By: Sthabiso Mdledle and Nosipho Luthuli
The Democracy Development Program hosted its 3rd Annual Youth Indaba on Wednesday to Thursday June 14-15 at the Diakonia Centre in Durban. This Indaba themed “Creating a Youth Led Vision for South Africa” and “Social and Systematic Change; Towards a Youth Friendly Economy”, brought together youth from various parts of KwaZulu Natal, Free State and Eastern Cape.
DDP Youth Desk coordinator and organiser Brian Bhengu, said the purpose of the Youth Indaba is to gather young people from various communities, organizations and formations into one space to commemorate youth month. He said: “It is to contribute to a roadmap for young people towards activism and active citizenship: so, that we can contribute in changing the spaces that we occupy more significantly. Beyond that, the Indaba is designed to revitalize young people who are already active, and to affirm their efforts in whatever way possible.”
The Indaba also gathered 15 young informal and formal entrepreneurs to exhibit their businesses/innovations for purposes of networking and collaboration. Among the exhibitors were Smart Space, youth employment accelerator Harambe, Kanga Fabrics and many others.
National Planning Commissioner and Director of Youth Lab, Tessa Dooms was the main speaker on Day one, presenting about the National Development Plan (NDP). The DDP used the NDP as a resource book and tool at the Indaba and in its various projects.
The NDP is a strategy that was drafted and adopted by the South African National Planning Commission to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. According to the plan, South Africa can realise these goals by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society.
Dooms said it was important that South Africans were actively involved in the formation of the NDP and its implementation. She asked: “Is the NDP available in all official languages? How do we plan to bring it to the various communities?” She added that the executive Summary of the NDP has been translated to all official languages of SA. Dooms added: “We can have all the great opportunities in the world but if we don’t look at who the people are then we would have failed.”
The Indaba continued with various break away sessions taking place that provided various insights and skills in how the youth attending can upskill themselves and prepare for employment or running a business. One of the organising partners Iziko Biz held a session called “Pitch Perfect Battles” aimed at sharpening the skill of pitching a business or product to a potential client or investor and to harness proper representation of the business. Iziko also held a session called “The face of informal business” a dialogue where informal traders shared their challenges in their areas of work and explored what laws and policies apply to them.
Young entrepreneurs who are making waves in their areas of work were also given an opportunity to motivate and give life-sustaining advice to those that were starting their journey. Smartrac Founder and Managing Director Mohammed Seedat said: “If you don’t recognise that ability within yourself no one else will. Be confident with humility.” Uvolwethu Communications founder and author Mfundo Shozi and Brook Mthembu were also speakers at the Indaba. Mthembu said: “In each opportunity there are risks and in each risk, there are opportunities.”
Other break away sessions included From Start Up to Industry Leaders and Circular Economy and Access to Markets, soft skills training and digital skills training.