Where to now for the youth who led South Sudan’s struggle?

The youth of South Sudan played a major role in the independence struggle, bringing new technology and modern ideas to rally support for succession. Yet these same young people now face huge difficulties that are obstructing their participation in constructing their new country – lack of education and job opportunities among them. Maddy Halyard, an intern with Idasa’s States in Transition Observatory, warns this could threaten peaceful and sustainable development. Read more here.

Football as an agent of change

World cup fever is all over South Africa – and the world – at the moment.  When it all comes to an end, what will be left? A group of people and organisations are working hard to ensure that some of the excitement of 2010 is transformed into a sustainable commitment to social development. Idasa is in partnership to make an impact at grassroots level, forming local communities for young people, celebrating diversity and learning about football, computer literacy and lifeskills.

See more about what’s actually happening in this project here – http://www.youthzones.co.za/

The programme presently operates in 11 disadvantaged areas, one in each South African province and one site in both Zimbabwe and Mozambique. These pilot sites include: Phuthaditjhaba, Upington, Evaton North, Somerset West, Mogwase, Umzimkhulu, Mutare, Manica, Somerset East, Siyabuswa and Jane Furse.

Through the involvement of thousands of South Africans, rich, poor, black or white in the Youth Zone Network, this project shows that shared humanity, mutual learning and care can indeed deliver the diversity and hope of a rainbow nation.

See the full article here.

This is a collaborative initiative involving FSSA, the 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa Organising Committee (LOC), the Embassy of the Netherlands and Idasa.

Just the beginning

By Shingai Maphosa

When I found out that I had been selected for the FK Fellowship I was both excited and nervous, mainly because I had never been to any country in West Africa or done much travelling. I was not sure of a lot of things but I was sure I wanted to do it and that I would make this a worthwhile experience come what may. My family asked difficult questions to make sure I knew what I was doing while some were worried and not reluctant to tell me how they felt. In the end I had their blessings and soon advice and information about Ghana was coming from all over. My preparation for Ghana was now underway but first there was a preparatory course in Cape Town.
Cape Town was an opportunity to explore Ethiopia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Tanzania, Uganda and even Norway. It’s a fact when people from different countries meet and get to know each other, it gives rise to knowledge, understanding and empathy… and the world does get smaller. Continue reading

Learning from conversations

By Theophilous Chiviru

Many people believe in learning from their mistakes and previous encounters with situations and events. Some people believe that this is why people make mistakes so that they learn about life, about human resilience, about human frailty. And you can see them sometimes, searching for that lesson; they ask probing questions, they try to make connections.

But I have learnt through the Fredskorpset (FK) initiative that there is more exposure in listening and conversation. The FK exchange programme and preparation course stimulates a learning process for individuals, not from themselves and their experiences, but from those of others. The interaction of minds of conflicting backgrounds transfers information, creating a mind that is open-minded and receptive to other people’s viewpoints.

Though it is true that age and the accumulation of experiences accompanies vast knowledge, better understanding of life and its aspects, I have learned through the FK programme that young people too have many things they can teach each other, such as about new environments, the fast-moving world and its changing traditions and cultures. Continue reading

What does 1976 mean to a young whitey?

By Yvette Geyer: We need to see how 1976 liberated the white community … Every year when we celebrate Youth Day it seems the focus is on the liberation of the majority. Every year I reflect on how 1976 liberated me – a young white middle class South African woman. Without 1976 I would never have known what the experience for black South Africans really was. Without 1976 my freedom and democracy would not have happened. Continue reading