South Africa

Maverick Citizen: Youth activism

Ahmed Kathrada’s dream: Inspiring active citizenship in young people

Kathrada with young people. (Photo: Ahmed Kathrada Foundation )

Like many civil society organisations, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation faces financial challenges. One of its worthy programmes aims to catalyse youth leadership in poor communities through a network of 100 youth clubs. Maverick Citizen is publishing a series of articles by young people and for young people. Their appeal is: ‘Help us take forward the legacy of Ahmed Kathrada, by preserving his values and principles through the youth of South Africa.’

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has embarked on an initiative to grow our youth work by creating youth clubs across the country. These clubs will develop youth activists by promoting and preserving the values and principles of Ahmed Kathrada.

Eight youth clubs have been piloted in and around the Finetown, Eldorado Park, Lawley/Ennerdale, Lehae, Lenasia, Lenasia South, Orange Farm and Thembelihle communities.

Throughout this year the youth clubs have initiated campaigns to address challenges and issues within their localities, while at the same time strengthening their capacity as young activists in the communities they serve. 

Projects have included:

  • An initiative to collect and distribute sanitary pads;
  • A clean-up campaign of the Lenasia Post Office, which had been neglected and in a poor state;
  • Highlighting the rise of gender-based violence and femicide. Here, young people from the Lenasia and Finetown communities hosted protests as well as community marches calling for urgent action; and
  • Sports tournaments, discussions and screenings of historical documentaries.

The programme aims to build further capacity through training workshops, dialogues and activities.

Young members of Kathrada Youth Clubs are provided with a platform to engage with thought leaders in different sectors of society. They are encouraged to establish club structures and the programme also focuses on instilling moral and ethical leadership. Young people are able to draw links between the struggles of the past and those faced by youth today.

We appeal to the public to help us train more young people to take forward the legacy and values of Kathrada and leaders of his generation. Your contributions will help with:

  • The formation of community youth clubs, with a goal of 100 clubs by 2029 — to mark 100 years of anti-apartheid veteran Kathrada;
  • Ensuring resources such as educational material to facilitators are covered;
  • Developing an appreciation for South Africa’s liberation struggle history through practical tasks and programmes;
  • Encouraging participants to emulate the leadership lessons of Kathrada and Nelson Mandela while developing solutions to their own struggles today; and
  • Leadership training, activism and participating in anti-racism and social cohesion campaigns.

Should you wish to support the Kathrada Youth Clubs please visit the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation website. DM/MC

Delani Majola is communications officer at the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.


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