Focus on self-care for teenage girls

Zonke Shazi-Hlongwane.

Zonke Shazi-Hlongwane.

Published Jun 16, 2024


Durban-based organisation Ikusasa Ngelami’s family transformation programme seeks to use the ethos of June 16 to educate teenage girls about the importance and benefits of self-love and self-respect.

Ikusasa Ngelami’s efforts are in keeping with people and organisations from all corners of the country, engaging in various activities in remembrance of this landmark day.

In South Africa, June 16 is celebrated as the National Youth Day in memory of the student uprising in Soweto in 1976.

According to Zonke Shazi-Hlongwane, the founder and CEO of Ikusasa, which provides a range of counselling services addressing various social and emotional challenges faced by children and parents, the programme will continue tomorrow with a youth seminar focused on teens aged 13 to 19.

“The event is aimed at providing alternatives for girls who want to have fun and enjoy being young, in a safe and supervised environment that enables development and imparts life skills,” she said.

Shazi-Hlongwane, who is a child and youth care practitioner, said most spaces which had been defined as “fun” by the youth were in fact not safe for young people due to high levels of alcohol consumption, engagement in activities that lead to pregnancy and the danger of falling prey to rapists who target vulnerable girls.

“With schools being closed, these youngsters will look forward to unwinding, which is acceptable. However, they end up not assessing the risks involved.”

Shazi-Hlongwane said the proper development of youth was an ongoing goal.

“Some people believe teenagers are old enough to think for themselves, but they are not fully able to assess risks due to not having developed the part of the brain which enables them to make such decisions and estimate its impact on their lives.

“They end up wanting instant funfilled times.

“We are trying to be with the youth while they are having fun so that they can develop into adults without putting their lives at risk. We are doing that by affording them this platform.”

She said a series of events were planned and while the organisation focused on assisting both males and females, this event was aimed at younger girls in need of guidance, in an environment where they could engage with the same gender, uncensored.

Some of the topics for discussion will include self-awareness, teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, social media, dealing with bullying, self-care and positive self-talk.

“We will have a health professional who can delve deeper into issues that affect females, in a safe manner,” said Shazi-Hlongwane.

The event will be held at Lytton Crescent in Pinetown.

Youth who are interested are encouraged to contact Shazi-Hlongwane on 063 819 6905.

Sunday Tribune