Written by: Mandy Mohlabe
Once the youth stands together, a lot of opportunities to change one’s life become presented.
Fine Town, the informal settlement located in the South of Johannesburg. A place where it is the norm for dreams to remain just that dreams. However in such an environment, all it takes is for one person to have a dream, the will power and determination to turn it into a reality, which is how the Fine Town Mini Fun Walk became the dream which turned into reality.
Like any other informal settlement, the youth of Fine Town face challenges such as unemployment, lack of resources and a whole lot more. The aim of the walk is not specific to one issue, as it is the first of its kind. The aim is to raise awareness through sport on issues that are specifically faced by the community of Fine Town.
The initial idea was to raise awareness on health in terms of mental health such as depression, which is a problem that is faced by many people and the majority are not even aware that they are suffering from a mental issues. Thabo Jnr Mokoena, the Founder of this walk, created a platform where different departments- such as the Department of Sport and Re-creation- can bring about resources to assist the youth in what they mostly take pride in, which are- but not limited to- sport and music.
The walk, through its dry run, exposed a lot of issues that proved to be a problem in the community. Issues such as poorly constructed roads, sewage blockages, lack of health facilities- bearing in mind that Fine Town does not have a local clinic of their own. The community has to travel to neighbouring communities to access basic health facilities.
Through the dry run, the sewage blockages were identified. This forced the local municipality to take charge and get them fixed. Private sectors and small businesses joined in and identified families that lack the most and gave them food parcels. This is just a few of the issues that were identified and solved.
The entry for anyone who wishes to participate in this walk is a packet of sanitary towels- which is another issue that is faced by females. Through this walk, they have already received an overwhelming support through organisations such as the Winnie Mabaso Foundation and The House of Glory Church, which donated re-usable sanitary towels to be distributed to those that are in need.
The walk was made known to the public through local radio stations and social media. Since then the youth of Fine Town have volunteered to take part in the walk but also to support the community where help most needed. The excitement of this walk gave the youth the hope that just for that day it will be about them. Performers have been noted practicing whereas others have been seen walking on the route on a daily basis. Mr Mokeona said, “already I have seen a change, instead of watching a fellow youth sitting at a corner wondering where their next cigarette will come from, their mind-set has changed and they are looking forward to doing something”. Mr Mokoena made this initiative possible by inviting different sectors to the walk to see the challenges faced by Fine Town. Not only to make things right for events such as this one, but for basic living moving forward. Improvements have already been noted in terms of basic sanitation and road improvements.
The Fine Town Mini Fun Walk is aimed at showing the youth of Fine Town that Dreams do come true. Dreams do come true in the sense that once the youth stands together, a lot of opportunities to change one’s life become presented. The walk is yet to happen but, the youth is already united to bring change in all aspects to Fine Town.