What drove you to be an activator?
Immediately when I saw the words INNOVATIVE and CHANGE DRIVER, it made me realise that I must not miss this training. My love for people is my motivation, because I want skills that will help me develop my community and network.
How long have you been doing it for?
I’ve been an Activator since 2013.
Tell us about your involvement and the experiences/ results you have had?
After I attended a session where we spoke about our past, it made me feel like a new person who is ready to face the world. I learned to work in a team and to recognise that people have different skills, and when we work together it makes things easier.
An example of when I used what I have been exposed to at ACTIVATE! was the time when there were violent protests in my community that were preventing children from going to school. I managed to be innovative and used the training I received, to motivate my community to engage with different stakeholders and conduct brainstorming sessions as a way to find resolutions.
The protests lasted close to a month and because of their violent nature community members were too scared to defend themselves for fear of victimisation. Then I used methodologies like the Washline to get community members together.
We convened community meetings and met with various stakeholders including parents, taxi associations, the Department of Education, South African Police Service, traditional leaders (indunas) and the South African Youth Council. It was a very tense time, but I knew the only way forward was through communication. I also knew I needed to let the public know what was happening so I used my network that I made at Activate! and began talking to Karabo Maila, the executive Content Producer for Capricorn FM’s Breakfast Show. The collaboration proved very beneficial to the community as I was allocated time to talk about the problem on air and it brought much needed attention to the issue and accelerated the course to resolution.
What are your thoughts on Active Citizenship?
It’s a gift from God, because there are different plans among us as people. It’s vital to the future growth of our country, we all have hearts that feel, we need to listen to other people’s ideas and make sure you know and understand the cause of problems before they can be tackled. To be an Active Citizen one needs to be a person of the people.
Do you think that the voices of the youth are being heard?
Not always. I feel that youth who have money are listened to. When youth speaks the truth they make sure the doors of work opportunities close on him/her especially when speaking up against government. But I believe that truth is my only security. I think many departments and municipalities are influenced by politics. Once other youth stop being puppets of the government and have the same vision as all youth I believe that we will all be heard.
Do you think that youth is doing enough?
Not at all, I believe that the youth are too easily influenced. We still have a long way to go.
How accountable do you think municipalities should be for lack of service delivery?
Municipalities must be accountable for service delivery. They must make sure they deliver, instead of just giving empty promises. As citizens we must make sure we don’t destroy government properties when we are angry and protesting because it hinders progress.
Tell us about your contribution to the upcoming episode of Walala Wasala?
Oh yes, I felt blessed and favoured by God. It made me realise that somewhere, someone saw my hard work and passion in everything I do.
I spoke about how I got different stakeholders to get together to brainstorm during the time of the protest. I expressed the importance of finding your contacts within networks and use it to uplift communities.
I also expressed disappointment in municipalities and when they meet with the public it seems like we only see them when the elections are close. We have found that they do not work well with people. As chairperson of the South African Youth Council in Maruleng municipality, I found that the mayor started to sabotage our programs because he realised that I’m not with him in politics and that all I want is the truth and to uplift my community.
What was the experience?
To be on television is not simple because during shooting I needed patience. There was a time that I was tired but I just told myself that I must be patient until things were done as accurately as possible. I learned to listen to instruction from someone else, and it made it even clearer to me that listening is a very strong weapon that people can use. My experience is to listen to understand not to respond.
What topic did you cover?
How to communicate with local government.
Topics I touched during the interview include:
- Causes of protests
- Municipalities not communicating well with communities
- Encouraging people to vote
- Importance of voting
- What I’m passionate about
What were the results?
I believe changing people’s mindsets, because if we all learn to use our minds to think instead of just following other people’s instruction we can work together and achieve more.
Why would you encourage youth to be future Activators?
I will encourage youth in South Africa to be activators because the training will assist them in standing up for themselves.
After being activators they will be activated and able to face all challenges of the world and they will be better prepared to handle any disappointments and negative things in their life. One of the best motivations is that they will be able to network with each other as young Africans.
How are YOU going to continue contributing towards the activation of change in your community?
I will contribute to my community by attending community meetings; engage in sports activities, visit career exhibitions at schools and motivate them – while getting motivated by the youth. I will continue giving Life Orientation lessons at Drop Centres in my community and will always be open and polite to people so that they will feel free to speak with me especially the youth. “DREAM BIG, BUT TAKE BABY STEPS”
Motsatsi Mmola is 28 year old, currently unemployed Activator who has previously worked at the Expanded Public Works Program.