ACTIVATE! Change Drivers Network Support Newsletter - Quarter 2, 2020

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Showcasing the social interventions of one of the largest youth networks in the country.

#onlineengagements #virtualdialogues #virtualnetwork


The Lockdown generation “The second quarter of 2020 has seen the world trying to make sense of the new way of living, working and being. Many of us are still mourning a way of life which is unlikely to return in the near future, and it seems that our initial fears about the pandemic are now a reality, with young people being disproportionally affected by COVID-19. We are now referred to as the ‘Lockdown Generation’ growing in unemployment, disease and isolation. The Chinese think of a crisis as danger and opportunity, and it is up to us to decide whether we let the uncertainty and fear overcome us, or if we use this as the catalyst we need to finally focus all our efforts towards transformation. The ACTIVATE! Change Drivers Network, is a network of over 4200 young South Africans across the country who are pioneering various innovative interventions with local stakeholders. At the onset of the pandemic, Activators were prepared, mobilised and collaborated at grassroots level to ensure that our country not only survives but thrives AC (After CORONA). Now more than ever, we are seeing that partnerships and collaborations are the only way that we can succeed in this new world that we find ourselves in. This publication aims to celebrate the work of the ACTIVATE! Network and also inspire more collaborations with key role players as we all play our part in building the country. Bongi Ndlovu Capacity Building Manager and 2013 KZN Activator – For further queries on how to partner with the ACTIVATE! Network, email


Developments in the


As we all know the COVID – 19 pandemic lead to the onset of a nationwide shutdown, a shutdown that would reshape our lives and would change our society forever. Many of us were stuck, uncertain, anxious and possibly afraid. Here at Activate! we were uncertain at the best of time. But despite these change, we knew our role as Active Citizens will not change, in fact, our role will become even that more important. So the only other question was, how do we engage this new role? And what is the new normal for us? Our set objective as a programme has been to equip young people with leadership skills and a toolkit for social change. We have previously achieved this objective through face-to-face interaction over a period of 8 days, in a residential training setting. These face-to-face interactions took place in 3 provinces namely, North West Province, the Western Cape and KZN. Due to the Corona Virus pandemic and stringent limitations, this is no longer possible. We have therefore reverted to what we call the Activate! Virtual Learning Experience. A Virtual experience meant that we would engage Activators on WhatsApp in a set format that would allow us to continue to share our tools like the Creative Thinking, Object Cards, Project Planning et al. So young people could still experience the transformative learning tools our programme has been lauded for. Some of these tools, like Creative thinking, Object Cards and Project Planning are some of the tools Activators are equipped with that facilitates a growth mindset. This approach is facilitated by building on existing neurological brain structures, through engaging new ways of thinking as mentioned above; SocialEmotional Learning, which engages the self and purpose; social-political and socio-economic realities, by exploring how local government work and how you engage these structures, and finally, how do you plan for these challenges. This approach sees young people being actively involved in their analysis of their reality and the action – research to redress this warped reality or challenges. Previously we have seen meaningful solutions emerge when young people are allowed to engage their full selves, in a creative , stimulating and shared learning environment. Young people in Khayelitsha has used drones to map crime hotspots in Khayelitsha, analysed why this was the case and provided solutions to the Community Policing Forum. In Johannesburg, an Activator has established a platform that allows individuals to use a cellphone to draw up a petition and call for action. There are many of these stories across the network of young people who has these stories to tell, some indication that a sound learning experience and effective engagement process can ultimately shift society. While our current challenge is COVID – 19, our biggest challenge is what our next steps are in shaping this “new normal” – its a reimagining exercise. South Africa at the time of writing this is in the grips of a national GBV surge, what are we calling for in SA, how are we seizing the opportunity to reshape society using the tool we’ve acquired as Activators?

For more information on the programme please contact Ashley Roman on


Connect & Inspire: The Connect and Inspire portfolio seeks to to engender a more connected and inspired network during these trying times. We realise that a youth populace that is more connected to each other; to resources; to opportunities and to thought leaders will more likely be part of the solution than the problem. One of the ways we do this is through our online campaigns and sharing of inspirational stories of young people in the network working in their communities to make it better. The media has been inundated with negative stories around COVID-19 but through our Youth Voices on COVID-19 campaign we managed to get some traction with a few positive stories from the network including the #21poemsofencouragementfor21daysoflockdown initiative. Activator Elcardo Chulu from Upington started an online talk show to inform the people of his community about Covid-19. His motive was to make sure that people don’t fall victim to fake news. His organisation, Masakhane Arts Centre has also donated food parcels to the underprivileged. Elcardo’s story got picked up by his local radio station, Radio Riverside where he was interviewed. A freelancer journalist in the network, Lebohang Ditsebe wrote the story of Activator Modecai Ndlovu, who was one of the stakeholders that participated in discussions on how to tackle the coronavirus in his community. Modecai is part of the Progressive Professionals Forum and he stands firm for distributing the correct information to communities. These are just some of the inspirational stories emanating from the network which you will be able to find in a digital book in the upcoming months. Brand South Africa and ACTIVATE! Change Drivers launched a youth month campaign to promote constitutionalism and inspire active citizenry among the youth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The #ActivateYouthPower campaign kicked off with an online conversation that sought to unpack the position of young people in South Africas democracy and promote constitutionalism among the youth. Both Brand South Africa and ACTIVATE! share a common vision to build pride and patriotism among South Africans, in order to contribute to social cohesion and nation building that sees every South African living in a country worthy of our longing. If you would like to partner with ACTIVATE! on any of our campaigns please contact Kim:


A! Health Sector: Health has become one of the most important issues during the pandemic. Whether it’s a family discussion or daily news reports, health is something we cannot afford to ignore anymore. The Health Sector and the Health Champions have embarked on a fruitful and innovative journey in hosting different online engagements that focused on health awareness’s across the country and mobilising young and encouraging young people to be involved in developing the public healthcare system in South Africa. We focused on marginalised provinces such as Northern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape in order to increase reach beyond the main cities. We want to be remembered as the youth who played a critical part in creating awareness and promoting pro-youth health solutions as we work together to craft what the new normal is. Even though the sector has vast knowledge on health care, we do recognise that we all still have a lot to learn about the pandemic. The sector then decided to use the second quarter to provide health care workers with vital PPE for the mind. This is why our Thought Leader engagements for the quarter focused on mental health. We invited Youth Capital and Clinical Psychologist Alexa Scher from the University of Cape Town to share their expertise and to provide Activators with healthy copying tools and mechanisms during this tough time If you would like to partner with the Health Sector on any of our campaigns please contact:


A! Health Sector: Our second Thought Leader Engagement focused on crafting how the pandemic has affected the sectors’ focus on HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health Rights. We explored how the current focus on COVID-19 will impact on existing chronic diseases, especially those that affect the youth of the country.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE ONLINE ENGAGEMENTS HOSTED BY ACTIVATORS Hosted by 2019 Free State Activator Aubrey Moshia. This online engagement focused on the importance of personal hygiene and how it can help one reduce the risk of infections. The Health Champions focused on explaining how personal hygiene helps to stop the spread of the virus while sharing tools that can assist in areas that currently do not have access to proper water and sanitation.


A! Health Sector: Hosted by 2019 Mpumalanga Activator, Mike Skhosana. This online engagement focused on promoting health and well-being as a way of supporting the immune system. This is vital in our fight against COVID 19 as it highlights the dangers of risky behavior such as drinking alcohol and smoking. The engagement shared ways in which the youth can boost their immune systems so that even if they do get infected, our bodies are able to recover. A similar engagement was hosted by 2015 Limpopo Activator, Khomotso Komape

Hosted by 2017 Gauteng Activator, Karabo Hlabygo. The Gauteng province was one of the provinces that identified a shortage of family planning interventions even before lock down restrictions. And what has been noted subsequently is that access to Sexual Health services dropped, especially in the public health sector, as the focus was on COVID-19 medical interventions. This online engagement highlighted and promoted safe sex practices during lockdown and shared the main public and private service providers that still offer the service, during lock down. A similar engagement was hosted by 2017 Eastern Cape Activator, Hlubikazi Sanqela

The Stigmatization on #Covid-19 was our last engagement during youth month of June. 2014 Kwa-Zulu Natal Activator Nkosikhona Mpungose, coordinated and facilitated a online engagement in our Health sector WhatsApp group, the reason for the engagement was to unpack and understand the current rise in the stigmatisation around the pandemic.


A! Interconnectedness & Inclusivity: The country has been on lock down for over 100 days.The increased cases of gender-based violence has highlighted how some homes can be more deadly than the virus itself. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that gender-based violence has increased due to a combination of lockdown measures and not wanting to attend to health services for fear of infection. The ACTIVATE! Interconnectedness and Inclusivity (I&I) Sector seeks to promote social cohesion in the country by running various interventions that target the issues that plague our country. Through our online conversations, we learned that many young activists, although passionate about GBV, are still not familiar with the policies and laws that govern GBV which causes most of our interventions to not be as impactful as we can be. In the second quarter, we hosted various thought leader engagements and policy engagements with various stakehlders with the aim of capacitating the network. This approach was such a success that we were invited to submit inputs to the Domestic Violence Bill Amendment, in partnership with Sonke Gender Justice and Women Lead, in April, 2020. Following news headlines of violent deaths of young women in the country, ACTIVATE! in collaboration with the #EnoughIsEnough Movement against gender-based violence in the Western Cape embarked on a series of public protests at the provincial offices, Magistrate courts and Police stations in the Western Cape demanding justice for victims of GBVF in the Western Cape. If you would like to partner with ACTIVATE! on any of our campaigns please contact:


A! Literacy: At ACTIVATE! we believe in a Hand Up that empowers and emancipates South African youth from poverty, rather than a Hand Out that keeps them entranced to charity. We therefore, work to build the capacity of our Activators, as such we have been enabling Activators to take ownership in our programme delivery. As a sector we are concerned about the access to appropriate reading materials and the important role that parents should play in the literacy development of their children. To this end, Activator Xolane Ngobozana hosted an online engagement with a focus on “How to do a book collection campaign” in order for our literacy ambassadors to contribute to the alleviation of book poverty in South African households. Activator Abongile Davani from the Eastern Cape hosted another online engagement looking at the role of parents in building the reading culture in the home because according to Stats SA, only 5% of parents have ever read to their children. Based on our stakeholder engagement with Fundza on zero rated learning platforms and our two engagements with Nal’ibali on running clubs in the home and exploring their Funda Sonke loyalty programme, we discovered that a lot of students in disadvantage communities do not have phones and in some instances there is no connectivity for them to engage in remote learning. Therefore, we partnered with Nal’ibali to deliver reading supplements to communities working with Activators that are involved in the distribution of food parcels in their communities during this lockdown period. This will enable us to meet our objective of increasing access to reading materials for marginalised communities. Overall, 45 Activators have headed the call to join this campaign across all 9 provinces and we will deliver over 5 000 supplements to communities in need. CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR ACTIVATORS We are pleased that four of our Activators have been selected as ambassadors for the World Literacy Foundation. These are literacy activists Sinawo Shaun Siwisa, Hlubikazi Sanqela, Sthembile Ahadi Zondo and Keletso Kgamela. Activator Matshidiso Moloi from Soweto who runs a virtual library on whatsapp to promote African literature has secured the coveted Fix Scholarship in order to pursue the Social Entrepreneurship course at GIBS. Hlubikazi Sanqela from the Eastern Cape, was selected to participate in the first ever YALI Education Change Markers programme in partnership with the Trevor Noah Foundation. She has received a R35 000 startup grant from the programme. We are proud of Kwandile Skhosana from Gauteng who has secured R20 000 grant funding from the DGMT for his Rudo Institute which is a township based higher education start up. A big shootout to Ntesang Makutu to her for becoming 1st female President of the SRC - at Sol Plaatjie University. If you would like to partner with ACTIVATE! on any of our campaigns please contact:

FEATURED PARTNER: Nal’ibali Nal’ibali (isiXhosa for “here’s the story”) is a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign to spark children’s potential through storytelling and reading. Nali’bali has partnered with the Activators who are active in the literacy, and in the past months have held online engagements as well as disseminated reading material to those running various book clubs in their communities and in the ACTIVATE! Youth Hubs. These publications will help various learners, especially those in marginalised areas, to access tools that will support their learning during lockdown. This is just one of the various community interventions that Activators in the Literacy Sector are working on. If you are currently working in the Literacy Sector and would like to collaborate with the ACTIVATE! Network, contact: Mzwandile (A! Literacy Sector Coordinator) on


A! Youth Economic Participation:

The South African economy is currently being challenged in many ways as we see businesses either not being able to reopen after lockdown or having to retrench and restructure. It has been said that the people most affected by this economic crunch is the youth and it the reason why the A! Youth Economic Participation (YEP) Sector focused on innovation and partnerships to assist in changing this narrative. In the second quarter, the sector hosted various initiatives, such as the online career exhibition in collaboration with Biz-Gallery. The sector participated in a follow-up Youth Policy Submission in partnership with Youth Lab and Youth Capital. We also hosted various engagements with industry experts to guide us through these tough times. What is clear is that partnerships have been at the core of our work and recently, the relationship with Harambee has been instrumental in increasing the number of job opportunities and job seeking skills needed for Activators who are unemployed. Going forward, we will now work towards initiating funding pool campaigns, enterprise development programmes and flagship programmes that will be based at community level so that we can increase our impact and reach.

If you would like to partner with ACTIVATE! on any of our campaigns please contact:


Switch Entreprenuership Programme The rise of COVID-19 propelled the Switch Entrepreneurial Programme (SEP) to take mental health more seriously and to practice mindfulness in what has been a challenging time. The SEP team, through Zoom, hangouts, WhatsApp and the rapid-fire development of short videos have been able to take 67 participants through a 4-week Self-Care course as an introduction to SEP. The course included lessons about journaling, meditation, mirror talks and other useful tools to promote self-care. As part of Switch’s objective for this year, we seek to empower and resource the alumni. And one way to do this was to bring them to experience mentoring another entrepreneur, this process has an incredible impact for the individual as it means they get to teach and guide the next person based on what they have learned, and, they have the advantage of also learning from their mentee. Such a relationship is mutually

If you would like to partner with ACTIVATE! on any of our campaigns please contact:


A! Academy The heart of the Academy is finding the most effective ways to support capacity building, social cohesion and action for the ACTIVATE! network. This has driven the blended model learning approach that sees the bringing together of a digital platform and an in community, cross network and country strategy to support quality, scale and impact. This blended learning model contains courseware aimed at enhancing and developing skills and knowledge, shifting mindsets, and building interconnectedness. The digital team has been working on the development of 2 courses: Leadership and Selfcare. Leadership focuses on understanding leadership (this will grow a learner’s knowledge on leadership and give access to some of the thinking behind it as shared by other experts and thought leaders), capacity building toolkit for leaders (this will help learners grow their skills and provide some practical and accessible stepping stones that can be used to become a great leader), accessing resources (this will signpost useful resources we have found during the research phase) and finally inspiration for transformational leaders where case studies and stories will be shared. Research suggests a strong link between active, positive self-care and success in various aspects of our lives. In our society, the need for hope, self-belief, self-love is at an all-time high. We are cognisant of the conditions we live in, the history we’ve experienced that continues to play out in deeply entrenched systems and societal interactions, the lack of opportunities, resources and employment options. Furthermore, we are mindful of trauma that our society still sits with, that our youth has inherited from the generations before them, and that the effects of systemic architecture have unleashed on society at large. There has been no greater time, than now, for self-care to be prioritised and for us to begin to enable society, through this course, to develop self-love, recognise their value and begin to build community through shared stories of experiences and celebrations. We have the room now to reimagine the nature of our offering post-lockdown and are testing out avenues for the quick dissemination of information and learning content. Coupled with this, is the exploration of alternative quick filming/ production methods that could see us turning out small, bite-size nuggets of content weekly. If you would like to partner with the Activate Academy please contact


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