Young voices are not heard at homes and in political spaces. This was the shared experience of young people that gathered at the Youth Dialogue on Thursday 16 June, at the Premier Hotel in Pinetown. The dialogue hosted by the Democracy Development Program (DDP) with youth organisations: Youth Inter-Active (YIA), Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) and the Mariann Ridge Coordinating Committee (MCC) youth wing attracted 128 youth from KwaMashu, Mariann Ridge, eNanda, Clermont, Hammersdale and surrounding areas.
Shaun Lighman, 18 said: “I can march and burn down buildings but all that comes back is words to comfort me and keep me quiet.” Youth sat in circles engaging in “insightful” dialogue about various topics pertaining to the theme: Finding the youth voice in the 2016 Local Government Elections.
Ayanda Ngcobo, 20 said: “We have privileges but they are limited. We knock on doors but our voices are not heard. We must create our own paths and boundaries. If you don’t know where you are going sit down.”
Despite the challenges faced by the youth, it was important that they vote. This was certified by a short play performed by Y-art and a poem by Nokwanda Ndlovu, 20 which emphasised the importance of voting and the difference it makes.
Youngsters wore and took home trendy bucket hats worn by most young people. On the hat was “I Count” with a cross symbolising that they will honor their right to vote and their vote counts despite challenges