On the 5th of February 2016, 25 youth from Africa Unite (peer educators, volunteers and interns) were invited for a workshop at the National Parliament in Cape Town along with other members from the Cape Town Refugee Center. The purpose of this workshop was for the parliament to educate the group on how the public can influence and participate in the parliamentary processes.
The group was subsequently given a presentation explaining what the parliament does, the way it is structured, and the functions of the parliament. The attendees were encouraged to participate by asking questions and initiating discussions.
After a short break the group was given a more in-depth explanation about what the State of the Nation Address (SONA) is about and how it works. This is where the President speaks to the nation about what is expected for the year and the achievements in the past year. It is also the opening of the Parliament, which occurs each year in February in South Africa.
After the half a day session, the group was then taken for a tour of the Parliament where they visited the following chambers:
- National Assembly, where the political parties meet during important events such as the SONA.
- National Council of Provinces, where they were taken to the old assembly
- Provincial parliament, where representatives of each province meet to express the interests of the province.
This was a good opportunity for Africa Unite’s youth not only to learn more about the different branches of government in their country, but also to better understand how they can influence policies by participating in the parliamentary processes. This was also an opportunity for our youth to understand their role during the SONA as AU youth were
selected by the National Parliament to be Civil Guards of Honour during the upcoming SONA on the 11th of February 2016. Their role will be largely to welcome the president as he enters the parliament and all the dignitaries of the day.
For more pictures click here.