Connecting youth to their dreams through real role models

South Africa is home to what is believed to be one of the worst youth-unemployment problems in the world. The problem could get worse, as the country’s population is young- meaning we have hundreds of thousands of new job-seekers every year. 

Contributing factor include the difficulties many young people face when attempting to build their careers. In many marginalised communities, young people have no mentors and are exposed to a variety of unrealistic role model perceptions.  As a result of this, the current status quo is maintained – leaving youth throwing away their dreams and desperately pursuing any income-generating activities. 

It is this cycle that Activator, Unathi Jacobs, is trying to trying to change through her involvement in the ‘Outspoken Youth Initiative’ (OYI), where she is a part of the executive committee. The project serves to connect young people with different professionals. The mentors range from musicians, dancers, chefs, photographers to parliamentarians.  This project allows young people to be exposed to a different range of professions and also impressions on how they can develop their passions into careers.

OYI is looking to expand the programme in time and operate throughout the country. Although sports and arts will be the main focus, the dream is to have every young person exposed to a mentor in any field. To achieve this OYI is also strengthening its own internal capacity by ensuring that there are professionals within the organisation, contributing to this. 

The project is, however, not limited to mentorship. It is also used as a means to create awareness on a range of social issues. As Unathi Jacobs says, “it is through awareness of what is happening in one’s hood that one gets involved in creating social change”.

Leave a Reply

Sign up for our newsletter

Our newsletters are a round-up of the actions, conversations and thoughts of the ACTIVATE! network. Keep up with what’s happening in our network by reading our newsletters. Sign up here to receive them directly in your mailbox and read more stories of South African youth doing amazing work in their communities. This is the fabric of inspiration for a nation, the catalyst of youthful energy, understanding and action.

Co-financed by the Federal Republic of Germany through KfW and the DG Murray Trust.

All copyrights reserved for. The data presented here is from a sample of the Activate Change Drivers Network surveyed in 2017. Though efforts were made to make the sample representative of the Network, normal limits of sampled data should be considered in the use of this data. The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by Siyashesha Leadership Incubator, the managing entity of the A! Change Drivers programmes and A! Change Drivers Network. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or any benefit arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this website.