By Paul Mabote
The South African National Youth Policy (NYP 2015-2020) is a reviewed expansion of its predecessor, the (NYP 2009-2014). It is an outline of the objectives regarding youth development which the national government seeks to accomplish, and the channels in which it intends to accomplish those objectives. On the 20th of November 2019, a focus group of 17 young people, mostly Activators, convened at the ACTIVATE offices in Braamfontein to review and comment on the NYP 2015- 2020 document.
The session was one of several organized nationally by ACTIVATE, the contents of which will be consolidated and sent through to the National Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) as part of ACTIVATE’s submission. This and all similar submissions made nationally to the DPME will be considered in the formation of the NYP 2021-2026 document.
The Good Ol’ Moves
The gathering in Braamfontein was co-facilitated by ACTIVATE’s Kgotso Sothoane, who started things off by asking the participants to each consider one policy which in their view, had a big and important impact on how South Africa is today. Mnothowandile Cele mentioned in some detail the South African Land Reform policy, which promises to reduce inequality by focusing on three areas: restitution, land tenure reform and land redistribution.
Having familiarized themselves with the National Youth Policy (2015-2020) document, the participants were sent into different break-away sessions where they were asked to formulate responses to the following questions: what is the role of the NYP? What are your views on the implementation of the NYP? What is missing from the current policy proposals? And how best can the NYP be implemented going forward?
The separate groups dove into discussion on different policy proposals, including (1) Economic participation and transformation, (2) Education, skills and second chances, (3) Health care and combating substance abuse, (4) Nation-building and social cohesion as well as (5) Effective and responsive youth development institutions.
Following the break-away sessions, the groups reunited and presented their respective stand-points. One group, speaking on Education, skills and second chances, suggested that the government considers having a digital application developed that will allow for matric re-writing to be done electronically. They said that the intervention would decrease the tedious process associated with examination re-writing. The group said that the application would be structurally and functionally similar to the systems used by distance education institutions.
Another group, speaking on Health care and combating substance abuse, called for the regulation of sugar products entering the general consumer market. They highlighted the correlation between the influxes of such products and the rise in chronic ailments among the population such as diabetes and physical disorders such as obesity.
2014 Activator Thabo Kadikadi commented on Nation-building and social cohesion: “ It is not of our doing as citizens that we have become worker bees, people are not here to work, we are here to live. The face of social cohesion is essentially non-existent, because we only ever see it when it is election time, when we see political posters encouraging us to vote. After that, we do not see it anymore. That is not practical.”
Activator Queen Vilapi and her group called for the incorporation of arts development in the learning curriculum in schools.
The collective views and comments of the focus group were recorded in writing and the session ended with the young people exchanging thoughts and perspectives on the National Youth Policy over lunch.
The National Youth Policy 2015-2020 document can be downloaded from
Paul Mabote is a member of the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers Network.