Youth Summit – stepping into a challenging world

The Cape Winelands District Municipality’s (CWDM’s) Rural and Social Development unit held a Youth Summit in recognition of Youth Day 2024. The event, attended by 150 youth from across the district, was held in Worcester on 19 June.

The summit provided a platform for youth to express some of the challenges they are experiencing. Access to internships, difficulty in getting to job opportunities, information regarding funding and how to access such funding were some of the issues that delegates shared. One of the attendees explained, “I have a degree. I went to school, worked hard and got matric, went to study and graduated. But because I live in a rural area, there is nowhere for me to gain work experience. Even if I were to go and work for free, I would still need to pay rent and living costs, which I cannot afford.” 

The day’s programme commenced with a warm welcome by the Executive Director of Community Development and Planning Services, Mr Pietie Williams, followed by inspirational speakers who have found success despite their initial difficult circumstances. Cllr Minnie Pietersen, Portfolio: Social Development and the Deputy Mayor, Ald Margie Sampson, shared their stories with the audience. To further motivate our youth, Brenwyn Keffers of Old Mutual and Lennox Plaaitjies, CEO of Witzenberg PALS, encouraged the young people. “Don’t let anyone tell you what you cannot achieve,” shared Mr Keffers.

 “There are many business opportunities in agriculture. Food security is one of the major focus areas in the world,” stated Lennox Plaaitjies, whose organisation focuses on business opportunities in agriculture.

The audience engaged in robust question-and-answer sessions, specifically during the panel discussion. The panel consisted of Malvonia Cupido, National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Gershwill Frolicks,  Department of Employment and Labour, Gary Markson, African Bank, Ashley Losch, COGTA and Dr Keith du Plessis of Casidra. The panel answered several questions relating to access to and availability of funding and mentorship opportunities.

“I created my own job,” explained Jeneva Julies of Robertson, who started her own community digital chat show ‘Geselsies met Jeneva’ to showcase the good things ordinary people are doing to improve the lives of their community and its residents. She went on to say, “the challenge for me is to garner advertisers in our area. When I go see them, they just say, ‘sorry, kannie help nie’. It’s very difficult to establish one’s own business,” Jeneva concluded.  

During the smaller breakaway sessions, a number of youths stated that they felt frustrated and disempowered by perceived corruption and lack of support by authorities. “I am a praise singer and have difficulty finding venues where I can practise my craft. I can’t afford to pay for a community hall. Is there a place we can access free of charge to showcase our talents and start building a name for ourselves?”

During the closing, Pietie Williams stated, “The CWDM actively seeks opportunities that can build relationships and partnerships that, through collaboration, will create an environment in which citizens can live with dignity, and in a safe environment where economic growth is sustained and continuous. Today’s summit is an example of such an opportunity. I have heard your frustrations and am so happy that you brought real issues to the table, I will be taking this feedback to role players so that these issues can be highlighted, and suitable solutions be recommended. You can trust me to take these forward and respond to you via your youth organisations.”

Previous Youth Day 2024

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