Youth in Democracy and Politics


Domestic and global challenges facing young people require multidisciplinary approaches if they will be addressed satisfactorily. These challenges include unemployment, poverty inequality, HIV/AIDS and hunger to mention a few. Due to their scale, these challenges continue to disempower young people in a variety of ways. One of the ways these challenges are disempowering them is by entrenching a sense of despair about their future. As such, by nature, young people become despondent about their future where no hope is insight. Consequently, they become inactive in their communities to an extent that they abdicate their democratic rights, which if enforced, would grant them a future full of possibilities. This is the motivation underpinning DDP’s youth programmes. At the its heart is a desire to develop and nurture a cadre of young people who possess a sense of identity based on common values, a shared history and culture, who can take charge of their future as active citizens and play a significant role in promoting democratic values in their own communities[1]. This broad-based and multi-faceted programme works with young people from all backgrounds, race, religion, gender as well as across ages of between 20 -35 years comprising of out-of-school youths including youths in tertiary institutions.


The DDP is an equal opportunity, affirmative action entity. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, gender, national origin, religion, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation or status. The constitutional principles of the Republic of South Africa serve as a guide for its conduct. An in-house code of conduct governs the relationship within the organization and among its constituent partners.


To mobilize, educate and activate young people equipped in co-creating a new South Africa as active citizen.


  1. To equip young people with tools and knowledge on active citizenship and democracy;
  2. To give young people an opportunity to interact and participate in co-creating a new South-Africa through transformational dialogues;
  3. To develop sustainable, long-term partnerships between youth and their communities.


Although the programme offerings are being implemented primarily in KwaZulu Natal, the scope is not limited to the province. Other provinces where the organization has partners such as Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Western Cape are potential sites for various programme offerings.


a) Transformational dialogues approach.

  1. b) Capacity building initiatives – training, seminars and workshops;
  2. c) Networking Initiatives – Annual Youth Indaba;


  1. a) Training on active citizenship, human rights, politics, civic education, voter education and democracy;
  2. b) Dialogues with youth in communities and institutions of higher learning;
  3. c) Youth conference/summit;
  4. d) Youth Network Linking and Learning;

a) Capacity building on active citizenship, human rights, politics, civic education, voter education and democracy;

This part of the program aims primarily to transfer the knowledge on different models of democracy, democratic values, the basic postulates of active citizenship and democratic political culture, human rights, nationalism, identity, and youth activism. Some of the components of this part of the program include developing self-leadership, enhancing community activism, active citizenship as well as community-mobilizing skills to mention a few.

b) Transformational Dialogues

Dialogues are powerful tools that influence peoples’ behaviour and perspectives if applied correctly and appreciated by recipients. The effects of dialogues are visible as they motivate people to act differently once they feel their voice is being heard and are ready to make commitment towards an action. All these happen through a process of change, mostly internal and sometimes external as well. DDP uses transformational dialogues as key methodology to connect communities from diverse backgrounds and settings.

  1. c) Youth Conference/summit

This 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 conference explores a broad range of topics including politics and democracy in South Africa as well as a range of contemporary issues. The conference also offers skills workshops, site visits and networking events.

  1. d) Youth Network

This is network of youth organizations that share a common vision about youth development in South Africa. This network is a platform for connecting like-minded organizations to share their experiences, successes, failures and learnings with a view of exploring possibilities creative ways in which youth challenges can be addressed.


The programme targets young people between the ages of 20 and 35. These are mainly out-of-school youth as well as college/university students.


  1. Youth dialogues/forums/roundtables
  2. Capacity building workshops;
  3. Youth conference/indaba;
  4. Network learning and linking reflection sessions;
  5. A database of youth networks across KwaZulu Natal and South Africa;


  1. A cadre of responsible young people with a clear sense of citizenship who understand their role in a democracy as active citizens;
  2. Sustainable partnerships with other organizations working in the youth development sector.

[1] In this framework, ‘communities’ mean geographical spaces where young people are found or spend most of their time such as in their homes, estates, schools, universities, work places to mention a few.

June 18, 2023

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UMngeni Youth Mayoral Engagement

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Virtual Youth Panel Discussion

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