Gugulethu youth facing a sea of dilemmas
Cape Town - High rates of unemployment which lead to drug and alcohol abuse, lack of income and teenage pregnancy were some of the challenges that were said to be facing young people.
This was the message of a youth dialogue held in Gugulethu Tuesday.
The dialogue, themed "Help The Future of Tomorrow”, was hosted by Ilitha Labantu, a platform where young people can engage in discussions about the challenges they confront in society.
Ilitha Labantu spokesperson Siyabulele Monkali said the programme hoped to create a greater sense of engagement around the social issues that faced young people.
Wam Mqela said young people growing up in townships faced experiences that were hindering them from becoming better citizens.
“Challenges that the youth of Gugulethu are facing will mostly be the fact that they are unemployed, teenage pregnancy and the gender roles and how we can change the mindset as the youth.
“As a young person growing up in Gugulethu, there's a lot of things that try to pull you in, from gangs to drugs. For some of us it's so hard to see outside the area. But thanks to programmes like these people come together and share their stories. We need to have more workshops and take the youth out of Gugulethu to show them that there is life out there and there is more to life than alcohol, crime and gangsterism,” he said.
Siphokazi Senosi said the experience of a young girl growing up in Gugulethu was that of hopelessness.
“Unemployment has risen, which the government has also acknowledged, and most people affected are the youth. There is no income. The same young people end up abusing drugs and alcohol and engaging in crime. Most of the girls end up selling their bodies in search of income.
“As a young female person you are expected to have a certain amount of cash to at least have sanitary towels. It's even worse when you are at an age of where you are supposed to be employed.
“You feel the pressure and end up doing the wrong things because you are searching for love and warmth. Family members don't value you because you are not bringing in any income because they don't see your worth,” she said.
Monakali said they would work with other organisations and the police youth desk with regards to youth development.
“These dialogues are part of our education and outreach programme working continuously with community organisations and campaigns and schools and hoping to reach more young people,” he said.