Innocentia Sibanda

Bridgetown community members celebrated National Youth Day by hosting a sports event at a local ground on 16 June 2022.

During the day, youth participated in various activities including both netball and soccer games.

MTM Hope Givers Foundation, Avhashoni Projects and Distributors, Mr Baloyi Foundation, Absa and Halfway Toyota sponsored the event.

“I believe we need to teach our youth that this day is all about having the courage to get what you want, just as the youth back then who fought for their freedom,” said MTM Hope Giver Foundation founder and CEO Reinett Makgotla. She further added that they chose to honour this day using sports because “Sports move the youth from the streets where they end up taking drugs and also keep them physically healthy.”

Peace lovers, Rising Stars and MTM Hope Givers Foundation played against each other in a girls’ netball match. In soccer, Halfway Toyota played against Bridgetown legends, Avhashoni Football Club faced Tirong Football Club and MTM Hope Givers Football Club versus Fumani.  

The co-founder of Mr Mlambo and Mr Baloyi foundations Siyabonga Herbert Mlambo said that they are trying to grow further. During an interview with Cosmo City Chronicle, he added that his organization is looking into sponsoring girls as well.

Ekuvukeni Orphanage and Gender-Based Violence chairperson Sandile Gabriel Masuku also reached out to the youth at the event and taught them about the various types of gender-based violence, such as verbal, physical and emotional abuse. The South African Police Service was also present and they encouraged the youth not to hesitate to report instances of gender-based violence.

Avhashoni Projects and Distributors director Ronny Mthetho concluded and told Cosmo City Chronicle that they are also working on sponsoring the best Bridgetown matric learner to university by 2023.

YOCA embraceD youth month celebrations

Glitz and glamour prevailed at the gala dinner that Youth On Call (YOCA) hosted from 6 pm to 9 pm in Cosmo City’s extension 5 on 18 June 2022.

Youth from various areas of Cosmo City attended the event commemorating Youth Day, according to the YOCA director Zanele Shabalala.

YOCA's Zanele Shabalala speaking during the event

Every year on June 16, South Africa celebrates Youth Day to recognise the role that youth played to gain freedom during the apartheid era. This year marks the 46th anniversary of the 16 June 1976 student uprising in Soweto when young people protested the apartheid regime’s imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.

The YOCA event was also meant to encourage the youth to be more involved in entrepreneurship, said Shabalala, who is also the secretary of the organisation. “We are seeking a different way to celebrate youth day,” she said. “It So this was an event to expose young people to entrepreneurship opportunities. It is very important for the young ones to develop business minded attitudes. YOCA is a faith-based youth organisation formed to solve issues affecting the young ones in the community as well as empowering them with skills.”

Shabalala said YOCA strives to help young people according to what they are passionate about. She also challenged young people to celebrate Youth Month responsibly. “Imagine if 80 percent of the young people on in Cosmo City go out and drink alcohol to celebrate the Youth Day. When they get back home, some would have been injured and others would have lost their lives. Change that scenario and imagine 80 percent of the young ones embracing Youth Day by attending youth events and services that can positively impact their lives.”

It is very sad to see local youth dejected and losing their lives during youth month, said YOCA chairperson Dankiso Bofelo. “We are currently running this organisation from our own pockets,” he said. “However, we are striving to take the youth to the right direction. We have lost many youths through drug addiction and violent activities in the community. Crime is now a problem in our communities, and youth need to rise and fight against crime.”

Two young people die in Cosmo City during youth month

A dark cloud hung over Cosmo City youth after two young people were attacked and killed in separate incidents in the month of June. Both of the deceased were graduates.

One youth was shot during an alleged road rage incident on 9 June. The other youth allegedly tried to protect a girl who was being robbed by a group of men on 16 June. He was stabbed.

Community members marching to hand over a memorandum at Cosmo City police station

The untimely death of the two was so hurting, said Ward 100 Youth Forum secretary Sandiile Khanye. “I was totally shattered when I received the news,” he said. “Losing potential leaders of the society is something that you can’t easily accept. We are still grieving and feeling the pain.”

It hits even harder that the incidents took place during the youth month, Khanye said. “These incidents totally seek to undermine the hard work and potential that the young people of this country possess in rebuilding this damaged society. It is so defeating, considering that these incidents happened exactly on the month that we celebrate bravery and selfless leadership.”

Community members during a march against crime also remebered the two young people who lost their lives

In South Africa, June is considered youth month, a time when young people commemorate the role played by South African youth during the apartheid era. “After these tragic incidents in the community during the month when youth expect to be celebrating, this month proved to be a sad one for many.”

“I worked with the two (deceased youth) in the youth forum,” Khanye said. “They attended youth forum meetings. They engaged on how to improve our lives as young people, how to uplift our societies in terms of empowerment. I remember one of them had so much interest in entrepreneurship. They were forerunners of the struggle against economic emancipation for young people in this ward.”   

There has been a sense of fear among the youth surrounding these incidents, and they are demanding more visibility from the police and security.

“The community needs to come together to combat this pandemic of crime in the ward,” Khanye said. “I strongly believe that the perpetrators of such criminal activities are within the community. Therefore, the community needs to work hand in glove with law enforcers so that we do not have such casualties in future.”

Shincheonji Church Helps Clean Cosmo City Secondary School

“It is crucial for students to learn in a clean environment,” said Shincheonji Church representative Patrick Chikaonda during a clean-up campaign held at Cosmo City Secondary on 22 June 2022.

 More than 10 Shincheonji Church volunteers worked alongside students to clean up the school.

“Learning in a clean environment creates a sense of pride and safety amongst the students,” Chikaonda said. “When all these things (cleanliness, a sense of pride, and a feeling of safety) come together, they improve the learning experience of the students. When we invest on such things and get the students involved, they will get a sense that they are very important to us. I think we need to do more of this kind of work to prepare a good environment for the learners.”

During the clean-up campaign, the Shincheonji Church members encouraged students to take care of their environment. Together with the students, the volunteers cleaned the school’s soccer field, basketball court and the school garden.

“We came here to shine the light on the students by cleaning up the school,” said Shincheinji church member Liteboho Pitso. “I think other stakeholders should also do the same to maintain a healthier environment for the learners.”

“It is healthy to be always in a clean environment,” said Grade 9 student Thandile Ndlovu. “The clean-up event taught me a lot about cleanliness. Operating in a dirty environment will make us sick, so it is important to be always in cleaner surroundings.”

She also highlighted the importance of celebrating youth month. “It is our month and as students we should enjoy it.”     

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