An initiative by Class IV:Khalipa Fellow, Dr Nobs Mwanda, CEO of COPESSA (Community-based Prevention & Empowerment Strategies – SA)
‘And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.’ Anais Nin
When the youth of 1976 took on the education system of the time, I don’t know if they knew the depth of what their sacrifice would mean for future generations, but they knew that they had to do it.
Driven by this ethos, Community-based Prevention and Empowerment Strategies in South Africa(COPESSA) convened a meeting with various youth-engaged stakeholders within Protea Glen, such as the South African Police Service(SAPS) Crime Prevention Youth Desk, South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA), political organisations and young community members. This was where the Protea Glen Youth Imbizos’ was born. The vision for the Imbizos’ is to create a platform for young people through monthly meetings where they will not only be able to debate their challenges, but also craft solutions that can shape the rest of their lives.
The launch event hosted on 29 June 2018 was a collaboration of different minds, talents and experiences. We had 132 young and old members of the community join us and the programme featured motivational speakers Prince Puso Sojane, Thandekile Nkomo and Sthembiso Mashele, residents of the community who are passionate about education and self-development of young people. Stakeholders had an opportunity to speak about the services and opportunities that they offer. Protea Glen Clinic and Mo-Afrika Ithlokomele provided several health checks including those for HIV and Diabetes. The National Youth Development Agency(NYDA), South West Gauteng College and Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) community outreach addressed the various opportunities available for the youth.
The young people did what they did best and entertained us as we danced along. Included was the Acapella singing group, Kasi Rappers, Poetry Trio and a nostalgic Sarafina performance by the Tembisa Youth Group. Our MC’s Ms Gopi Maremela (COPESSA) and Mr Thabo Seaga (Youth Desk) did a fantastic job weaving in the relationships between the topics, challenges and hopes that exists in order for young people to thrive. We were also kept warm with soup sponsored by Base 5 Security and coffee from Ricoffy.
The launch of the Youth Imbizos’ and the conversations that will take place in the months to come are part of the thread to weave a community that is safe and caring for children. These will be supported by monthly dialogues that are hosted at COPESSA, looking to transform the cultural norms that perpetuate gender-based violence and projects that address poverty and hopelessness. We believe in a community where children are thriving because, as a village, we are there to support them.
The time is now for us live out the hopes of those who came and fought before us. May their sacrifices never be forgotten.