Cafe aims to in­spire youth

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ASANDA SOKANYILE

A SAFE space to learn, play and think.

That’s the aim for young­sters from Gugulethu and Ma­nen­berg with the ar­rival of a new youth cafe. Sit­u­ated in Gugulethu, near Nyanga Junc­tion at the Oliver Kahn Safety Hub, the project serves both com­mu­ni­ties.

There are two other youth cafes in safety hubs – one in Site B in Khayelit­sha and a third in Diep­sloot, Johannesburg. These are joint ini­tia­tives of Amandla EduFoot­ball, an in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion en­dorsed by the UN, and the pro­vin­cial So­cial De­vel­op­ment depart­ment.

The space was abuzz with young peo­ple in train­ing ses­sions ear­lier this week, while oth­ers were en­grossed in surf­ing the Net as they worked to com­plete as­sign­ments.

The So­cial De­vel­op­ment depart­ment has also set up youth cafes, al­though they are not part of a safety hub, in Rock­lands, Van­gate, Vry­grond, El­gin, Oudt­shoorn and Ge­orge.

So­cial De­vel­op­ment MEC Al­bert Fritz launched the new youth cafe in Gugulethu re­cently, say­ing the safe hub next to Nyanga Junc­tion was sig­nif­i­cant be­cause “it brings to­gether young peo­ple from the com­mu­ni­ties of Gugulethu and Ma­nen­berg, his­tor­i­cally sep­a­rated un­der apartheid”.

While the hub is fully equipped with top-class sports fa­cil­i­ties, the youth cafe boasts high-speed in­ter­net. There is a blos­som­ing Fri­day night football league spon­sored by the Com­mu­nity Safety depart­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to the So­cial De­vel­op­ment depart­ment, when young peo­ple get in­volved in ac­tiv­i­ties at the cafe, they earn “Zlato”, a vir­tual cur­rency used to ac­cess the in­ter­net, cof­fee sta­tions, train­ing cour­ses, sem­i­nars, etc. They are look­ing at ways to ex­pand this cur­rency to pay for pub­lic trans­port.

Mickey Mashego, head of fa­cil­i­ties at the hub, said they ran 12-month learn­er­ships with between 10 and 15 young­sters at a time.

Some were ac­cred­ited, oth­ers not, but the pur­pose of all was to “of­fer skills de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes, en­sure em­ploy­ment readi­ness, as well as ba­sic com­puter skills”.

As part of after-school pro­grammes, young­sters can par­tic­i­pate in or fa­cil­i­tate fair play football leagues, which in­clude two types of league – a pure football league and a life­style league, which as­sesses be­hav­iour on and off the pitch.

“This is part of our life skills train­ing of our 50-week cur­ricu­lum,” said Mashego, ad­ding the youth cafes were a way to “de­velop the youth, while bear­ing in mind that it needs a holis­tic ap­proach”.

“The youth cafe plays a crit­i­cal role for the older peo­ple who are un­em­ployed and are not in school.

“We cre­ated a lively space for the youth to get the nec­es­sary train­ing to as­sist them in gain­ing ac­cess to the job space,” he added.

The depart­ment will also pro­vide fund­ing for 10 Ex­tended Pub­lic Works Pro­gramme in­terns to work at the cafe. The safety hub and youth cafe are open week­days.

asanda.sokanyile@inl.co.za

PIC­TURE: BHEKI RADEBE

Young peo­ple in­ter­act at the youth cafe near Nyanga Junc­tion which aims to help to link the youth of Gugulethu and Ma­nen­berg.

PIC­TURE: BHEKI RADEBE

The youth cafe wants to in­spire the youth of Gugulethu and Ma­nen­berg to ac­cess learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and gain ac­cess to the job mar­ket.

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