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.
Issued by ACTIVATE! Change Drivers. For more information please visit www.activateleadership.co.za
For media related queries, please contact:
Communications Manager: ACTIVATE! Change Drivers
Cell: 073 817 8017