A youth organization in the Langeberg region, Western Cape, launched a workshop to teach the youth more about how to do things for themselves, by presenting a woodworking session. In an informal settlement in Droëheuwel, Robertson, about 50 young people gathered to build benches, chairs and tables. The organizer, Denia Jansen, an activist from Mawubuye Land Rights Forum, addressed the youth about the many problems they faced, as well as positive ways in which the youth can be involved.

“It is not just necessary to sit on the street corners all day and wait for work or look for work. You can be your own boss if you just try to get a positive step in that direction. The workshop is already here to inspire our youth more to be able to do things for themselves. We plan to hold a Youth Indaba Day during which the youth can sell their various items that they have made,” Jansen explains.

One of the youth who attended the workshop, Ashwin Jeneke, in turn also addressed the youth and encouraged them not to give up on their future. “It is exactly 46 years since the great uprising in Soweto where the youth came together and stood together as one against the then government that did not see our rights. Our youth are still experiencing the struggle for basic education, as we saw with the Fees Must Fall campaign, the youth is still struggling with funding for tertiary education,” says Jeneke.

Jeneke further explains, “We do not even get proper jobs, even if you have matric or a qualification behind your name. My heart aches so much when I see our youth, with matric, working on the farms. We are going backwards and must struggle to get to something ourselves. I’m so grateful that CWAASU and Inyanda National Land Rights Movement were able to offer a workshop like this for the youth, so that we can do more things for ourselves and involve the youth”. The youth also had fun activities such as playing games against like tug of war, bag jumps, spoon and egg races as well as dancing.

The day afterwards, on the 17th June, Mawubuye Land Rights Forum and CSAAWU united the youth in the informal settlement Panorama in Robertson, where a sports day was held in honour of Youth Month. The youth played cricket, netball and indigenous games. A dance group from Montague and local youth from Zolani in Ashton had the youth on their feet with their dance moves and outfits. A local rapper ‘OB’ also performed for the youth.

The vision was to build a strong bond with the youth and organisations such as Mawubuye Land Rights Forum, Inyanda National Land Movement and CSAAWU. The youth must build hope in times like these, develop problem-solving skills and look to alternative ideological frameworks for a way forward.

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