IKasi is said to have lazy youth, but I think the lack of job creation has more to do with it. Young people have shown time and time again that they aren’t lazy; they just need resources, role models and opportunities to lift themselves. This is something youth development activist, Mboneleli ‘Mbo’ Gqirana, can attest to.
Mboneleli is the founder of Ikhaya Elitsha Youth Hub. In his words: “The hub connects youth – who aren’t in employment, education and/or training – to opportunities.” The Youth Hub was founded in 2020, and its name is a play on the name of the township it is based in, Khayelitsha – a new home.
Mbo, founded the youth hub with the understanding that it is not only lack of opportunity but lack of funds that leads to unemployment and/ or the inability to access training. “ In the hood, people don’t get these opportunities and information because information is expensive; you pay for information. It may not be a direct transaction, but data and transportation are how you pay – and people don’t have money.”
Since its inception, the youth at the hub have distributed food parcels, and a candidate has been placed in a learnership. From the 24th of June to the 7th of July 2022, they will run a winter school programme that will hire, train, and give experience to seven young people.
Mbo gave up his house in site C to operate as the office of the hub. “This is not a decision I regret; as hard as things get sometimes, the rewards outweigh the hardships. I gave up my house so that this can be a space that young people have control over and that no one else has a stake in and can take away from them. Government community halls are expensive – we pay R250 per hour to use that space; we don’t have that kind of money. This is our space, and we can use it for our betterment.”
The hub is a youth-controlled space that has benefited the community by offering them working space and access to the internet. Though it is a youth-focussed space, they decided to boycott youth month celebrations. “Whenever June comes around, the government – whether local or national – they do these celebration events. The South African government has gotten into the habit of thinking events, and not programmes that are sustainable for the benefit of youth. Events are very expensive and take money that could fund a lot of initiatives. These events mess with our minds and fool us into thinking that everything is okay and when it’s gone, we’re back to square one.”
IKasi is the school of hard knocks; some graduate to be hoodlums and others graduate to be the mentors and role models they wish they had. Majita we all need to toughen up in the face of adversity and try to do what we can with what we have.
Stay winning Kings!
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