A forum that will focus on the role of youth and their contribution to building a better society has been launched in the Western Cape.
Launched over the weekend in KwaLanga, the forum will give youth a chance to work together in fighting social ills such as teenage pregnancy, school drop-out, substance abuse, lack of skills development, gangsterism and gender-based violence, among others.
The launch of the forum comes after Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini visited KwaLanga in February this year. The Department of Social Development facilitated the formation of the forum.
Minister Dlamini says the forum “will enable young people to take their rightful place in their development and that of the province”.
“The launch of this forum will form part of our history as our country celebrates its 20th year of freedom. It will be remembered as the day when the youth of the Western Cape province took their lives into their own hands by mobilising themselves to take charge of matters concerning their own development by saying ‘nothing about us without us’,” said Minister Dlamini at the launch.
The forum includes the West Coast, Cape Metro, Eden, Central Karoo, Cape Winelands and Overberg districts.
It has a six-member team of conveners, led by Sheila du Plessis from Cape Metro. It is expected that the forum will work with local authorities to identify, implement and monitor the progress of social, economic and institutional solutions to local development challenges.
It will also work to establish fora at district and local levels.
Minister Dlamini has urged the forum to prioritise HIV/Aids awareness.
The forum has received support from organisations working for the advancement of youth development, including Disabled People South Africa, South African Youth Council (SAYC), Love Life, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and organisations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.