One of the breakaway commissions putting heads together to find solutions to challenges facing the youth.
DCS convened a National Youth Indaba at Kgoṧi Mampuru II Management Area on 27 June 2018, under the theme: “LIVE THE LEGACY: Towards a socio-economically empowered youth”, aimed at getting the youth to identify and find solutions to social and economic challenges confronting their generation. The Youth Indaba brought together youth officials from DCS and the South African Police Service (SAPS) as well as unemployed youth, to tackle issues of common interest. This is in keeping to a clarion call made byFrantz Fanon who said, “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfil it, or betray it”.
The day began with delegates touring the Kgoṧi Mampuru II Museum where they learnt about the rich history of the department, and admired the beautiful artwork done by offenders. The Indaba was organised by the Youth Desk, of the Directorate: Gender and Employment Equity, under the stewardship of Director Ayanda Bonani. Ms Bonani said the purpose of the indaba was for the youth to discuss and dissect how today’s youth can live a proud legacy in honour of the class of June 1976. “The class of 1976 laid down their lives to ensure that we inherit the legacy of freedom,” she said. She implored the youth to strive to leave behind a legacy worthy to bequeath to future generations of young people. Further, she urged young people to develop a sense of autonomy and self-confidence and act as a collective to change social relationships and institutions that exclude the poor and condemns them to a perpetual life of poverty.
Bonani called on youth officials to leave a positive legacy by embracing social responsibility, ploughing back into their communities and uplifting unemployed young people. She beseeched the youth to take responsibility and partner with government and stakeholders to find solutions to multiple challenges facing the country and the continent. “As the new world is unfolding in front of our eyes, it could be tougher and more unstable. We thus need young people who are up to the task, and possess the right skills set with a clean bill of health,” said Bonani. She said that in order for the African continent to meet its developmental goals, it needs young people that are patriotic, educated, technologically savvy and selfless.
Ms Gladys Msibi from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) presented a plethora of services offered by the agency, which are designed to support and encourage youth entrepreneurship. She said the NYDA helps young people to start and develop their own businesses, skills development programmes and job placement. The youth agency provides support to youth from the age of 14 to 35 years. The NYDA offers free training that focuses on job preparedness, life skills, governance and training, sales pitch and entrepreneurship development.
Ms Zizile Khumalo-Nyembe from the Department of Social Development (DSD) Youth Development Directorate gave a presentation on a number of youth empowerment programmes run by the department. She said when appointing service providers, DSD is biased in favour of cooperatives owned by youth between the age of 15 and 35. She said the department also seeks to empower young people who are unable to access employment, education or training.
Old Mutual Executive Phembile Msuseni gave a presentation about the importance of financial planning and encouraged the youth to live within their means, and avoid impulsive spending. He further shared the social responsibility ideals the organisation is committed to, such as funding cooperatives for unemployed youth.
Brigadier Gloria Jezile from the SAPS charged young people to honour the legacy of the youth of 1976 by conducting themselves with integrity and determination. “The youth is distinguished from the rest by the strength they possess, and the speed and ability to articulate certain things quickly and apply them,” she said. She lamented the influx of young people into correctional centres and labelled it a betrayal of the legacy of the class 1976. She urged youth officials to be exemplary in speech, conduct and action.
Delegates broke into four commissions to discuss and offer solutions to issues affecting young people, and the following emanated from those discussions:
- Encourage information sharing in communities to empower the youth and foster social cohesion.
- Mobilise stakeholders to alleviate poverty and fight crime.
- Promote social reintegration of parolees through education.
- Encourage young people to start own business.
- Get young people to embrace the spirit of volunteerism in order to acquire work experience.
- Form non-governmental organisations to drive change and development in communities.
- Propose strict regulations on the access of alcohol, by increasing the legal drinking age from 18 to 21.
- Conduct drug awareness campaigns on social media to dissuade youth from using drugs.
- Increase prices of cigarettes.
- Conduct regular wellbeing sessions to discourage teenagers from engaging in sexual acts which lead to unwanted teenage pregnancies.
Deputy Commissioner Personal Corrections Shishi Sello graced the occasion and motivated the youth to seize the opportunities at their disposal to empower themselves and advance community development.