Young people of Cacadu (formerly Lady Frere) were educated about youth activism as Sakhingomso Youth Development Forum (SYDF) celebrated National Youth Day at Emachubeni on Monday.
Chairperson, Phumelele Mahlombe, said the youth-owned non-government organisation was established in 2018 with the purpose of developing young minds and creating leaders in the Chris Hani District. “The majority of the youth today are facing social ills which include unemployment, teenage pregnancy, alcohol and substance abuse and crime. We need solutions. As much as young people are involved in creating some of these problems, we need a platform to address these issues, to bring them to the fore. From its inception, the forum was there to advocate for social change.”
Mahlombe said the SYDF had previously hosted a number of events focused on core areas prioritised by the forum which included community development. “We had decided to categorise these challenges where we, under community development, focused more on training the youth about the business environment. This we do in partnership with the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and the Chris Hani Development Agency (CHDA). We have youth who want to venture into business and those who are part of cooperatives. We assist in registering their businesses and applying for funding and we will ensure a good monitoring process.”
Mahlombe added that employment opportunities were rare, especially for youth living in rural areas. “The forum wants to explore other avenues around education and skills development. We host career counselling sessions and exhibitions at schools in the district and have had the opportunity to work with the education department in a few campaigns. We also focus on arts and culture, including sport. There is a lot of fresh talent in rural areas so we try to provide a platform for young people to showcase their talent and help them create their own profiles.”
He said the event was successful and had guests from various departments including the NYDA, CHDA and the department of social development. “The day was to remember the youth of 1976 and to relay a message of what was expected of young people today. We are paving the way of how they can participate in social change,” said Mahlombe.