In a small part of the Municipal Housing Department building in Joza is a vibrant group of people committed to making the lives of young school-going people in Joza more interesting and joyful. Opposite the Post Office, the Joza Youth Hub is a consortium of seven volunteer organisations each dedicated to offering after-school activities to enrich the experiences of school children.
Spearheaded by the Rhodes University Community Engagement (RUCE) office, the organisations are responding creatively to our township children’s need for engaging activities that will enhance both their school and extracurricular experiences. RUCE works in partnership with these organisations to recruit volunteers from Rhodes University to spend meaningful time with Joza’s school children.
The Upstart Youth Development supports young people developing reading, writing and communication skills in both isiXhosa and English, using radio, newsprint, and multimedia, including filmmaking.
The Access Music Project (AMP) has a vision for South Africa’s youth to have equal access to music education, creative industry, cultural heritage and artistic possibilities. AMP teaches a formal programme of practical music, ensembleship, music literacy, music theory, general music knowledge and sound technology that enables access to further music study and career pathways.
The Village Scribe Association (VSA) is a local, non-governmental organisation (NGO) that works with underprivileged public schools to improve computer literacy among students. Through a social eLearning platform called Awarenet, especially designed to meet the schools’ and learners’ needs in Joza, VSA offers skills not readily available to township children.
The Joza Reading Club aims to get primary school children hooked on books from an early age as a meaningful leisure activity. It promotes a culture of reading, writing, story-telling and dramatisation in both isiXhosa and English through individual, peer and group interaction around books. Its motto is MASIFUNDE SONKE!
Joza Chess Club aims to develop a love for and interest in chess as a hobby, develop chess literacy, involve experienced chess players in teaching novice players and develop interesting ways of teaching chess. It believes that chess promotes a respect for the rules of structured games and encourages cognitive and social development.
And finally, the Toy Library, which is a project of the Centre for Social Development at Rhodes University, stocks toys and games for young children in the community to play with and take home. The Toy Library also takes children into the Junior Traffic Centre next door to the Hub to learn about road safety.
On Saturday 18 May, the Joza Youth Hub will open its doors to all of Makhanda’s residents. Come and enjoy a day of family fun and take part in various activities planned by the Hub. There will be live music, competitions, stalls for food and raffle sales for great prizes. There is also R 500 airtime up for grabs. So, come and enjoy yourselves, Makhanda!