Reclaim home turf

2011-02-26 11:10

Eastern Cape has a long history of producing the best intellectuals, ­business personalities, renowned political ­leaders and sports personalities who have made a positive mark both ­nationally and internationally.

So it is sad to note that the province is still so challenged by issues of ­poverty, underdevelopment and poor service delivery.

It is no secret that Eastern Cape needs an urgent, major overhaul ­before it’s too late, and I challenge professionals to start initiating ­developmental programmes to plough back into the home that raised them.

Gauteng and Western Cape are full of professionals from Eastern Cape who are in influential ­positions, but very few are making a marked impact on their birthplace.

This is not an attempt to undermine those at the helm in Eastern Cape nor promote regionalism but, truth be told, things are just not well here.

To cite a few examples: road infrastructure is a disaster, the education system is in a shambles, there’s a high unemployment rate and a disastrous health system.

Does this mean that government and businesses have run out of ideas to stimulate and revitalise industrial zones in the province to curb unemployment?

This said, a group of young black professionals from the Buffalo City Municipality and its surrounds has formed a non-profit organisation called Buffalo City Young Professionals Network (BCYPN).

In establishing the network, we pledged and declared commitment to the formation of a viable and active platform to plough back skills, talent, knowledge and expertise gained from various walks of life – including but not limited to universities, training colleges, the corporate world, and sports and cultural institutions.

Through this platform, BCYPN strives to develop and empower young people from Buffalo City and the rest of the Eastern Cape in the following sectors: education and training, business and entrepreneurial development, social transformation, sports, arts and culture, and research and development.

Our vision is to be a ­world-class young professionals’ network that advances social upliftment and ­economic development within ­communities.We officially launched the network by hosting an inaugural summit in East London in December last year.

We call upon professionals to join us and also make it their ­responsibility to respond to the question: “Why is Eastern Cape struggling to extricate itself and its people from the mire of poverty, underdevelopment and poor service delivery?”

In responding to this question, we believe that there are solutions to the problems facing Eastern Cape.

But those solutions will need robust engagement and action by Eastern Cape professionals.

We have engineers, doctors, academics, architects, economists, and legal experts, among others, who are working in other provinces that must urgently come together and respond to the needs of their province.

» Mandla Ntlanganiso is the president of the BCYPN People walk through farmland near Lusikisiki in the impoverished Eastern Cape.

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