Gugulethu youth have a safe place to grow

PHIRI CAWE

As part of the drive to boost youth employment and woo young people away from social ills, the Western Cape government joined the Oliver Kahn Foundation and its partner, Amandla EduFootball, to launch the Oliver Kahn Safe-Hub to benefit youths from Manenberg and Gugulthu.

Named after the retired German footballer, Oliver Kahn, the state-of-the-art facility – and the programmes it offers – will benefit at least 2 500 young people from Gugulethu and Manenberg.

Launched in Guguethu on Tuesday May 17, the Safe-Hub forms part of the greater Youth Lifestyle Campus development in the area, and is located opposite the Nyanga Junction train station.

The hub will include a new soccer pitch and training academy, life-skills programmes, academic tutoring, and work readiness training.

Founder and joint managing director of Amandla EducFootball, Zech Florian, said the aim was to reduce crime, assist youth in education and boost employment chances for young people.

He said that when they had first come up with the idea back in 2003 in Khayelitsha, it dawned on him that there was a need to help young people escape the intergenerational cycle of poverty and unemployment.

“We aimed to reduce youths’ exposure to violence and crime, use of substances and improve education results. And we have managed to do that in Khayelitsha. We have noticed that the Safe-Hub is a good model to unite people and reduce social ills. In this hub we are aiming to have 3 000 youngsters a week,” he said.

He said youth will have full access to internet facilities in an on-site youth café, run by the Social Development Department. The hub will be hosted on the grounds of Intshukumo Secondary School, as part of its after-school programme.

The Western Cape government is partnering with the City of Cape Town, Amandla EduFootball, the Oliver Kahn Foundation and other stakeholders to operate the Safe-Hub.

The premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, who was joined by her MECs for Community Safety, Dan Plato; Social Development, Albert Fritz, and Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais, hailed the hub as the good model to tackle social ills.

Ms Zille said the after-schools programmes are a game changer for the government.

“Our aim is to have 112 000 pupils from no-fee schools accessing quality after-school programmes, in safe spaces, by 2019. We want young people to have safe, after-school spaces for learning and personal development. This is especially important in crime-affected communities where there are many negative influences on the streets.

“The Youth Lifestyle Campus development is about access to opportunity for thousands of young people in the surrounding communities,” said Ms Zille.

She thanked the various partners for their role in seeing the Nyanga Junction project to completion. She said things could only be achieved if people worked together. “This is the first of many big developments to come for this community. Young people in Gugulethu and Manenberg are encouraged to make use of these facilities as best as possible,” she said.

A graduate from the Khayelitsha hub, Nosipho Makana, encouraged young people to use the place to their advantage. “Safe-Hub has transformed me. As a young girl growing up in Khayelitsha, I thought rape and murder were the norm – until I joined the hub. I learned that I can play a role in changing the situation we were living in. It helped me change my mindset and I am now a passionate and strong person,” she said.

The facilities at the newly launched Safe-Hub include, a FIFA standard astro turf pitch, a youth café, psychosocial support centre and space for small businesses, where start-ups and young entrepreneurs can grow their enterprises.