Site C youth urged to be agents of change

Assistant probation officer at the Department of Social Development, Makhaya Jezile, appealed to young people to make wise life choices

Words of wisdom and encouragement reverberated through the walls of Solomom Tshuku Hall in Khayelitsha when the Department of Social Development, in partnership with different stakeholders, commemorated Youth Day a day earlier, on Friday June 15.

Police officers from Khayelitsha police station, Iliso Care Society, South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA) and the provincial Department of Community Safety were among those who attend the event.

Young people were urged to strive for success and be a beacon of hope for the future generations.

Assistant probation officer at Social Development, Makhaya Jezile, said it was a sad reality that in the area of Site C there were dozens of banners bearing adverts for alcohol instead of ones to show young people how to start businesses and further their studies.

He said the majority of young people these days were found in taverns and few were participating in meaningful community activities. He said Site C’s bad reputation as a crime hot spot needed to change. He said he understands that there were limited opportunities but that should never cause young people to commit crime.

Mr Jezile said young people were getting pregnant at a young age and deserted their children. He said young people should write their own history and start striving for success.

He said it was critical that as young people they reflect on the history of June 16 and draw inspiration from the student uprisings against apartheid.

He said young people whining and blaming the government for not providing adequate opportunities was a lame excuse. But he suggested that they should use the opportunities at their disposal to create more opportunities for others. He also made a desperate appeal and said it was crucial that local businesses start ploughing back into youth-oriented programmes and businesses.

“As young people we should stand up and say no to drugs and alcohol. This is the time where young people should rise up. Young people should take collective responsibility for the fact that drugs have ruined them and they must do something about it,” he said. Ward councillor Mlulami Vellem said such celebrations provided young people with an opportunity to engage freely about their issues while honouring thes heroic actions of the youth of 1976. He said it was critical that they hosted such motivational events so that they could encourage young people and again warn them about the dangers of crime and drugs.

Representative of SANCA, Mnoneleli Dlangalavu, said they were providing help to young people who are hooked on drugs. He said there were three types of drug users: occasionally, regular and dependent drug users.

Resident Siphamandla Ndikandika said it was important that as young people they have such events so that they face head-on some of the issues facing them. He said as the youth of Khayelitsha they had been swallowed by drugs and alcohol, not forgetting crime. But he said local businesses should start investing into youth programmes.