Empowering young people in South Africa

[Image] Iggy Sathekge of Brand South Africa urges South Africans at the Shape the Future forum to play their part and be active citizens.

[Image] Shape the Future is a Brand South Africa initiative that brings business leaders and young people together, with a focus on youth employment.
(Images: Cadine Pillay)

MEDIA CONTACTS
Leo Makgamathe
  Brand South Africa
  +27 82 557 3483

RELATED ARTICLES
Young people: own your destiny!
Innovative theatre for young minds
Education at the movies
All aboard the Youth Express
‘Don’t underestimate South Africans’

Cadine Pillay

Brand South Africa, in partnership with Junior Chamber International (JCI), hosted the second Shape the Future forum on 13 September to discuss active citizenship amongst South Africans.

Shape the Future is a Brand South Africa initiative that brings business leaders and young people together, with a focus on youth employment. The second forum was held at Microsoft’s head office in Sandton, north of Johannesburg, where JCI hosted a number of officials from the public and private sector.

“Through creative public-private partnerships, the Shape the Future campaign endeavours to help governments achieve their broad scale digital access goals, from education reform to creating a 21st century workforce,” said Sandile Mahlaba of Microsoft.

Knowledge through technology

In their partnership, Brand South Africa and JCI believe the best way to shape the future is through broadening the horizons of young people and helping them so that they in turn will lead the way. This can be done through information technology, by introducing young people to the world of knowledge and connectivity.

Computers help young people solve problems creatively, and to learn on their own. The partners aim to create programmes that will enable young South Africans to learn despite their circumstances.

“At Brand South Africa, we have strived since 1992 to project the South African story to the world,” said Iggy Sathekge of Brand South Africa. “We are committed to our partnerships that will attract and promote investments in South Africa, education and tourism among other sectors.”

South Africa, like many other countries on the continent, has a growing population of young people and according to Brand South Africa, this youthful energy can be harnessed to build the economy. Statistics from South African investment company Stanlib reveals that South Africa has one of the youngest populations in the world at 24.9 years, with the frighteningly high unemployment rate among people aged 18 to 24.

“Brand South Africa is here to make sure that these programmes will be available for young people to experience them, and we encourage South Africans to be active citizens and play their part,” Sathekge said.

Encouraging active citizenship

Brand South Africa and JCI hosted the first Shape the Future forum in Sandton on 12 June 2012. The event was attended by delegates from the government, big business and civil society, who met with young entrepreneurs and students.

It promoted active citizenship and social entrepreneurship as a means of addressing social and economic issues facing young South Africans today.

About 100 entrepreneurs and students were able to engage with business leaders and discuss active participation in the country and economy, building a competitive nation brand, and creating jobs for graduates.

Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola was also there to give the agency’s view on youth development.

Speakers came from a range of organisations with a focus on youth issues, and included Catherine Peter of One Young World, Lucia Motloung of JCI South Africa, and Flavio Bassi from social entrepreneur organisation Ashoka Southern Africa.

The deputy minister in the Presidency for performance monitoring and evaluation, Obed Bapela, said that the youth should understand that there is no menial job as everybody is needed for the country to run accordingly.