“To look to the future we should reflect on the past and take action today to create our tomorrow”. – Phumelele Bohlela.
It has been 43 years this year since the June 16 Uprising. There is an inevitable shift noticed from the original June 16 incident to this year’s youth focus. Uniq Magazine took it to themselves to find-out about the transition and what does it mean for the future of the country that is bearing the fruits of 25 years of Democracy. Donsy Kunene had a conversation with one of KZN Entrepreneurs who believe strongly in a social entrepreneurship set up that benefits youth. In her final year as a South African Youth, she shared her observations through the month of June.

Phumelele “Phumi B” Bohlela highlighted the following insights on Youth Leadership and the future: As a township social entrepreneur that is centred on addressing socio-economic ills through education, health and entrepreneurship programs, I was privileged enough to be one of the facilitators at the DDP Youth Indaba which took place over 2 days at the Garden Court Hotel in Durban this Youth month.

My main observation was that the youth of today is just as energised, passionate and hungry for change as the youth of 43 years ago. The only difference is where the uprising was on the education system, today’s is more on a business and entrepreneurship tip.

The Indaba’s 200+ attendees came from various parts of Kwazulu Natal and represented various sectors such as youth skills development, social entrepreneurship, politics, arts and culture, agriculture, education, funeral parlours, construction and fashion. All participants were actively engaged and involved; which are key traits of leadership. They raised valid points and ideas which were documented by DDP for the topics covered over the Youth Indaba were on: Finding my space in the economic development spectrum; Social entrepreneurship and Policy Making process for young people. What excites me is that despite challenges and limited resources, the youth is doing something in other available spaces. They are creative and they are leaders in their own right.

A summary of the key insights from observations are:

There are many ills and challenges in our spaces, the youth do have solutions but feel restricted and encounter too many barriers. They are frustrated about such dialogues happening in hotels as opposed to where the youth they truly need these engagements which their own townships and rural areas we do have future leaders in our communities, young people that are contributing to socio-economic change in our country. They are suppliers to the local spaza shop, they are cleaning takkies with a social purpose of job creation, they are designing and retailing quality garments online, they are shooting videos in the local street corner.  They are responsible hosting community development projects in their townships. They are running crèches in the rural areas. They may not be making media headlines (as yet) but are making a difference where they are. Given the right platform, resources and connection to key stakeholders; they can and will lead our country to a brighter future… just like 43 years ago.