By ESTHER RAMANI, Joza Youth Hub Open Day coordinator
The dreams of youth are long, long dreams.
But, some young people must navigate so many obstacles even to get a glimmer of their dreams. That is why the Joza Youth Hub came into being: to provide an enhanced academic and extracurricular life to children in Joza and its surrounds.
We offer after-school programmes from an inadequate building attached to the Makana Municipality’s Housing Department. We battle with all the issues confronting a volunteer, non-profit organisation: lack of a conducive space, dearth of resources, precarious funding, and very few human beings who can commit to an uninterrupted and reliable source of care and presence.
So, it was no easy undertaking for us to organise an event such as our annual Open Day, which we held this year on Saturday, May 14. Our last one was in April 2019, and with the advent of Covid, businesses in Makhanda have taken a hard knock, and we could not receive the kinds of support we have had in the past. Still, we had a fabulous day, with a record turnout of people who created an electric vibe with the help of music and dancing by the young ones.
Several competitions drew out the enthusiasm of our young people: reading and spelling in English and isiXhosa (organised by the Reading club), computer literacy (planned by Awarenet) and simultaneous chess (Chess Club).
The Toy Library organised exciting activities for the little ones, such as Lego brick building, puzzles, face painting, and colouring. Books were sold at R1 each, and parents were eager to buy books for their children.
The open mic attracted singers and poets, who regaled the audience with their creative pieces. Two traffic police officers ran an informal workshop on road safety for the youngest participants in the Junior Traffic Centre.
The karate demonstration was a huge treat for the audience, performed for the first time at the Hub. And a staple at our Open Day has always been brilliant performances by the Access Music Project.
All these activities were coordinated with lively commentary and interactions by our two emcees, Zukhanye Nyeka and Thanduxolo Royi.
But let these pictures tell the story!
The volunteers at the Hub drove the planning of Open Day with much energy and enthusiasm, and every one of them deserves thanks for their contribution!
A big shout out to our ward councillor Rami Xonxa and the seven members of the ward committee who graced the occasion. Many sincere thanks to people who made cash donations, notably Monika Gaybba and Orrin Snelgar, and donations in kind from Mahalia Martin, the Oppidan students, Country Fresh and Suzi-Q.
Cathy Gush and Nadeema Jogee made book donations to the Reading Club. The raffle table was a huge attraction, and for this, we thank Panda’s, Wimpy, Red Café, Revelations and the Pothole and Donkey. The winners walked away with fantastic meal vouchers. Andrew Martin of Amazwi donated chess sets as prizes for the top girl and boy players.