Anzani Tshifheya, 24, currently studying Human Resource Management at iCollege in Thohoyandou, Limpopo.
2. What drove you to be an activator?
I saw that most people in the ACTIVATE! Network are young, so that first attracted me to join. I also received a pamphlet on the organisation that highlighted what they do. I remember it spoke about the Integrated Development Plan, local government, scholarships and how to be an innovator. It also asked questions about what it means to be a young person in South Africa. This motivated me to know more.
At the time I had been busy with a project I started in my community in 2012, so I was also motivated to find out how it can assist me in that way.
3. How long have you been doing it for?
I joined ACTIVATE! in 2015
5. Tell us about your involvement and the experiences/ results you have had?
I have a project in my village called Riakona Sports Arts and Culture Events that is run by me and my sister. We have various projects with the youth in our village and three of the surrounding areas. We focus on after-school and holiday sessions and offer various initiatives from netball lessons to English tutoring. Our projects are always evolving and depend a lot on the needs of our participants, but our main focus is always to uplift all our participants. In my village there are many senior and junior participants, and it can be challenging managing them, but it has been very rewarding working with all of them, there are roughly 40 participants in each of the villages.
Even though we began only working with high school learners, we realised that many of the juniors from our village needed help with their English homework and we began assisting them too. We found that many of the elders in the community are not used to speaking English so they cannot assist the children with their homework. So that is where our motivation comes from. We want the youth to have more than just a good education, we want them to learn how to be confident about who they are so that they can become leaders in their communities.
Our most recent achievement was meeting the King in Venda. We spoke about our project and he was very interested in the project, we spent almost three hours talking about the work we do and also spoke about hosting a cultural, poetry and sports event on June 16, Youth Day.
4. How has ACTIVATE! supported you so far in driving this change?
At the time of joining ACTIVATE! I would only help youth in November when it was close to exams, joining the organisation made me realise that I needed to do more and help more young people in my village. Since then the project has grown to our surrounding villages and more people are involved both as facilitators and beneficiaries.
I have learned a lot, all the modules inspire me to do more, but the last module where the facilitator speaks about how ACTIVATE! has done their part and that it is now up to us to take it further, I felt inspired during that time, like I have something to more to share and more people to uplift.
There was also a module where we were told about people who fought for South Africa and that even when they felt demotivated they carried on. I often think about them when I feel overwhelmed.
The Washline Methodology has really assisted me whenever I want to facilitate or run an event, it helps me identify what I need to achieve especially with event planning.
Also, the power questions that we were encouraged to ask ourselves allowed me to think further. It left me with many questions for myself, not only in the now but ongoing. It forced me to look at individual, community and country problems, such as What is the future holding for the upcoming generation? Who are the future leaders if there is no education? And ask myself how I can assist to bring change.
6. What are your thoughts on Active Citizenship?
It calls for all us, as a country to interact, to take part in local government. There can’t be a local government alone, there needs to be more done by the young people and for young people. Active Citizenship is not all about complaining but also about community action.
7. Do you think that the voices of the youth are being heard?
No. If I look at our parliament, most of them are above 35 and I feel they do not speak for youth.
For many youth, especially in rural communities, this is not easy. General access to information is limited in rural communities, for example, the closest shop to our village that sells a newspaper is 15km away, to get there you need at least a R30 and for many that is a lot of money. There are many homes with no television, no radio, no internet connection, so there is very limited access to information. Unless you have access to a school or to a point where there is Wifi then you won’t always know what is happening.
8. Do you think that youth is doing enough?
Looking at the youth in my village, I would say no. I am the only one in my community bringing youth together so that we can assist each other. Young people need to shift their mind-set so that we can be recognised. There are so many problems facing rural communities and youth can play a great part in changing realities. Rural communities believe in education, but I believe that there are other areas such leadership that can really make a difference.
9. How accountable do you think municipalities should be for lack of service delivery?
They have to be responsible. On the hand of the government they should employ more people to do surveys so that they can identify problems.
10. Tell us about your contribution to the upcoming episode of Walala Wasala?
I highlighted various issues that affect my community. One of the main challenges we have is a lack of access to water. We have one tap that accommodates 100 people. The tap doesn’t work constantly and sometimes is off for 2 -3 weeks. Last year there was no water and villagers were forced to buy water from people who have boreholes for R2. Unemployment is very high in my village, so for many it is very hard to get that R2 to buy the water so people needed to sacrifice buying certain things to buy water.
We also spoke about the stream that we use if there is no water from the tap. People then use water in the stream to wash themselves and their clothes. But during times when there is no water, the water decreases a lot and becomes contaminated so we can’t use it.
I also highlighted the badly built and unfinished RDP houses.
Access to education was also highlighted, we spoke about there only being one primary school in my village and there is no library. The closest library is 16kms away and that many people in my community, have never been to a library.
11. What was the experience?
It was a good experience; it’s hard to appear on television especially when you need to talk about serious issues but the hope is that by highlighting the issues on TV that more people will become aware of the issues facing rural villages like mine.
12. What topic did you cover?
Access to basic services
13. What were the results?
There has been some change, since the guys came and did the photoshoot, there is regular water flowing from the tap. I think the issue was highlighted to the King after one of his civic members came to our village to find out why they will be filming.
14. If there is anything you could have changed in the experience what would it be and why?
No, I wouldn’t change anything.
15. Why would you encourage youth to be future Activators?
To be an Activator, is a great platform to fight for our country in a formal way, it’s an opportunity for young people to share their concerns and ideas with each other and also been given awareness in how we can communicate with government.
16. How are YOU going to continue contributing towards the activation of change in your community?
I need to get a funder for my project so that a library or sports centre can be built in my village that participants can use. I believe with more libraries and sports centres, young people will exercise their minds; it will help with many things such as prevent teenage sex and curb drug use, as people will get information about getting jobs. Once they get employed they can bring their skills back to the community and the economy will grow.