By Zamamiya Majola, Mykhanda Media
Makana Local Municipality has hosted the first in a series of planned meetings with young people around establishing a Youth Forum structure. The first meeting organised by Sicelo Gqeke, Youth Coordinator in the Executive Mayor’s Special Programmes Unit, took place at Noluthando Hall on 6 June.
Young people of Wards Two and Nine in attendance were both excited and eager to hear more about the programmes which are intended to ensure sustainable development for the youth of Makana. The Ward Forum for Ward Two, made up of five members, was elected at the meeting while Ward Nine elected two representatives and will elect the remaining three representatives in an upcoming meeting.
Ward Two Councillor, Ramie Xonxa of the ANC, welcomed the youth with a discussion focused on recognising skills development opportunities, such as learnerships. Xonxa highlighted the need for young people to use learnerships as platforms for establishing businesses and, in the process, create work opportunities for themselves.
Gqeke indicated that some of his office’s aims for young people included ensuring economic development opportunities, social cohesion, creating work-readiness programmes, creating job opportunities and assisting the youth with bursaries. The Youth office works closely with the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and plans are afoot to set up a district NYDA office in Makhanda.
Plans are also in place to establish a Youth Development Centre at the old Fire station in Extension Six. The initiative is spearheaded by the Department of Labour and has an approved venue already.
Speaking on the authority that the new Youth Forums will have, Gqeke said they would be a collaboration with Makana Local Municipality to ensure development of the youth in the area.
(Mykhanda Media is a new youth media agency that was set up in May, to involve young people around Makhanda in working in a media house. Some of its projects include ‘Fak’i Shoulder’ which will be documenting the rich history of rugby in Makhanda. ‘Keep It Running’ is another Mykhanda Media project which will be profiling local marathon runners. Mykhanda Media collaborates with youth programmes and high schools to host Career Connect, a career building even that highlights sustainable projects and innovative ways to eradicate unemployment here in Makhanda).