I came across the 100in1day movement through a workshop that was organised by Activate in partnership with 100in1day.
100in1Day was about connecting people around their dreams for their communities, city and society, and then playfully manifesting them together. The concept was that over 100 urban interventions were planned to take place in one day 25th May 2013. A civil action day where people took ownership of their city and created a better place to live.
When we were given the opportunity as Activators to come up with questions that we have as individuals mine was “are you being heard?” It was inspired by the fact that many of us in our communities are speaking so loudly but no one hears us, that is how I feel, the nation knows the challenges we face and many turn a blind eye, for example Gangsterism, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, lack of support from our seniors etc. The issues that I have just listed above are things that teenagers in our communities get exposed to on a daily basis. There is no platform to allow the teenagers to share their views on South Africa, hence the intervention I came up with was to take photographs of teenagers with messages under the theme “Messages to my President”.
When I shared this idea with one of my colleagues to him it seemed quite unrealistic and heavy in content. But anyway the main reason I continued to develop the idea was that I am quite fascinated by challenging the status quo and getting involved in discussions which rather seem controversial.
I started by borrowing cameras from friends in order to take the pictures and I worked with a very committed friend, Masthembe Gontsana who is based in Khayelitsha F-section. I was not able to take more than 10 pictures because I am currently working fulltime. It is through the on-going support I got from Masthembe that he contributed a significant 30 photographs that I was able to print through Sponsorship from Fujifilm in Kenilworth from Suddy and I posted the photographs around Khayelitsha, where I grew up and where home is. The aim was to create awareness on what young people of the community have to say and to initiate dialogues among people.
Saturday 25th May was the day where more than 100 interventions were launched in and around Cape Town. On this day came with a new experience for me. I launched my intervention in Khayelitsha that is where I grew up. I have been involved in many community development initiatives but one thing that my intervention brought is that it was the first time that I took ownership of my community; it was the first time that I stood in front of young people and engaged with them on issues that affect us every day. Now that is an experience I will never forget because I witnessed the birth of a movement that I initiated myself and I am very proud that when I look back I can stand up and say “I did my part”.
Through reading the messages that were being written to the President allowed me to come to a realisation that as the youth of Khayelitsha we are very frustrated. While other young individuals might be fighting for job opportunities and University entrance, most of us from Khayelitsha are still fighting for basic needs and that is housing, sanitation, hygiene, poverty eradication and what is it that the president has in store to develop our youth? The list goes on.
The first step to letting the public know about my initiative and to hopefully get the messages to the President is that Phiri Cawa a journalist for a local newspaper called “Vukani” was there when I launched this project and he is going to publish and article for this initiative.
In future in expanding the project I will be looking at involving South African teenagers across all our provinces.