File photo: The idea of the youth caf�s was conceptualised by Marlon Parker, right. Picture: COURTNEY AFRICA

Cape Town - Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has opened the first of a series of youth cafés at which young people will be able to get food, drinks and various services including the internet – provided they have amassed enough virtual currency.

Opening the café in Rocklands, Mitchells Plain, on Monday, De Lille said: “Young people are not just the future but also our present.”

The idea of the youth cafés was conceptualised by Marlon Parker, in partnership with the City and province, after extensive discussions with young people.


“The aim of the café is to provide a place where hope will become possible by establishing hope networks,” said Parker.

Young people over 17 will have access to services, support and a variety of opportunities once they have registered. Food, drinks and internet services can be bought in return for “zlatos” which means gold.


Youths registered at the café receive a code and a reference number which they use to earn the virtual currency by performing tasks that uplift the area in which they live.

“The café is driven by the young, for the young. We plan on providing sessions, workshops and programmes to facilitate the youth,” said Parker.

MEC for Social Development Albert Fritz said youth cafés were a way of building youth development.

“We want to extend the youth café programme to other areas such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, George and then on to other farm areas.”

MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato said: “This… initiative is the first of its kind and its success depends on how the youths use the centres.” - Cape Argus