#BeTheDrivingForce Week Four: Young people should be leading

We are officially in Youth Month with Youth Day just a few days away. But even with such an important commemoration coming up, there doesn’t seem to be much to look forward to. With rolling load shedding happening across the country, record highs for youth unemployment and a health minister put on special leave for corruption charges in the middle of a global pandemic, there isn’t much to celebrate. 

But it was only appropriate that Week Four of the #BeTheDrivingForce series focused on policy activism and engagement. This week’s conversation featured Dr. Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh and Tessa Dooms to the great delight of the people who tuned in (and watched it after load shedding). 

Dr Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh is an author, scholar and founder of the Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh Xperience (SMWX), a digital, youth-centred current affairs platform. He holds a DPhil in International Relations from the University of Oxford and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER). 

Tessa Dooms is a Social Development Practitioner inspired by the values of participation, social justice, human-centred design. Her goal is to capacitate organisations and individuals with the skills to build and implement programmes that have developmental outcomes for national and global communities they serve.Tessa is the Director at Jasoro Consulting, a Board Member at Kagiso Trust and served as a Commissioner in the National Planning Commission. 

Watch the live here:

Mpofu-Walsh and Dooms both expanded on the failures in governance in South Africa. 

“It is much easier to get traction once you get facetime with government officials,” said Dooms. She said young people do not need to wait for a Zoom meeting with government officials and they should have the boldness to call people to account and call them into young people’s spaces. 

“One of the ways we can do things is we are doing these things in our communities. How are you as the government is going to respond to whatever is already happening as opposed to waiting until we are going to convince you to do something,” said Mpofu-Walsh. 

They both commented on how social media is being used creatively by young people and people in their communities to mobilise and come up with their own solutions. 

As for the future, Dooms said she one day wants to vote for a 25-year-old president. She said older people need to desire to be led by young people especially in a country where the majority of the population is made up of young people. 

Next week we will be having two events. We will be having our usual Wednesday evening live. Make sure to tune into our social media for the speaker’s announcement! 

We will also be hosting a special June 16 event with a star line-up. Make sure to keep an eye out on our social media. The series includes a WhatsApp group, where young people can pose questions that will be answered in Instagram Lives, every Wednesday from 6 to 7pm for the duration of the series. 

Join the Whatsapp group here: #BeTheDrivingForce whatsapp group There will also be a special pop-up newsletter for the duration of the campaign. Sign up for the newsletter here.