5 Minutes With Siphelele

What’s your passion?

Youth development and helping young people live into their full potential. I think every young person has so much within themselves and I want to assist them in finding themselves again.

What change are you keen to drive?

The change I am driving is focused on personal development; I believe that once a person is developed internally that everything else will follow. Youth often struggle to find their true potential because of external challenges that they are facing, such as poverty and unemployment. The youth are so weighed down by everything that happens around them, that who they are becomes secondary.

How are you driving change?

I am part CEO of a non-profit organisation, Educo Africa, my responsibilities include fundraising and facilitating interventions. We believe that the wilderness is the greatest teacher in assisting people to find themselves and take participants on trips to connect with themselves. We include solo nights in the programme that sees participants spend a night in the wilderness on their own.

Having gone through the programme myself 11 years ago, I benefitted immensely from the experience and have motivated youth to take part ever since.  

The organisation also has the Making Local Government Work programme. Currently in its pilot stage, the intervention’s main aim is to encourage youth to get to know more about their local government. Understanding the importance of building relationships with local councillors and knowing who they need to contact to deal with various challenges in their community. We also want to break misconceptions that you need to be affiliated with a certain political party to be involved with local government.

The programme’s workshops are held in partnership with the IEC and Activate! and are held in Kraaifontein, Langa, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and Hanover Park, these areas were chosen  because they were political hot spots in the last two years.

The vision is that young people influence and inform young people through the ideal of peer education.

You were interviewed under the topic, What is local government on SABC 1’s education programme Walala Wasala. Why do you think you were chosen for this specific show? And what was highlighted on the programme?

The show reinstated the importance of education in South Africa and highlighted that youth require navigation in knowing their local government.  

We discussed the work we do at Educo Africa through our Making Local Government Work programme. Highlighting the vision of the programme, we also raised how we are interacting with youth groups and the topics that are being discussed. For example, what is The Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP),  how does it affect youth and how do young people get their voices heard in local government.

How would you describe the experience and the importance?

What I enjoyed most is the exposure the show gave the programme and how it empowers youth.

How has ACTIVATE! supported you so far in driving this change?

Through Activate! I feel supported, being introduced to a network of young like-minded individuals and having opportunities to work with them has been amazing.

I have also used many of the methodologies and trainings I have learned, such as Developing Others While Developing Self and Practicing Democracy. These are methodologies that I have also adapted in the Making Local Government Work programme.

Another example is the U Theory, it entails how one deals with a challenge. There have been times that I have been faced with a challenge and I have used the theory of going outside the problem. Then looking at how others are dealing with their challenges and developed a prototype on what I see or experience.

How do you motivate yourself?

My biggest motivation is not allowing frustration to turn into negativity.

Final comment?

My vision for South Africa’s youth is that we as young people, stop putting boundaries around ourselves. We allow South Africa to box us. We need to challenge the norms and create our future now. That’s what I always do. Live my legacy now.

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