On Saturday, the 18th of September 2021, NGOConnectSA hosted a youth development engagement themed “A heritage of success – in youth.” The event attracted unemployed youth from Diepsloot and Riverside. It was hosted at The Canvas, Fourways. The purpose of the engagement was to provide information on opportunities and create a platform for constructive dialogue and networking.
The event started with a session where young people where placed in a room with tables and chairs and encouraged to engage and meet new people. It then went into the lecture hall where the MC, Mr Siqhamo Magadlela opened and welcomed Mr Sbonelo Duma, the Advocacy and
Outreach Manager of NGOConnectSA who’s duty of the day was to welcome everyone. “I believe it is safe for me to say mas’khulume because that is what we are here to do,” said Duma in his welcome note.
Ms Latty Thlaka, Founder and Executive Director of NGOConnectSA delivered the keynote address where she started by acknowledging the NGOConnectSA coordination team, sponsors, speakers and all the attendees who woke up that Saturday to attend the engagement. She also acknowledged her late father, Mr Kenneth Thlaka, who was – till his last breath – a well respected civil society servant. She mentioned that he was her mentor and shaped her life dearly. “The most important thing besides mindset is information. The information you pass down to different people is very important, hence the purpose of today,” Thlaka explained. She also touched on the importance of sustainability, succession and empowering yourself.
After the keynote address the floor was then open to the speakers of the day. Mr Katlego Mabusela, Founder and Network Manager of YourMedia delivered a speech on “Resetting your mindset”. He started with an inclusive exercise while playing background music, spoke with extreme energy and in turn received it from the audience. “Why it is important for us to change our mindset is because for us to get to better we need to be better,” said Mabusela. Mr Sipho Matafeni, coordinator of Diepsloot Youth Programme (DYP) spoke about the state of youth in Diepsloot. Matafeni had everyone clapping after he said, “I would love to say, NGO Connect welcome to Diepsloot.”
Mr Siyabulela Jentile, Founder and President of the well known NotInMyName International spoke about “The Power of a Community.” He elaborated on three points which are what a community gives you – Identity, Longevity and Social Capital. “As you are here, this is a community and you need to use it… we need to utilise and leverage on the power of networks,” Jentile encouraged. He also mentioned, ” You cannot work in silos. You will never achieve anything if you continue to work alone, ask anyone.”
Ms Latty Thlaka stood up again to introduce the next speaker, Mr Ernest Khosa who was unable to attend due to a death in the family. He had recorded a message for the attendees but before it was played, they all stood up and had a 30 second moment of silence for his deceased family member. Mr Ernest Khosa is the chairperson of National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). He spoke on the importance of education and started by sharing his personal experience and journey to education which included hardships he today overcame through determination. “Education stimulates your thinking skills. It humbles one and makes you a better listener and a better team player. It will render you more employable and give you a latitude to see society differently,” Khosa said.
The engagement was very insightful and concluded with a Question and Answer session giving the audience an opportunity to ask our panelists questions. Our panelists included Jentile, Matafeni and Mr Thabo Mathabatha who is one of our sponsors.
The Youth Development Engagement was a first by the newly founded NGOConnectSA but proved to be a need in youth and in township communities. We will continue to support youth in the Diepsloot and Riverside community and will now also extend to other communities.