The Rustenburg Exchange kicked on Saturday, 25 July 2015, and looked at the theme ‘How to build and sustain socioeconomic development culture amongst young people’. This topic was chosen to explore how we as young people can be actively involved as far as development is concerned, said Activator Gabaiphiwe Makgaka, who organised the event. “We especially wanted to look at youth in Rustenburg, who are surrounded by mines and farms,” she said.
Are they socioeconomically active with regard to all the socioeconomic activities that are happening around them? This was the question posed to the audience by Bongani Uhuri KaHlatswayo, a 2012 Activate and political science student at the University of Free State and the facilitator for the Exchange. Making reference to Mandela Day and the 67 minutes campaign, some of the dialogue in answer to the question included:
“67 minutes later we are still poor, we are still hungry, we are still uneducated, still in debt, still academically and financially excluded, still squashed together in townships like sardines, there is still teenage pregnancy, still crime, still rape, still domestic violence, still chains on the 13% of land still governed by the ANC, we are still domestic workers, still gardeners, still failing because you are battling with the language before engaging with the work, still an employee on a farm, still getting 68% when you deserve an A because you are black, still laughing at each other, still praying, still kicked out of land you’ve occupied unlawfully, still earning R2000 as a monthly salary, still can’t afford a crèche, still at a corner typing CVs, still Namanje and we are still black.
One of the seven panelists speaking at the event, Mr Eric Mokua, a social justice activist from Luka Village in Rustenburg, quoted the philosopher Noam Chomsky when he said, “Laws are made for people with resources”. He went on to say that South Africa is a capitalist country and that our country is bankrupt because of Aparheid.
Miss Koketso Mafoko from the traditional youth council in the Royal Bafokeng said that her interests lie in education and that the nation is poor because they lack education. “Young people don’t read enough, we must make sure that we educate ourselves,” she added.
Panelist Antoinette Prophy, the founder of Afro Fusion said that we should stick to the core of our Africans and act on our responsibility to look after our fellow youth. “Get on with it every day, wherever you are, just get on with it,” she added. “We talk a lot and dialogue a lot, we must change the face of capitalism,” she said.
Activator and Panelist, Tshepang Mokgatle, success coach and author of Success Is My Only Option said that the answer lies in all the conversations we have daily. “Money is not important because people who have money have lots of problems,” he added. He also posed the question, “How often do you take the time to develop yourself?”
After a short break halfway through, guests broke into discussion groups to unpack three different topics: Education and Training; Economics, Business and Civil Society and Community Development.
On the subject of Education and Training, Samuel Nong, the President of Royal Bafokeng said that entrepreneurship should be a subject in school so we can stop producing employees.
The group discussions lasted for 30 minutes with guests deeply engaging in these issues, with lots of ideas and solutions emerging that could be implemented in the community of Luka.
Another guest panelist, 2012 Activator and Community Developer Mokgadi Matlakala who came all theway from Limpopo and spoke after the group discussions said that it is important to talk about relevant issues that affect the community. “Each community is different and they are not facing the same problem,” she added.
The response from guests to the Exchange was very positive. Tshepo Taukobong, a 25-year old from Luka, said that attending the event was a blessing. “My mind is now broad, I have learned a lot from this Exchange and I am ready to make a difference in the lives of other young people,” he said. Matseleng Moseneke, a 2015 Activator attending her first Exchange, said that that she cannot wait to host her own Exchange after graduating from the ACTIVATE! training programme. “I am taking with me a quote from one of the panelists: ‘nothing for us without us’.
All in all, the event was a huge success. Parting words from Bongani before the dialogue closed was, “Read, read and read. And if you can’t read, start writing”.
Calling All Young Change Makers to Shape SA’s Future and Join ACTIVATE! Youth Network for 2016! Applications for ACTIVATE! 2016 are now open. To apply, click the Apply Now button on the ACTIVATE! homepage at www.activateleadership.co.za.