Minister Fritz Launches Second Youth Cafe
[The following is an extract of the speech delivered by Minister Albert Fritz at the launch of the Western Cape’s second Youth Café in Vangate Mall, Athlone on 11 July 2014]
I feel especially honoured and proud to be here today, and in saying so, allow me to extend a special welcome to Marlon Parker, the man behind RLABS, our partner in this initiative, and man of great vision.
It was only 6 months back that we were opening our Departments first Youth Café in Mitchells Plain, and here we are today at the Vangate Mall, expanding an initiative which is creating opportunity for young people. This Youth Café will benefit the youth of Athlone, Langa and the surrounding areas.
The Western Cape government has committed itself to creating an enabling environment for young people to develop constructive, affirmative and sustainable relationships. Our aim is to achieve this while concurrently providing opportunities for young people to build their knowledge, skills and abilities.
A lot has been said recently about what young people need or what they should do, but only action and delivery can help free our youth from poverty, unemployment, and the challenges of growing up exposed to violence. The Department of Social Development rolling out this second Youth Café is our commitment to delivery.
I have always held that one’s youth if combined with opportunity, is a gateway to prosperity; and there are many young people in this province ready to succeed.
The 2011 census revealed that there are almost 3,6m young people between 0 and 34 in this province. Of this figure, about 1,1m are young people between 14-25 years. These are the young people our Provincial Youth Development Strategy aims to empower.
The comprehensive and detailed youth development strategy guides all our programmes that target young people. More importantly it ensures that the programmes we fund via NGOs and those that we deliver through our own services have clear developmental outcomes that they must meet.
The Youth Café is proving to be a space which puts youth on a path to be pioneers in creating opportunities not only for themselves, but for others too.
Under the guidance and mentorship of the R-Labs leadership, youths in these facilities have the chance to tap into a world of technology, innovation and ground-breaking thinking.
This space will play the pivotal role of providing a socially inclusive and enabling environment. Like the Youth Cafe in Mitchells Plain, to gain access to this facility and services within this space, you firstly have to register, but you also have to earn credits or “Zlato”, which is our official currency.
By actively participating in the various activities, you will earn and accumulate Zlato, and this will be used to access things like the internet, the coffee station, training courses, seminars, etc.
We have made this space available, but it is you, our young people, who have to participate and contribute in order to really benefit. That is what we mean as government with our approach of “Better Together”.
Our Department has heeded the urgency raised by Premier Helen Zille in her State of the Province Address, as it relates to youth development.
In this financial year, our Department will be rolling out another three Youth Cafés in Atlantis, George, and Nyanga. This is in addition to our other youth empowerment initiatives as government, such as the EPWP Programme, the Premiers Paye Project, the Chrysalis Youth Academy, our internship programmes and bursaries.
All of these initiatives can only work if we continue building partnerships with civil society, NGO’s, the private sector, and with you, our young individuals. After-all prosperity and development is best achieved ‘Better Together’.