A YOUTH LED MANIFESTO
Suping T, Ndlovu B,2019 Capacity Building
Acknowledgments This publication is a reflection of a journey that started in 2016. We would like to thank the various individuals and organisations that supported us at various stages of this journey, adding valuable insights, resources and ensuring that the campaign lives and thrives in the communities it reaches. We hope that this campaign will be the catalyst needed to spark positive, youth-led grassroots action towards developing South Africa’s youth and its communities, as well as strengthening public accountability and the protection of our democracy. Partners: Civics Academy, a Hanns Seidel Foundation project, the Independent Electoral Commission and Khulisa Social Solutions Local municipalities, organisations and communities: Mogale City in Gauteng, Umuziwabantu municipality in KZN, Egoso in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape SALGA, Tore’s Foundation, National Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Khulisa Social Society, Harding Youth Society, Klipspruit in Gauteng, City of Joburg municipality. Personal Acknowledgement: Lerato Motaung - Ngobeni – Harvard Center for African Studies; Dr. Nomsa Masuku – Commissioner IEC; Mira Dutschke – Civic Academy Project Manager and Mpangi Kwami – Freedom House, we thank you for the guidance, advice and constant support and belief in the project. Community Champions: Nkosikhona Mpungose; Nolwazi Ntshingila; Karabo Monatisi; Motsatsi Mmola; Siphelele Xaba; Penester Tjale; Action Setaka; Thato Tsotetsi; Caroline Shabangu; Fanyana Mkhize ; Mario Manyaka; Anele Cele; Chardonnay Stuurman; Onke Jezile; Muzi Nduku; Angela Mogorosi; Gaba Makgaka; Irvin Itumeleng; Mthokozisi Jiyane; Johannes Lekau; Dineo Segobola; Gift Methule; Brian Qamata; Nokwanda Bongobie; Mordecai Ndlovu; Menzi Tsamba; Thabo Pitso; Ayanda Ndlovu; Kanyisa Booi and Matsepo Moatshe. Our youth ambassadors are at the heart of the campaign who continue to work tirelessly to ensure that this work reaches even the most marginalised communities of South Africa. You are a true reflection of what is possible when youth are capacitated to be at the forefront of championing their issues to drive change for the public good. Team: Tebogo Suping and Bongiwe Ndlovu – Project coordinators, Patrick Nteku - Project Assistant, Kim Barlow - Communications Manager, Raeez Edwards - Head Graphic Designer
Who we are
The Network as a political force
When the Network works
What People want to see is
Civic Education pilot Workshops
Highlights of the A! Network
These are our Community Champions
ACTIVATE! secures a seat at the National youth development coordination forum
Youth making Local Government Work
Get in touch
ACTIVATE! Change Drivers is a Network of 3234 Active Citizens with the capacity to drive change for the public good across South Africa. The network connects youth who have the skills, sense of self and spark to adress tough challenges and initiate innovative and creative solutions that can reshape our society. Activators have a shared purpose, commitment and responsibility to forge a better, more just South Africa for the public good and for themselves. Our vision is a network of young leaders with the capacity to drive change for the public good across South Africa. Our mission is to build the capacity of these Activators to become leaders for public innovation and catalyse connection points giving rise and support to growing the influence of a network of change drivers as a new political, social and economic force.
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Positive perceptions of civic duties and active citizenry are essential. These foster a sense of nationhood, which is at the heart of community and nation-state development. Without a vibrant voice of the people, especially young people who constitute over 60% of the African population, governments tend to disregard development, and corruption and unethical conduct prevails, further limiting development opportunities for young people. The ACTIVATE! Change Drivers YouCount 2018 Report (which is our annual survey of the ACTIVATE! Network) shows that the A! Network can boast many positive indicators regarding civic duties, political consciousness and active citizenry. 79% of the A! Network voted in the 2016 local government elections. This is one percentage point lower than in YouCount 2017 but can be explained by the bigger sample used in the 2018 report. Compared to national-level data, this is way above the 59% of young people who voted in 2013/4 elections. Of importance are the constant percentages of those who were eligible but did not vote - 11%, and those who preferred not to answer, 4% - in both 2017 and 2018. These constant metrics show that the Networkâ€™s perception on voting is generally representative and will not change with increases in sample sizes or by adding new members to the Network.
90% of the A! Network confirmed that they would vote in 2019 The trend remains when it comes to possible voting perceptions for 2019. 90% of the A! Network confirmed that they would vote in 2019, one percentage point higher than the 2017 survey. This percentage is also considerably higher than the 71% of youth who showed an interest in voting in 2016 (Ipsos, 2016). Voting intentions in South Africa are, however, generally constrained by young peopleâ€™s low voter registration and poor electoral and governance perceptions in South Africa (Institute of Security Studies, 2016). Only one per cent of the A! Network will not be eligible to vote, with a worrying 3% not willing to vote.
Regarding the duty of citizens to vote, 90% of Activators affirmed to this duty, compared to the 84% in 2017 and the 79% of the IEC’s 2013/14 voter participation survey. A significant number - 84% - believe their voting will make a difference, which is well above the national average of 46% (IEC, 2014) and the 2017 YouCount Report’s 81%. Importantly, only 6% of Activators feel that their vote is not important, compared to the 45% national average who feel this way. 65% of the A! Network believe that they can influence what politicians do, slightly higher than the 62% who thought so last year. These metrics, though high, represent political consciousness and active citizenry. They also reflect the fact that a significant percentage, above 30%, have a negative perception towards politicians, particularly on their ability to consider citizens’ concerns. This is worrying as a constitutional democracy places citizens’ participation at the heart of all government actions. It is refreshing that 78% of the A! Network is aware of how to participate in local governance, which affirms the deliberate actions of the Network’s training programmes. The percentage of the A! Network who have signed a petition remained at 70% from 2018. Those who have participated in a demonstration increased from 53% in 2017 to 66% in 2018. These percentages are way above the national average where only 15% have signed a petition (IEC) and 15% have taken part in a demonstration (IEC).
To demonstrate the active citizenry of the A! Network, 79% have contacted a local politician or councilor about community issues, which is up from the 75% in 2017, and the 13% who did so nationally (IEC, 2015). In 2018, 45% of Activators contacted the media on issues affecting their community, compared to 2017’s 39% and the 5% national average (IEC, 2015). 68% of the A! Network have engaged their local councillor compared to 55% who did so in 2017. Regarding local formal leadership, 33% are in a municipal structure leadership role and 45% are willing to take up that kind of leadership.
65% of the A! Network believe that they can influence what politicians do, slightly higher than the 62% who thought so last year. Regarding political activism, 25% of Activators are card-carrying members of a political party, up from 22% in 2017. 38% of those affiliated with a political party have leadership positions in those parties, mainly branch positions such as secretaries and chairpersons. The ability to gain access and take leadership positions in political parties further entrenches the Network’s core values of responsible and ethical leadership, and creating a potential for enhancing positive leadership in South Africa.
Youth apathy has become the common, if not the only narrative, that is used to characterize young people in South Africa. Whilst it may hold some merit, it is the distortion of the entire and bigger picture, it is not the entire story. What we know for certain being part of the A! Network, which is a network of more than 3500 young people who connected and capacitated to drive change for the public good, is that there does exist a large populace of young people who are not just willing and able but are taking daily actions in their everyday lives, in spite of the challenges and obstacles they face to ensure that their tomorrow will be better than today. The effort of developing the community manifestos by these passionate young leaders, demonstrates the power of collaboration towards a common goal. More than 25 community engagements were held across South Africa, reaching communities in urban, peri-urban and rural areas. Among the engaged individuals were young people who previously had limited or no knowledge surrounding the entire electoral process (not just voting)
The community engagement process outlined the challenges and issues faced by young and old people in the different communities across South Africa. While the issues are common in nature, they are not experienced in the same manner and donâ€™t necessarily require a generic response. These issues include, among others,
and those who will be voting for the first time in this yearâ€™s general elections.
More than 25 community engagements were held across South Africa, reaching communities in urban, periurban and rural areas. What is significant about the community manifesto is that it is not just an elections document, but a community development tool that will guide the collective actions required by both local leaders and the youth build societies that are functional, safe and enable their community members to thrive, particularly the youth. It also serves as a framework that showcases what positive action can happen when unlikely partners come together to empower and capacitate young people through comprehensive civic education toolkit that can enhance efficiency and impact in the spaces of influence that young people occupy at grassroots level.
government corruption, drug and alcohol abuse, poor and sometimes no access to ICT and connectivity, unemployment, crime, gangstarism, a lack of progressive youth centres, nepotism, a shortage of shortage of libraries, inadequate access to medical services, frequent and unattended sewage leaks as well as poorly maintained roads and infrastructure.
The other half of the discussions included proposed localised solutions raised during the countrywide engagements. Reasonably, the ideal political and local government responses to the different communal concerns vary from community to community as highlighted above. For example, in response to youth unemployment, a community in Gauteng seeks to see more efforts towards destigmatising and encouraging technical education to form part of the local industrial workforce while in the Free State, an adequate response to the same issue was deemed to be fighting government corruption and nepotism in an effort to increase youth absorption within local municipalities.
The overall response of the entire process is that more transparent leadership and measures to increase youth interest in civic matters
The overall response of the entire process is that more transparent leadership and measures to increase youth interest in civic matters as well as the promotion of public and societal accountability are required as mechanisms to enable our communities to move from one level of development to another. And lastly, that youth can and will make local government work, given the required support and space to do so.
Youth from KZN asking political reps about their land reform policies at the Harding Town Hall debate
ACTIVATE! and Civics Academy in partnership with the Toreâ€™s Foundation and SALGA piloted the first Youth Making Local Government Work civic education workshop from the 17th to the 18th of April 2018 at Sebelius High School Wynberg Retreat in the Western Cape. The workshops are targeted at youth who are actively involved in and participate in local government platforms and community initiatives. The primary focus is to educate and strengthen our participantâ€™s capacity to understand the processes of local government and how to navigate them; to effectively engage and hold local government accountable on issues affecting their communities as well as play an active role themselves to champion these identified issues and interests . The
participants with the skillsets and toolkit to be able to facilitate similar sessions in their communities themselves. This is equally a key learning platform to identify and celebrate the incremental actions young people are already taking to proactively find solutions to the challenges they face. Through this kind of interactive process, local partner organisations (such as NGOs, councilors and other municipal and political representatives) that we work with can better understand how to consistently work towards improving their responsiveness and support they provide to young people and communities at large. This two-day, face to face programme which is co-designed by ACTIVATE! and Civics Academy, uses a combination of Civics Academy Local Government videos and ACTIVATE! interactive training
Civic Education Workshop with youth from Witzenberg Municipality and the Wynberg Community
methodologies and content to invite participants to delve deeper into what local government is; understanding its mandate through existing frameworks such as the Intergrated Development Plan (IDP) who its various key role players are; and what different avenues exist to hold them to account outside of the prevalent violent protests that we see taking place of late. We also include a session where participants share what actions they are already taking to helping local government work.
towards helping them to better understand their roles in the various structures and where it fits in the local government landscape. These pilot workshops were conducted in four provinces; particularly marginalised areas with limited access to information and resources (Kagiso and Klipspruit in Gauteng, Wynberg in the Western Cape, Egoso in the Eastern Cape and Harding in KZN) in partnership with local stakeholders and municipalities in each area to foster collaboration and strengthen collective accountability.
The enthusiasm and willingness of the participants in our workshops demonstrated that there is definite need for ongoing civic training; and because they are already actively engaged in their communities, the training had direct relevance to them. They further stated that the content was useful
Our pilot workshops were a great success and we look forward to many more.
Materials used during the Civic Education Pilot Workshop
Youth in Cape Town watching Civics Academy videos on democracy
Political manifesto vs Community manifesto All political parties have manifestos, a public declaration of the parties’ intentions, motives and views. This document helps voters understand the politics of the parties they have the opportunity to vote for during an election. Essentially, this published document highlights what the party stands for and what they plan to do for the people should they be elected into government. The youth-focused organisation ACTIVATE! Change Drivers – believes that this should be the other way around: people should be able to tell political parties what they need through their own manifesto. With their Community Manifesto Campaign, they have turned this concept on its head. Activators have gone into different communities around South Africa and spoken to the young people in each community so that they can develop their own unique manifesto highlighting each community’s specific needs. Activators Tebogo Suping and Bongiwe Ndlovu, have been coordinating the ‘Youth Making Local Government Work’ Civic Education and Elections Campaign since 2016. Suping, says the ideology of a community manifesto was developed as a tool that community members can use to outline, understand and draft their community’s current holistic state-both opportunities and challenges, including the ideal solutions that they themselves can be a part of. “The intention is to engage political representatives and local government service delivery custodians to
highlight issues pertinent to community members, particularly the youth. With this tool, politicians and officials can address challenges at a local, more tangible level rather than giving vague and often unattainable promises,” she says. “The campaign is an enabler aimed at promoting youth agency and mobility rather than the fault finding exercises frequently undertaken that produce no substantial results or mechanisms that meaningfully incorporate young people as stakeholders and community assets versus the apathetic narrative used to characterise the youth of this country.” Compiling Community Manifestos with specific community issues The campaign is supplemented by ACTIVATE!’s SETA-accredited Community Development course, with the support of partners: The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and Civics Academy, a project by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. This year, ACTIVATE! and these partners, trained and capacitated 30 young Activators from across the nine provinces of South Africa, who serve as community champions. “They were trained to begin with a mapping exercise of their community, using their local IDP and a mapping canvas as guiding documents which identified what their community assets are and what is required to address the persistent challenges they face. It also entailed a demographical breakdown of who stays in the community as well as any economically uplifting opportunities available to young people,” says Suping.
Post this analysis each champion hosted a community engagement session with about 15 key youth leaders and stakeholders. “During these sessions they interrogated, critiqued and localised the issues specific to each community focusing primarily on issues affecting young people. These engagements were also an opportunity to find solutions and ideal political responses that fosters a process where they too, as youth can be afforded the opportunity and access to platforms that will enable them to be custodians of their own development,” she says. Value of civic education in capacitating young people to lead change Erika Joubert, programme head of ACTIVATE!’s SETA-accredited, NQF Level 5 Community Development Certificate Course, says Activators are already the type of young person who cares about their community and tries to do things to play an active role, but they don’t know how to approach doing community work adequately at a credible and professional level. “They get stumped by the politics of communities,” says Joubert. “People often want to know who they are affiliated with, or why they’re doing this. When they had a sincere desire to help school kids with homework in a community facility. (as an example). “Through ACTIVATE! they learn innovative tools on how to deal with stakeholders, to analyse and approach them in more systematic and organised manner. They learn to understand dynamics of communities economically, socially and politically, and understand where they can fit in,” says Joubert. “They want to understand the real issues in the community coming from the people themselves, and they learn skills and tools on how to do that effectively. The Community Manifesto Campaign ties into that,” she says. It is a continuous process that carries itself over
even beyond the elections. “The Community Manifesto promotes public accountability, which is essential for a good democracy. To do so they need to understand how government works local, provincial and national government - so that you can hold political and public service representatives accountable. They learn that they can input into local, provincial or national government programmes. That it is your right and your civic duty to participate as citizens. When you understand how government operates, it becomes easier to promote civic rights. Many people don’t understand their rights, lots of processes aren’t open, these Activators are learning that you are allowed to insist,” says Joubert. Educating young people to live in a democracy Commissioner of the IEC, Dr Nomsa Masuku, says the IEC partnered with ACTIVATE!! Because they play an important role in the civic education space, which is extremely important. “We need to train people for living in a democracy and we must rekindle their sense of agency,” she says. “In the face of everything going on today, people are feeling helpless. They do not know the power that accrues to them as citizens of a democracy. They don’t know how they should behave in relation to their political and public representatives. People don’t understand their socio-political landscape. We want to change that with education,” she says. Civics Academy provides online civic education material Civics Academy creates free, online educational content that aims to equip people with the skills they need to actively and responsibly engage and participate in democratic processes. “The purpose of this material is to inform and strengthen
democratic values and responsible leadership,” says Mira Dutschke, Civics Academy Project Manager. Having the content online is great but the partnership that we have with ACTIVATE! is so crucial because ACTIVATE! has a very strong footprint at grassroots level who can benefit from the learning materials.” Making young people’s voices heard during this election “In these elections there has been a lot of discussion about how young people are not feeling represented. It is important to create a platform to make young people’s needs heard,” says Dutschke. “We wanted to feed against that narrative where political parties and public officials tell young people what they need and rather find out what it is that young people require from them.” ACTIVATE! is filling an important space, by empowering young people and encouraging youth participation in all aspects of society from entrepreneurial to civic duties, and by giving them tools they need to do so,” says Dutschke. Civic education must show young people why it is important to vote Activator and campaign coordinator, Bongiwe Ndlovu, says this is an important election for young people. “It’s the first time millennials are voting. Young people are starting to critique political parties’ manifestos intently. This Community Manifesto Campaign is our way of saying what our needs are. We want leaders in our communities to talk about issues specific to the community they are representing..” “Voter psychology has changed. Our parents had loyalist views and voted along these lines but most youth don’t have this
nor are they romanticising the past. People are disappointed after being given the vote, things haven’t changed for the better. Our parents have a saviour mentality and we want to break this. As citizens, we are also accountable, it’s not only government,” she says. “There is a big gap between what young people are feeling and what they are doing. Civic education needs to close this gap,” she says. “Young people need to realise how politics affects them whether they’re politicians or not. Youth participation throughout the entire electoral process is essential for a healthy democracy, especially as the youth in South Africa are in the majority. This campaign is aimed at increasing youth participation in electoral process and promoting civic education,” says Ndlovu. Ndlovu fears that young people don’t see the point of voting. “There is a lot of incorrect messaging that is: ‘If I’m not happy with the current status political quo, I should not vote’. However, not voting makes it worse, it takes the power away from young people for another five years. If young people don’t vote, someone else will vote,” she says. “IEC stats show that the majority of people who do vote are 50 year old and above.. How can young peoples’ issues be addressed if they don’t vote.” The youth seem sceptical The ACTIVATE!! community champions found that it wasn’t easy to meet with their peers in their communities. They found that most young people are sceptical of politicians promising to meet their demands and then disappearing once they’ve been voted in. This also includes officials such as local councillors.
Caroline Shabangu, Activator and Community Champion from Lawley in Gauteng says, “It was difficult getting the youth together. They thought that maybe I want them to vote for me,” she says. “I gave them information and told them what we would talk about, and then they came. Then I went to the schools and they listened to us, principal allowed me to talk to the learners.” Activator Gabaiphiwe Makgaka, Community Champion of Rustenberg in the North West says, “It is never an easy a task to get young people to attend the meeting. When you call young people to come out, they want to know what you want to talk to them about, specifically if it is job related. Are you tribal or from the municipality? Are you politically involved? They want to know before they come attend your event. Lucky for me I’ve always been involved in young people things, so they know me. I got a few young people together and we spoke in length,” she says. “The session doesn’t go always go the way you plan it,” she says. “People will always tell you about negative things. I say to them that we’re here to look for solutions to that problem. They’ll say, no people have been trying that and it never worked. You have to push them in a positive direction. What can we do to help ourselves? There is so much potential,” she says. Activator Thato Tsotetsi is the Community Champion from QwaQwa in the Free State. “When I said I was going to record this session and take pictures and videos, they said no and some started to run away,” says Tsotetsi. “They feel like it’s the same and that we won’t listen to them. Who is going to listen to our problems?” “But once I had them, I got to hear their
different comments and mindsets. The most impressive and provocative ideas and thoughts. I found young people are so willing to see our country change,” he says. “We, as young people, we have lots of things we’re holding to ourselves. We always talk behind closed doors and then feel like we’re not heard. How can we come up with solutions that are good for us, our community at large and also future generations, if we don’t talk about them?” Feedback from the engagements Although the different communities had different issues, the underlying challenges were similar, starting with unemployment. With a 35% unemployment rate among young people this is hardly surprising. Other profound issues that spun off from a lack of work, were crime, gangsterism, drugs, teenage pregnancy and poor access to health and educational resources and facilities. What seems very evident from the outcomes of the majority of the engagements is that young people lack employment. “Unemployment is the biggest issue. However, the participants also agreed that they need to try to see what assets and nodes of hope they have at their disposal in their communities and what it is they can achieve by working together as a community. In Rustenburg for example, the areas are full of mines. Many migrant labourers go all the way there to make money from those communities, which to young people seems as a barrier for them to directly access those economic opportunities. As stated by another community champion: “Our people are being weighed down by the land issue and who is entitled to it. People not from our
community come here, the husband works in the mine and the wife sells vegetables they are making money. If they can make it, why can’t we do it ourselves,” she says. The focus of the manifesto campaign is a process that incorporates youthled solutions. Another participant in the community engagements had this to say: “Let’s start with what we have. We have land and agriculture is the way to go in addressing issues such as poverty and food security. We should grow vegetables and supply schools or farm chickens and eggs. Let’s look for smaller solutions. We should not only wait for government to do something for us, we should try to help ourselves.” Other issues raised in the community engagements are that learners do not finish school. That high school drop-out rates prevalent throughout the country have a direct bearing on the quality of work opportunities young people can access “Even if a company comes to open up here, which of our children could they employ? Our kids don’t like to go to school. How can you be involved, or working, if you don’t want to go to school?” she asks. In QwaQwa there are also major health issues. It was stated that clinics are bad and that services at local hospital are poor. Young people felt that they do not get attention and sometimes “have to return home and come back the next day.” Education is also another critical problem raised. There were young people who stated that some learners in their local schools do not have text books; that they have to share books because there are not enough for learners. The Community Manifesto engagements clearly signify that there is an urgent need
for new and effective governance. Young people are ready for change. It’s about time we advocate for ethical and accountable leadership. We need to equally lobby for young people to be able to access and participate in key decision making processes and structures at all spheres of government, business and civil society. Caroline Shabangu, Community Champion from Lawley in Gauteng says their community has a problem with the school. “People don’t understand why they should vote. If you’re complaining about school because it is not a proper school as it is using containers for classrooms - you need to vote. Through voting you have a voice,” she says. “Another issue is that we don’t have a library. We don’t have a police station, the nearest one is an hour’s drive away,” she says. “We are looking for solutions. We are going to build a shed to use as a library. We went to the counsellor about the police station issue and we are also going to write a letter to the Department of Education about the school challenges identified and find out their planned action response. “The politicians are not listening to us. They want to put up shacks, although we don’t have schools or a police station. They are supposed to build a library for us, but they are thinking for themselves, even selling that land for shacks. Unemployed is the biggest issue, lots of people are unemployed. They end up having babies, pregnancy rates are growing higher and higher,” she says. “I tell people, you should vote for a person who you think will deliver,” says Shabangu. “Look for the party’s message, for what they stand for. Vote for a Party that is going to deliver on both your individual and societal needs”
Community Champion Nkosikhona held his community engagement meeting in his hometown of Kwa-Mashu, north of Durban. His community highlighted issues of unemployment, high school drop-out rates, drug abuse and a lack of progressive youth centres. Menzi Tsamba held his community engagement meeting in Kwa-Mafunze, KZN. That Community Manifesto also expressed the need and importance of improved quality education. The town of Bizana in the Eastern Cape is Community Champion Muzi Ndukuâ€™s home. His community mapping report revealed that young people under the age of 30 make up 47% of Bizanaâ€™s total population. Muziâ€™s ambition is to help young people in his community understand their responsibilities as citizens. The challenges faced by the community of Temba, in Hammanskraal include substance abuse and the lack of a proper railway system to transport commuters to and from town which is their primary place of work and school. These are facts included in the manifesto produced by Penester Tjale, an Activator and election champion based in Gauteng. Another Community Champion from Gauteng, Mario Manyaka, is passionate about finance and education. His manifesto for Mogale City Local Municipality emphasises the need for more technical education in schools as not all learners are adequately gifted academically. Activator Dineo Segopisho is from Postmasburg in the Northern Cape. Her community manifesto demands that the leadership particularly ward councilors, have regular engagements with members of
the community so as to better understand their challenges and needs. Postmasburg is a town within the Tsantsabane local municipality, in the north eastern parts of the Northern Cape Province. Activator Motsatsi Mmola, based in Maruleng in Limpopo found nepotism within the municipal leadership and a shortage of libraries were the most threatening challenges facing her community. The political response they demand is for the leadership to deliver services and be accountable for the promises it makes as they are also willing and available to help them do that as the youth of Maruleng. Anele Cele held her community engagement meeting at Jandrell Community Learning Centre in Standerton, Mpumalanga. Sewage leaks and poorly maintained roads are challenges reflected in her Community Manifesto. Karabo Monatisi is an Activator based in the Western Cape Province. His hometown of Khayelitsha is where he held his community engagement meeting. The challenges faced by the community of Khayelitsha include gangsterism, crime and drug abuse. One of the recommended ideal political responses stated in his community manifesto is for public servants workers are ill disciplined and corrupt to be brought to book because they delay service delivery which deprives citizens of their basic rights. Despite the economic activities like mining and tourism in the area, Community Champion Angela Mogorosi says her village of Thekwane is still regarded as a rural and under-developed community. The manifesto identifies the influx of immigrant mine-workers as a contributing factor to the increased burden on the
health facilities in the area. Equally, for her community, unemployment is very high and there is a growing sense of exclusion in terms of opportunities and infrastructural development. The youth must champion youth issues The notion of youth apathy is too generalized and over-simplified. It is prescriptive and leaves no room for an alternative story and a space of engagement to interrogate it. When speaking to the youth, the Community Champions actually found that many young people across the country are aware of the importance of being active citizens and understanding the electoral process and the civic structure of our country. What is evident is that young people across the country have similar needs however they are experienced in their own unique ways, which requires the political response to look at each town’s capacity and capability to respond directly to these needs. For example, in mining towns, mining companies can play a dual developmental role with local government and communities. The tri-factor effect. The more young people can interrogate their communities’ Integrated Development Plans (IDP), the more able they are to hold government accountable and make local government work. Youth participation in the elections is key Youth participation in the electoral system is far bigger than just voting. It needs to begin with the basics of helping young people to understand the political landscape; to give them the space to critique and interrogate it as well as the mobility to form part of its processes.
It is about embedding a mind-set of critical analysis; personal and collective agency as well as access to open and safe spaces to both articulate their frustrations and feel that it is also okay not to know. This is where civil society and government can play an instrumental advocacy and capacity building role to bridge this gap. This is when you can confidently engage young people on the processes and values of voting; on what is required of all citizens to lend a helping hand to play active roles in their localised spaces of influence to ensure and safe guard our democracy; and ensuring meaningful socio-economic transformation led by and inclusive of the youth voice. Young people are not voting cows; they are not statistics; they are capable and willing. We see this through and through in our civic education training workshops all the way from Egoso in the Eastern Cape to Harding in KZN. That is why we also go to the outskirts where most people and organisations are not prepared to go because all young people in spite of their socio-economic status (which is not of their choosing) deserve the right and space to access opportunities and platforms that can enable them to thrive. What is significant to note which most young people seem to take for granted, is that young people are the majority, and that this collective power exercised through voting means that we CAN determine the trajectory that the country needs to take; that we CAN decide who we want to lead; not just who shouldn’t; and lastly that we CAN contribute towards ensuring that next 25 years can be better than the last by carrying the baton forward. ‘Liking’ a cause on social media is not enough
The outcome of the sessions also showed that voter mentality is shifting, partly thanks to the increase in information available on social media. Organisations like ACTIVATE!! can reach young people through social media and other various platforms, to education them on why it is important to vote. Important electoral documents like a party’s election list are now available online, meaning young people are more informed, questioning more and have their say. On the other hand, it takes more than ‘liking’ a cause on social media to effect a change. This very important process need to be amplified by grassroots action that tackles issues head-on; either through advocacy and lobbying; policy inputs; civic education and capacity building ; and offering our time and efforts through initiatives and volunteerism that respond to people’s needs today. Small incremental actions that can be replicated to ensure that we stand for what is SEEN not just what is heard. Post-election meetings to show young people can be part of the solution ACTIVATE! plans to follow up these elections with a post-election meetings where communities speak to their elected political representatives. “We want to speak to the politicians and say, ‘Now we voted you in, we gave you our Community Manifesto. Now we want to know: ‘How can young people be part of the solution?” says Ndlovu. “We can’t keep crying that our parents didn’t do something - we are the young mothers now. I am young but now I have a young
child that I need to answer to.”
30 community champions participated in the training workshop held jointly by Civics Academy, ACTIVATE! Change Drivers and the IEC, on the electoral process and civic education. As part of the training, the community champions were each tasked to organise a community engagement meeting with young people and develop a community manifesto for their respective communities.
Words by Paul Mabote
Nkosikhona Mpungose is one of the community champions based in KZN. He held his community engagement meeting in his hometown of KwaMashu, north of Durban. The issues highlighted in his community manifesto include unemployment, high school dropout rates, drug abuse and a lack of progressive youth centres. Menzi Tsamba is another election champion who held his community engagement meeting in KZN. The manifesto of his community of Mafunze expresses the need and importance of improved quality education. Nkosikhona Mpungose Kwa Zulu Natal
The town of Bizana in the Eastern Cape is where Activator Muzi Nduku calls home. He is one of the election champions based in the province and his community mapping report reveals that young people under the age of 30 make up 47% of Bizana’s total population of 123 567. Muzi’s ambition is to help young people in his community understand their responsibilities as citizens.
Muzi Nduku Eastern Cape
Activator Thato Tsotetsi is part of the selected community champions representing the Free State province. He developed a community manifesto for Maluti a Phofung local municipality, located in the eastern Free State and covering places like Qwaqwa, Kestell and Harrismith. As one of the ideal political responses to Maluti a Phofung’s various challenges, Thato’s manifesto points out the urgent need for new and effective governance, following the dismissal of the previous mayor in 2017. Thato Tsotetsi Free State
The challenges faced by the community of Temba, in Hammanskraal include substance abuse and the lack of a proper railway system to transport commuters to and from town. These are facts included in the manifesto produced by Penester Tjale, an Activator and election champion based in Gauteng.
Penester Tjale Gauteng
Another election champion from Gauteng is Mario Manyaka, who is passionate about finance and education. His manifesto for Mogale City Local Government emphasises the need for more technical education in schools as not all learners are adequately gifted academically.
Mario Manyaka Gauteng
Activator Dineo Segobola is from Postmasburg in the Northern Cape. Her community manifesto demands that the leadership particularly ward councillors, have regular engagements with members of the community so as to better understand their challenges and needs. Postmasburg is a town within the Tsantsabane local municipality, in the north eastern parts of the Northern Cape Province.
Dineo Segobola Northern Cape
Activator Motsatsi Mmola is based in Maruleng which is situated in the south eastern quadrant of Limpopo. In her community manifesto, nepotism within the municipal leadership and a shortage of libraries are 2 of the most threatening challenges facing her people. The political response they demand is for the leadership to be accountable for the promises it makes.
Motsatsi Mmola Limpopo
The community of Ga-Luka in Rustenurg, being a mining town, faces issues of air pollution and insufficient health care facilities, among other challenges. This is reflected in the manifesto produced by North West based Activator, Gaba Makgaka. The manifesto identifies the influx of immigrant mine-workers as a contributing factor to the shortage of medical care in the area.
Gaba Makgaka North West
Anele Cele held her community engagement meeting at Jandrell Community Learning Centre in Standerton, Mpumalanga. Sewage leaks and poorly maintained roads are challenges reflected in her community manifesto. The Lekwa municipal area, according to the manifesto, has several taverns and church establishments.
Anele Cele Mpumalanga
Karabo Monatisi is an Activator based in the Western Cape Province. His hometown of Khayelitsha is where he held his community engagement meeting. The challenges faced by the community of Khayelitsha include gangsterism, crime and drug abuse.
Karabo Monatisi Western Cape
By Prince Charles “Without a collective voice and Activators being plugged into different issues like health, literacy and unemployment, we wouldn’t have been prepared when government came knocking as part of the National Youth Policy 2015 – 2020 draft process. If you are only speaking as an individual voice you are not likely to be heard in South Africa” - Tebogo Suping Unites States Colorado Senator Morgan Carroll in her book ‘Take back your government’ argues that when there’s a vacuum of public input, lobbyists usually fill it, but when there’s public input in policy making the people usually win. The ACTIVATE! Capacity Building Manager and policy doyen Tebogo Suping passionately echoed those sentiments when outlining the ACTIVATE! network’s role in the national youth development coordinating forum; a body which has been tasked with reviewing the current National Youth Policy and crafting a road map for the next policy which will run from 2021 until 2026. Suping painstakingly traced the history and timeline of how the ACTIVATE! Network ascended to the high level forum putting strong emphasis on how a connected and proactive body of three and a half thousand activators driving change and occupying various spaces made it impossible for government to ignore the network’s voice on youth issues. The National Youth Policy is a policy document which seeks to articulate the challenges faced by young people in the country and how such challenges can be redressed; the policy seeks to create an environment that enables the development of young people both as individuals and as members of society in order to enhance their capabilities to transform the economy and the country. Part of the policy execution is outlined through the integrated youth development strategy which articulates in detail how the implementation of the interventions should be carried out. The policy
has five year lifespan after which it is reviewed to improve its impact for the next five year cycle. It has five thematic focus areas namely; Economic participation and transformation, education, skills and second chances, health care and combating substance abuse, social cohesion and nation building, and lastly optimising youth development machinery. A closer examination of the ACTIVATE! network’s own ‘Big five’ sectors reveals that they are directly aligned to those of the national youth policy, this is extremely important because it explains why the network has been granted a space in the review forum and is encouraging because it means activators are not working in a vacuum but through the power of their collective voice, have the ability now to shift government focus and policy. “The ability to inform and contribute to government policy in a constitutional democracy is crucial in driving social change.” says Tebogo Suping, who represents the ACTIVATE! network on the policy review forum. Other influential stakeholders in the Forum include Lovelife, NYDA, South African Youth Council, Business Unity South Africa, Black Business Council and is headed by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. The forum is essentially a custodian of youth development in South Africa. In 2015 ACTIVATE! was invited to be part of the Presidential Youth Working Group, which is a youth policy oversight task team of all the deputy ministers that sits once a year and is chaired by the President.
Equally, understanding the processes of government is important such as the Medium Term Strategic Framework, which is basically a plan of what government intends to do and what targets it has set for itself and whether these are aligned to the National Development Plan. After that government then formulates what is called the Midterm Expenditure Framework which is an outline of what government views as priorities and how much money must be allocated to them, which attributes to the budget which the finance minister reads in parliament. This is why according to Suping it is important as a network to always be present at the ‘platforms where the processes begin’ so that our views are captured, “Having ACTIVATE! at a forum such as this, helped to inform and share a picture of what is happening on the ground and not merely share a picture painted by a research consultant,” she said. One of the major achievements the forum has achieved to date has been the drafting of the monitoring and evaluation framework for the national youth policy. This is a milestone because in previous Youth Policy there was no mechanism to monitor and evaluate deliverables around the five thematic areas. Therefore the key frame of mind in drafting the next policy is how to get all government departments on board with one collective strategy with a concerted and cohesive plan to make sure that young people are an inherent part of governments planning and priority. On whether she believes youth apathy and general fatigue by young people could derail the process of the next draft of the youth policy, Tebogo Suping appeared optimistic and argued that, “There appears to be a definitive shift in the youth voice, young people are advocating for accountability and asking political parties critical questions about why they should entrust them with their future”.
“There appears to be a definitive shift in the youth voice, young people are advocating for accountability and asking political parties critical questions about why they should entrust them with their future.”
It is part of our responsibility to play an active role to safeguard our democracy as enshrined in the constitution of our land. The aim of the youth making local government work campaign is to highlight new and existing opportunities for young people to define the next wave of democracy and development in South Africa. We have seen powerful energy and mass movement action taken in campaigns such as Fees Must Fall and Rhodes Must Fall. There still exists a big gap between access to information and guidance on how to tackle issues from an informed perspective. It is also not enough to simply make information available to people â€“ being educated on how to comprehend and use this information to create change is possible through community-led interventions and engagements. Equally, young people are currently facing many development challenges and the onus is on us as South Africans to stand together and work in partnership with Government, the Private and the Civil Sector to lend a hand in moving our people and our country forward. We need to re-educate the country on the principles of Democracy and our role as active citizens. We need to unlearn the dependency and savior-mentality we seem to have inherited. We have to start to occupy leadership positions and participate in our own community structures towards resolving issues that affect us; where they affect us. All of this would be impossible without Civic Education.
2017 ACTIVATOR RAMBUWANI VHUTSHILO MERCY FROM LIMPOPO ASSISTS 172 MATRIC LEARNERS TO REGISTER ONLINE FOR VARSITY
‘Don’t let low self-confidence deprive you, stand firm and fight so that you can be the light that will shine forever.
28 MOBILE TOILETS DELIVERED AT A LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL IN SOWETO
Caroline Shabangu is a 2018 Activator from Soweto whose former high school did not have any toilets. She used her Making Local Government training to take action and she was successful in bringing change in her community by getting sponsorship of 28 mobile toilets for the school.
CHILDREN’S PROGRAMME IN SLOVOVILLE
2018 Activator Glenda Nukeri is an Activator committed to change within her community who is highly motivated to serve others. As part of a school holiday programme, Glenda, her team and SAPS hosted a children’s programme in Slovoville (Soweto - Gauteng) which included fun, games, sports and indigenous activities - The theme was based on key learnings of crime prevention and the aim was to teach the children about the dangers of gangsterism, drug abuse, suicide, bullying and more.
TRAIN THE YOUTH FOR A BETTER TOMORROW
Activator Phikolomzi Hadebeâ€™s company Havaks (Pty) Ltd Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programme in partnership with NYDA, offers in and out of school young people various trainings on life skills, jobs preparation, cooperative governance and business management.
2016 ACTIVATOR MALOPE MASHIANE & ACTIVATE! FACILITATOR TEBOGO MOTLANA DONATE FOR A WORTHY CAUSE AT A RURAL SECONDARY SCHOOL IN LIMPOPO. With the assistance of his facilitator Tebogo Motlana, Malope drafted a proposal to the University of Johannesburg to get a PC donated Mmapadi Secondary School in Limpopo. The school has since received more computers that assist in growing access to ICT infrastructure and skills for the learners.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT WITH YOUTH IN POSTMASBURG
22016 Activator, Dineo Cognac Segopisho doing her community of Postmasburg proud by amplifying the voices of youth as she hosted her community manifesto engagement in her local high school with learners that are eligible to vote. This was her contribution in educating them on the importance of voting and being an active citizen.
DURBAN FLOOD VICTIMS GET A HELPING HAND
2014 Activator, Nkosikhona Mpungose, mobilised and collaborated with other KZN Activators and community members as part of a collection drive in response to the damages caused by Durban Floods. They collected and delivered clothes, food and other essential items in assisting the affected families. This is a demonstration of the power of collaboration within the ACTIVATE! network for public good.
2013 Activator Anele Cele is a life skills facilitator and peer educator in her community of Standerton Mpumalanga. She also runs programmes in schools on HIV/AIDS prevention as well as sexual reproductive health.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT WITH YOUTH IN BIZANA
2015 Activator Muzi Nduku, facilitating his Community Manifesto Engagement. His engagement saw youth from his rural community in Bizana coming together to engage on what issues affect them the most as young people and what they deem as possible solutions towards helping to solve them. The session was also a platform to voice out their honest views and perspectives on voting and sharing their aspirations for the future of our country.
Get in touch WESTERN CAPE The Station 177 Main Road Muizenberg, Cape Town 087 820 4873
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Activate! Change Drivers
The ACTIVATE! Change Drivers 2019 election campaign saw young people, from across the country, galvanize around a youth-led community manife...
Published on Oct 22, 2019
The ACTIVATE! Change Drivers 2019 election campaign saw young people, from across the country, galvanize around a youth-led community manife...