Maverick Citizen

THE ACTIONISTS

Passionate youth activist shepherds Katlehong youngsters towards a brighter, safer future

Passionate youth activist shepherds Katlehong youngsters towards a brighter, safer future
Youth activist Tshweu Mosedi. (Photo: Thom Pierce)

Youth Actionist Tshweu Mosedi’s tireless dedication to improving the lives of young people in Katlehong township is an inspiring example of how one person can make a real difference.

“Passion fatigue” is a phrase that Tshweu uses when he talks about his commitment to youth development in his community. Every so often he has to take some time off, but he always comes back stronger. 

It’s not surprising considering he spends almost all of his waking hours helping the youth of Katlehong township to deal with health issues, both physical and mental, to promote positive self-acceptance and a brighter outlook for the future. 

Tshweu’s motivation comes from his experiences growing up in a township which provides little in the way of support or activities for the youth. This situation has seen the younger members of the community battle with issues relating to purpose, drive and responsibility. 

“As someone who is passionate about young people, I felt the urge to create platforms for other young people and the leader in me came into play where I felt responsible. If nothing is happening and no one is doing anything then I should be the one who is responsible for creating opportunities for other young people. ”

His activism started at an early age. As an exceptional student at school, he took it upon himself to volunteer to assist other learners after school, especially the ones who were falling behind. This then led him to formal training in activism and community development. 

One of his greatest achievements has been to see a 70% reduction in early teenage pregnancies in Katlehong, through workshops facilitated by his organisation Dynamic Youth Group in partnership with local schools. This was realised through a series of community dialogues, outreach workshops and school talks with learners and parents. 

“Even if I don’t get paid for anything, as long as I can sleep peacefully at night then I just do it. I am a father now and I would love to be paid for everything I do but when I sit and watch things happening, people suffering and the quality of life deteriorating in my community, I feel like it is on me to do something.”

Tshweu is also an actor and writer who has worked in community theatre for 20 years, producing plays about xenophobia, crime, substance abuse and GBV. He is also currently working at the African Youth Development Fund as coordinator of their Alternatives programme. He is also the deputy chairperson of the National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition, the chairperson of the Treatment Action Campaign branch in Katlehong, and the provincial coordinator of the South African Tobacco Youth Free Forum. 

With all this on his plate, we can probably forgive him a little passion fatigue once in a while. 

You can learn more about Tshweu and his youth work through his YouTube channel @whizzymediaSA DM

Read more in Daily Maverick: The Actionists.

The Actionists was launched in early 2023 by photographer Thom Pierce. It consists of on-the-ground problem solvers, community activists, climate campaigners and human rights defenders who engage in direct action. They are people anyone can turn to in difficult circumstances: a growing community of people who care about the future of South Africa. Through a series of photographic stories, Pierce profiles these people. Through a website, discussion forum and social media, the aim is to provide ways for people to get involved.

Nominate Actionists in your circle at www.theactionists.co.za or email [email protected]

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R29.

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