The ability for young people in South Africa to flourish remains limited, as they continue to face issues of poverty, crime, lack of education, and unemployment. Very few businesses are owned by young people. As such, in partnership with Africa Unite, the Democracy Development Program, Lindelani Youth Forum, Iziko and Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) hosted the 3rd Annual Youth Indaba on the 14th to 15th of June 2017 at the Diakonia Centre in Durban. The theme of Indaba was, “Creating a Youth-led vision for South Africa”, and used the National Development Plan (DDP) as its guiding tool
The Indaba aimed to engage youth organizations, young entrepreneurs and innovators in a critical reflection of their work and of the state of youth in their respective communities. The Indaba fostered networks, facilitated knowledge exchange, and deepened the understanding of current policies and challenges affecting youth. There were a diverse group of institutions, and over 150 young people from places such as Ntuzuma, KwaMashu, Marianridge, Sydenham, Folweni, KwaMakhutha, KwaMhlab’uyalingana were present.
On the first day, four different sessions were held. The first was the National Development Plan session, which stressed the need to foster the capabilities of young people, and to translate them into development opportunities. The second was a motivation session, where young people were encouraged to adopt a mindset that is conducive to growth. For instance, one speaker spoke of the importance of accepting constructive criticism in business. Another speaker related the challenges he came across in his childhood, and emphasized that people should not let their backgrounds prevent them from pursuing their dreams. The last two sessions were held by the members of the Minara Chamber of Commerce. The first gave logistical pointers on how to succeed as an industrialist, and also encouraged people to develop specialized skills. The second one considered the importance of building sustainable businesses, and allowing wealth to be distributed within communities.
On the second day, the first session focused on the politics of radical economic transformation. It covered issues such as the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) legislation which addresses skills development and black empowerment. It emphasized that young people should be self-sustaining, build an entrepreneurial culture, and fight for the survival of their businesses. The next session, facilitated by Harambee, addressed the challenges young people face in employment, and gave pointers on the skills necessary for employability, and to have a successful interview.
After the session, individuals were asked to discuss their most important takeaways from the two day Indaba, and how to make these ideas come to life through their organizations, communities and as individuals. Ideas included:
- Sharing business knowledge with tertiary students through discussions and dialogues
- Supporting local businesses by buying from them
- Hiring locally skilled individuals, rather than people from other areas
- Bursary forms obtained from the exhibitors will be photocopied and distributed in local schools
- Organize a dialogue and train pupils on alternatives to violence to break the cycle of violence in high schools.
- Work with the community in unmasking the underlying factors of teenage pregnancies and how these can be halted in Ntuzuma community.
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