More than 70 young people gathered at Vrygrond near Muizenberg at the Sozo Foundation to attend the Digital Youth Festival Western Cape this week, as Youth Month drew to an end.
The festival was hosted by B4IR, an organisation that aims to empower disadvantaged communities through digital creative innovations and business incubation.
Onikwa Jobela, communications co-ordinator at Sozo Foundation, said the young people who attended were inspired.
“None of those who attended the festival had any background in drone technology, for example. There were young people who took a keen interest in the various workshops, and now want to further their studies in areas such as drone technology. The festival also taught young people about social media, its benefits and how they can make money from it,” she said.
Attendees were between the ages of 16-35, and were all eager to learn about the digital world and the possibilities and opportunities offered by the digital space. The primary objective of the event was to bridge the digital and gender divide, encourage skill development and provide networking opportunities for young individuals, said Katlego Segole, the marketing and client liaison officer of the event.
“We organised panel discussions on topics such as gaming, animation and business incubation, including the future of technology, emerging career opportunities, and the importance of diversity and inclusion in the field.
“The discussions provided a platform for attendees to interact with industry experts, ask questions, and gain valuable insights. We set up an exhibition area where attendees had an opportunity to engage with the equipment, such as Tello drones and VR Oculus,” he said
Litha Sam-Sam, the managing director of Loxion Mobile Library, who gave a presentation at the festival, said his research into meaningful reading had led him to begin his business, and urged all youth at the festival to find a purpose that will drive their ideas.
“Some 82% of Grade 4 learners in South Africa can’t read for meaning and understanding, which is what led me to starting my business to tackle the problem,” he said.
Segole said the event received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the attendees.
“They expressed their appreciation for the diverse range of topics covered, the quality of the speakers, and the interactive nature of the sessions. Many participants mentioned feeling inspired and motivated to pursue careers in computer science, as they would like to develop their own games with a touch of the African continent,” he said.