NGO Activate! Change Drivers recently hosted an imbizo in the Free State, focusing on ‘Youth leadership and accountability in the gender-based violence response’.
According to Nkokheli Mankayi, Activate project coordinator: gender, justice and equality, despite the National Youth Policy 2020 recognising the vital role young people play in building South Africa, the youth are disproportionately affected by a lack of representation in policy-making and decision-making regarding gender injustice, socio-economic injustice and gender-based violence in the country.
The imbizo included young people from Activate’s youth network in conversation with youth policy stakeholders in government and gender equality organisations, including Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize, deputy minister in the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities; Dr Tswelopele Manabile, youth advisor to the premier in the Free State; Tebogo Suping, executive director, Activate; Sekoetlane Phamodi, SA country director of Accountability Lab; and Boitumelo Zwane, public education and engagement officer, Commission for Gender Equality.
Building youth capacity
Dialogue centred around the intent to build the capacity of young people to enable them to lead the promotion of gender justice and equality in South Africa and find innovative ways for youth leaders to be more involved in decision-making structures.
“Young people are contributing to the resilience of their communities, proposing innovative solutions, driving social progress and inspiring political change in urban as well as rural contexts. The potential has been seen through their activism and organising related to gender inequality, gender-based violence, and making feminist change possible,” said Mankayi.