DDP Partner Liaison and Development officer with the Youth Indaba panelist and program director, from left; Portia Nyambose; Kuhlekonke Watu Ntuli; Phakamile Mazibuko; Thobani Zikalala; Buhlebuyeza Motseme and Molaodi Wa Sekake
On 15 June 2022, the Democracy Development Program was proud to host its 6th Youth Indaba. Youth Indaba is an annual gathering of young people from all walks of life, their friends and partner organizations. The conference features interdisciplinary sessions, skills-building workshops and interactive discussion groups with leading speakers from around the country. The desire of the event is to develop and nurture a cadre of young people who possess a sense of identity based on common values, a shared history and culture. Furthermore, the event seeks to promote the development of young people to take charge of their future as active citizens and play a significant role in promoting democratic values in their own communities.
The theme for this year’s event was Repositioning youth political participation in advancing socioeconomic challenges in SA: Challenges and Possibilities. Young people in South Africa, as it is proven through historical evidence, have significantly contributed to achieving democracy in the country. This was through political activism through joining liberation movements, participating and being part of student formations, getting involved with combating social ills etc. However, young people have deemed this democracy as unfriendly to the youth, which has discouraged many young people from participating in democratic processes. This is due to poor youth representation in political formations, governance, strategic positions within municipalities and government institutions, private sector, civil society etc. Their attempts to rectifying this have numerously failed due to political interference and manipulation, which has led to the current concerning position of young people in South Africa.
The Democracy Development Program over the years have been advancing democracy, mobilizing, educating, and activating citizens to become champions of democracy through citizens engagement and public participation in the country especially in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal. The organization for the past six years through their youth project has been leading shifts that make way for youth development, advocating and equipping young people with necessary skills to promote growth and develop their capacity to take charge of the social, political, and economic affairs of the country.
Following the previous youth conference which was themed Amplifying youth potential: promoting youth civic and political engagement, DDP will be convened the 6th Annual Youth Indaba again this year. This conference converged on repositioning youth political activism, with a special focus on developing strategies that can be used to strengthen the visibility of young people in positions of power local, provincial, and national structures. It will also saw the discussion of strategies that can be used to advance the socioeconomic development agenda, considering the countries triple threat challenges (poverty, inequality, and unemployment) and how these are badly affecting youth development.
Core questions which we asked at the conference included:
a) How can young people be involved meaningfully in the socioeconomic development of SA in the post covid era?
b) What needs to shift in different societal areas (policy, skills development, political education etc) so that young people can access socio-economic development opportunities for their own growth?
c) Which participation channels can be implemented to promote youth civic and political engagement?
d) What approach do we need to prioritize building a socially and economically inclusive society, in which people are active champions of their own development, supported by an enabling environment?
DDP extends its gratitude to our speakers and facilitators that aided in this crucial conversation. Our speakers included, keynote speaker Molaodi Wa Sekake and our guest speakers were Portia Nyambose and Thobani Zikalala. Their expertise and insight was truly appreciated. We also thank our remote venues’ facilitators: Sir Nkosikhona Mpungose, Msizi Khumalo and Melusi Mahlaba. Lastly we would like to thank our audience, whether they attended at physically or remotely – this type of event would be purposeless without your engagement and willingness to contribute to important issues and solutions that affect the youth. We cannot wait to host you again at our 7th Annual Youth Indaba!