Building the Youth of South Africa

According to a recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey by Statistics South Africa, the country’s official unemployment rate increased to a record of 32.5% as the number of jobless South Africans grew to 7 million at the end of 2020. The bulk of this figure comprised of youth aged between 15 – 34 years.

At the same time, 56% of South African headteachers report that a shortage of physical infrastructure hinders their school’s capacity to provide quality instruction.

To combat both challenges, the Trevor Noah Foundation has partnered with YouthBuild South Africa (YBSA). YBSA is a non-profit organisation that works with young people who are not in education or employment, or training (NEET). It supports them to become patriotic citizens with positive attitudes and ready for the world of work.

Given YBSA’s expertise in the construction, hospitality, and tourism sectors and our Khulani School programme goal of creating enabling learning environments, we’re thrilled to partner with YBSA to improve infrastructure in our Khulani Schools. 

Over the past month, we recruited 100 youth from Braamfischerville, Soweto, to participate in the Faranani Infrastructure project, where “Faranani” is a Tshivenda word meaning togetherness. A crucial component of the project is the week-long “mental toughness” induction training. This component ensures that participants are equipped with the necessary skills and mindset to successfully carry out their duties as part of the programme deliverables.

“We want to make sure that our young people are ready and mentally prepared for the world of work and build our communities.” – Oupa Tshabalala, YouthBuild South Africa Executive Director.

Photos from the commitment ceremony
Photos from the Commitment Ceremony

We held a ceremony on 7 May 2021 where each participant pledged to honour YBSA’s values of Ubuntu, Discipline, and Leadership in all that they do. We were also pleased to host Ms Elizabeth Motsamai from the Gauteng Department of Education and Mr Zweli Magano of the National Home Builders Registration Council, key stakeholders who are also committed to the success of this initiative.

“The past few days of training have also been great. I learned communication skills and how to work with other people. It’s also exciting to know that as a female, I can work in a male-dominated space.” – Thembeka Mkhize.

A photo of Thembeka Mkhize
Thembeka Mkhize, Programme Participant and Siyabonga Secondary alumnus.

Over the next 12 months, YBSA will equip our 100 young people with technical construction, life, entrepreneurship, and work readiness skills. In July, we’ll then deploy participants to use their newly acquired skills to complete various infrastructure projects at our Khulani Schools in the same community where they live.

“I’m so proud of our innovative partnership with YouthBuild SA, a like-minded organisation that is similarly committed to investing in our youth and fostering active citizens. We’re upskilling the youth, creating pathways, maintaining school infrastructure, and improving communities all at the same time.” – Shalane Yuen, Executive Director: Trevor Noah Foundation.  

We’re building the youth and our country, one brick at a time!

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