Young people at the DDP 5th Annual Youth Indaba hosted at Elangeni Hotel in Durban, 10 June 2021.
By: Yanga Malotana
On 10 June 2021 DDP hosted the 5th Annual Youth Indaba. The event ran under the theme: Amplifying youth potential: promoting youth civic and political engagement. Panelists for the event included: Nkanyiso Simelane, Thembile Ndlovu, Thobani Zikalala, and Vuyo Futshane.
The event is backgrounded by Youth Month which commemorates the victims of the Soweto Uprising of 1976. The youth political participation and social movements led by the students of ’76 have been crucial in the liberation and the birth of a democratic South Africa. 45 years later, the South African youth makes up 35.1% of the population – making it the largest demographic in the country. However, there has been an absence of key government programming aimed at amplifying youth potential towards contributing to the country’s socio-political development. Subsequently, the voices of the youth have been a testament to being not loud enough (or at the very least, have been systemically silenced). Opportunities presented to the youth have been limited whether it be on the policy, electoral or economic front.
The 5th Annual Youth Indaba created a platform for young people to engage in strategies aimed at assisting with promoting youth civic and political engagement in South Africa. The panelists were representatives of young people engaging in these strategies. Each panelist provided their insight on how young people can have ample civic and political engagement in South Africa. The panel provided guests with riveting ideas on the challenges faced by young people in South Africa. These challenges ranged from issues of intergenerational poverty and inequality; lack of social mobility; unemployment; to isolation from the developments of the 4th industrial revolution. Suggestions discussed to curb these challenges included:
a call for comprehensive social security programs for the youth;
the prioritization of youth-centric economic recovery plans and policies;
encouragement of entrepreneurship;
investing in problem-solving skills; having an intersectional approach to dealing with youth issues that eliminate chances of marginalization for the queer young community
advocation for a consciousness amongst the youth that allows them to see their value and importance in South Africa.
These challenges and suggestions were met with riveting comments and questions from the audience. The questions and comments cultivated the event to be stimulating to those at the venue and those watching from home. The event also allowed an opportunity for the guests to have guiding questions in which they could answer for themselves their understandings of youth civic engagement. The audience was asked:
What strategies can be implemented to promote youth civic and political engagement?
To what extent have young people adapted themselves to the highly politically charged society?
How can young people adapt to the evolving global trends to enhance the youth development agenda?
What policy shifts and direction do we need to assist with cultivating a youth-friendly economy towards sustainable growth?
Guests were entertained with the acapella group Abakhethwa, great music, and entertaining hosts. This year’s Youth Indaba was one to remember for DDP and inspiration enough for you not to miss next year’s event!