By Andile Nxele
The youth of an area known as 7de Laan in EGoli township, East London, has come together to form a youth structure that is aiming at looking at the challenges faced by the youth in their area. The place does not have facilities for them. “There aren’t facilities that can accommodate the youth. There are no libraries, parks or anything to keep the youth’s mind active in our area”, said Sonwabisa Mnontswa, who is the administration officer. Their Forum, consisting of eight officials and additional members, is concerned about a number of issues relating to the welfare of young people there. They have already started the process of setting themselves up as a Non-Profit- Organisation. “We wish we could do something for the youth and don’t wish to solve problems today and still end up with the same problems tomorrow, we want long term solutions” said Wandile Buso. The Forum, through its Chairperson, Simthembile Balekani, invited NTU Newspaper to highlight the issues that are bothering them and also to share their vision and dreams for the unemployed youth in their township.
In 7de Laan, the youth consists of a mixture of unemployed youth as well as school drop outs. They claim that some of them are unable to continue with their education due to problems at home. The majority now find themselves not knowing how they can take their lives forward. Due to these challenges, the youth have now decided to do something about their situation. When they formed the forum, they had already started doing several informal odd jobs like cutting grass, fixing cars, trying to set up hair salons and washing cars for the residents. They admit that all these were done by different individuals and were concerned that these activities were not co-ordinated. Now, as a Forum, their aim is to ensure that they start doing these activities in an organised and properly -managed manner.
The Forum is also concerned about the gender based violence that is on the rise within our communities. As a show of support to victims of GBV, some members of the Forum participated in a march against GBV that took place in East London on the 27 June 2020.
One of their dreams is to see the vandalized Plaza in the township being revived and have it transform into a center that can benefit the youth through the various programmes they are having in their vision. It could also accommodate an Internet Café for the students and the community.
As a forum, they would appreciate any form of support from anyone who can come forward with suggestions or donations that make their dreams come true.