#ActivateImbizo: Action Begins With Our Voices

Activators in Free State province will be hosting an ACTIVATE! Youth Imbizo at the University of the Free State on Friday, 22 April under the theme, “Enhancing civic engagement and social participation among South African youth”.

The Imbizo forms part of ACTIVATE! Change Drivers’ mission to create dialogue platforms on youth related issues between young people and relevant stakeholders. It is a third in a series of Imbizos convened nationally to explore youth participation and views on national discourses particularly on issues of policy and civic processes that directly affect them. The imbizo will bring together a number of Activators and activists on civic engagement from all regions of the Free State.

 Nowadays, the youth today is commonly described as unmotivated and violent. This could be due to the methods that young people opt for as means of making their voices heard. Such spaces as the Imbizo aim at challenging the narrative that exists about young people.  For that reason this platform will seek to explore how the youth can collaborate with government, the private sector and civic society to innovatively and peacefully contribute towards their own development.

Activators in the province feel that it is neccessary to host multiple forums of this nature in order to find permanent solutions to protests. Activator, Tlotlisang Moeketsi said: “Since the introduction of democracy in South Africa, one of the remedies for socials injustices has been an engagement with the larger society in determining and paving a way forward.  Majority of citizens, the youth, is the most affected by social ills such as prostitution, crime and illiteracy. Young people are also the ones who are better able to confront the status quo. Civic engagement gatherings allows for them to express their opinions, to debate them and collaborate on ideas of what needs to be done”

Four inter-active panel members from loveLife, ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, Black Management Forum, Independent Electoral Commission will discuss innovative ways in which youth can engage in civic and social space.  loveLife in Free State has had dialogues with ACTIVATE! Change Drivers before where they showed unmatched commitment to civic engagement.

loveLife’s Programme Director, Thabiso Mokoena  stated that loveLife is excited to be involved in this Imbizo.. “To us civic engagement is ensuring that we partner with the general community in all our development or empowerment activities. We believe in an open platform of engagement when it comes to advancing the interests of our youth as their participation in our programmes is the main form of our interaction. Initiatives such as the ACTIVATE! Youth Imbizo positively influence young people to actively participates in resolving issues that affect their communities, “ he said.

Through this Imbizo, the aim is to attain affirmation from young people that they understand their role in shaping their own future and their commitment to using their capabilities to tackle issues that hinder their progress.

The business sphere also made an input towards this much anticipated Imbizo. Ayanda Madolo of Business Management Forum said the Imbizo is one of the collaborative strategies that they can utilise into the Transformation Master Plan, which is their strategy to put young people at the centre of transformation. “We are grateful to be a part of this initiatiave and we want to use it as a platform to ensure that the youth to recognises us as a link to life changing opportunities.

The Imbizo is expected to provide an outline of the current state of youth in South Africa, focussing primarily on their civic engagement and social participation. The session will be as interactive as possible to encourage maximum participation of all attendants, thereby enabling environment for teaching and learning.

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