Changing the world: Revolution online

2012-09-11 08:42

While most youngsters are worrying about what

outfit to wear to the next party, some are figuring out how to make

South Africa a better country.

When Zama Ndlovu (29) and her Twitter friends came to the conclusion that there wasn’t a political voice for South Africa’s youth, they decided to speak up.

In 1976, the united voice of South African youth changed the course of our country’s history.

Last year, a group of six young Twitter friends decided that the youth needed to make their voice heard once again – so they established Youth Lab.

The organisation is essentially a non-partisan think tank that enables young people from different backgrounds to debate and influence South African policies and practices by informing policymakers about the youth’s position on key issues.

“We believe in enabling discussion through events, forums and discussion papers,” says managing director Zama Ndlovu.

“The platform we are creating allows young people to be educated on key policies of the country that they may be unaware of, as well as to have discussions with political parties about these issues.”

Of course, the place to find young people these days is online, and Youth Lab has an active presence on social-media sites.

“We use digital tools to collect broad views across different youth demographics and articulate these points to the right people,” says Zama.

With events such as Bring a Book and Braai on Youth Day and discussion forums that include “Access to Quality Education”, the group is well on its way to becoming a respected voice.

“The education forum culminated in a leadership programme that brought together the great minds in education with more than 100 Grade 11 and 12 learners,” says Zama.

“They debated the education crisis and it was wonderful to have young people raise critical questions to a panel of experts and politicians on a topic that directly affects them.

“It reaffirmed the purpose of Youth Lab and reminded us that what we are trying to achieve is important. We want our legacy to be a youth-led change in our country, and we are willing to work hard to make that a reality,” she says.

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