and informal conversation. At no point did I ever see a potential girlfriend, “my human training  package” or  anything that  may  awaken  my  “sin  of  being  a  man”  as  per patriarchal norm and standard.

We had a conversation and from that day to date, I’m always mesmerized by how every day I learn a thing or two about life from her. She always takes me to task at any subject. She is the epitome of a modern day woman she defies patriarchal psyche in all aspects and as a champion an activist on issues of woman emancipation, I found in her a sister and confidant. I call her a “safest wardrobe of my secrets”. 

On her birthday I summarized her impact on me as “My rainbow of happiness, the sister who clouds my scepticisms with hope, the seed and branch of my thoughts on women struggle. The genesis of our relations are founded on laughter, inspiration and thirst to change the world, you are the master key of my inner strength” This statement shrink our 3 years relations.

This epitome of modern day woman whom I frequently describe as “A walking galaxy of ideas”  established  many  innovative  initiative  to  address  and  advance  the  social upheaval of women this is contrary to olden days in African communities where women were  groomed  to  submit  to  their  husband,  where  they  were  groomed  to  behave  a certain  way  in  marriage.  The  meaning  of  the  future  for  women  revolved  and  still revolves  around  marriage  but  this  phenomenal  woman  challenged  and  continues  to challenge the status quo in all frontiers.

One of the bright minds Themba Vryman once wrote and accurately give us an angle or better view on Nonkululeko as a modern day woman by saying “Many of those who crossed passed with her never forget her, not because of her choice but because Nonkululeko defines what leadership is all about. 

Nonkululeko is a symbol of hope for many. Through her selfless desire to see justice and prosperity many lives have been changed by her. A very stern woman yet soft-hearted human being” in his concluding remarks this intelligent silver-tongued continues “Like a constellation star shining bright in the sky. Nonkululeko, too, is our constellation star.

Meeting Nonkululeko and other Activators I concluded that mankind especially in the development sector cannot compete but co­operate. It was wrong of me to have a narrow expectation about the Activate programme but this “modern day woman” and Activators taught me endless life lesson. 

We are a fortunate generation to lead and live in the same era with you Empress, Nonkululeko Portia Hlongwane.

Stories Competition finalist: Queen Seitshiro

Queen Of Change

Many times resistance to change hinders progress in existence, and that may result in devastating ways to try and sustain balance of life to fit in the standards of society. Illness may not only be physical but pain and dis-ease affect our holistic being, our physical body, our emotions and our spirits. As human beings we are affected by situations we come across, obstacles we face and overcome, our mistakes, wrong decisions, worry, stress, conflict and other forms of external stimuli that contribute to our livelihood. These stimuli perpetuate our souls and therefore our minds and our whole functioning. Some people may react in anger or aggression by the fear or pain they carry within themselves caused by traumatic experiences they go through. Many social activities affect us, the loss of a loved one, being violated, or being a victim in general of anything, can sometimes leave scars that later haunts the individual and in that manner becomes trapped in the circled of fear, this is called trauma. It does not have medication, but it can be treated. In many cases we are quick to fix our physical ailments and fail to treat our internalized illnesses, but this is not because of ignorance although in some cases it may be, but its due to lack of knowledge, and unfamiliar culture to be open to therapy, therefore we suffer internally and all that we carry eats on us, and in some ways because we seek to live, we seek to escape and don’t know how to be independent in our troubles so we tend to commit suicide as a way to live or cope, we tend to isolate ourselves because we are misunderstood and feel unrelated, however this does not have to be the culture.

Whatever the challenge maybe this is the dawn of the new era, where ways have been discovered to help heal those deep internalised cuts, all it requires is for us to be open to the therapy, these mechanisms are created to craft a being to optimal development. Brendan, who works for the curriculum development project organisation based in Johannesburg is an in-house artist who does amazing work, facilitating different women from different backgrounds, uses art as a therapeutic tool, develop skills and as a way for women to embark on a journey of self mastery and be able to express themselves through the spectrum of art to the broader world. Brendan works with women who have been affected by many things in life, from abuse, unemployment and trouble with the law, through a series of activities that help these women reflect on themselves and attribute their lives from then until the point they have started the program. Many times as ordinary beings we tend to look at others on the surface, when we see their smiles and clean clothes we believe all is well with them, but life is not only lived on the surface, there are deep scars harboring pain which are invincible to the naked eye but affects us dearly.

In most cases we don’t know how to take that negative energy and turn it in to a creative positive energy, to practice peace and how to deflect destructive emotions. Brendan uses artistic techniques that help these young women to interact with themselves, to articulate themselves via free association, to look at pain differently not as a source of darkness. In the sphere of the sessions there is one activity in particular where she asks young women to use their none dominant hand to write their name and paint any artform, this exercise is aimed at adjustment, how do people adjust in situation that are not in their favor or perhaps not going according to how they anticipated, it teaches the participants that sometimes in life we get in to situation and that is the reality, and for us to move on we need to accept, adjust and then we can be able to progress or come with solutions to our predicaments. Brendan is a womanist, who believes in the abilities and visibility of all women.

 She comes from a background of work dominated by male people, the art world, but throughout her work was considered excellent by art lovers. Brendan the curious scholar who lives on the ethos of art as a universal language and ultimate expression of life, she believes that the secret to life lies in the learning’s of everyday living. These means to expression can be used as advocacy against violation of human rights; it speaks to many situations that causes disconnect from opportunity, the internalized issues that affect the orientation and livelihood of women in society. Brendan is always confident that any women who participated in the program will never be hungry in their life because the skills passed on are not only healing in process but are also means that can be use to make a living, mark history and most importantly a tools to expressive means. Brendan helps these women to carve history of self to know its importance, the biography or memoirs of the individual’s life story and how they can use their newly acquired skills to craft their own story.

 As a young woman Breandan has always wanted to be a part of something bigger, she has always been a mystical child who believed in fairy tales and enchantments, she believes that each and every one of us is born with a gift and that gift was bestowed upon us organisms for a specific purpose, but if people don’t take the need to explore themselves then it distorts the flow of life. Disorder and chaos becomes the better of humanity. Brendan has exclaimed that art for her was salvation she found life and resurrected as a different being after sorting out her gift as an artist from the universe. Upon meeting Brendan I was fascinated by her aura, her presence she is full of life and positive energy, very optimistic even in situations that seem impossible, she is dedicated to helping many young women to awaken from the social blindness that has set new a culture for youth to care much about what is fleeting and passing instead of creating what is everlasting.

Myself as a young woman I am inspired and enlightened today to learn that art is a therapy of the soul through Brendan, it can be used as a aid to amend that which we have been hiding in shame and isolation, it also help us to reach one another, manifests a reality where we are no longer strangers and be acquainted with ways to be interconnected again. It is important in life that when we give ourselves to others, that we present ourselves as gifts but without knowledge of self we are mere bodies walking on earth surface, fulfilling a temporary existence at a certain era of time. But if we can wake up in reality were a language of the soul can be understood by all perhaps the structure of humanity in our world and among the human race will take a different shape. 

The methodology used by Brendan is made to change the system living inside women, to change the structure of their minds so that it can vibrate innovatively and actively. And upon completion of the program many women confess how their lives have changed, the lenses in which they look at life have changed drastically for the better. It may seem like a little change but this woman has changed the face of history, she is changing the system that will live in the next generation through changing their mother’s mentality towards life. She has changed the setting of society that it’s ok as a woman to think different and express yourself, because freedom of expression is the only truest way to heal and feel alive.