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Cape Town’s youth: From victims to victors

As South Africa continues to celebrate youth month, Salesian Life Choices, a Cape Town-based NGO runs its “30 Stories in 30 Days” campaign, now in its seventh year, allowing young people living on the Cape Flats to share their stories of how they overcame adversity despite tremendous hardship. Their personal victories are a sign of hope for all youth and encouragement that suffering can be overcome.

In June 2014, Salesian Life Choices, a Cape Town based NPO, launched the ’30 Stories in 30 Days Campaign’ to celebrate South Africa’s National Youth Month. The campaign shared one inspirational youth story a day for the month of June, honoring the youth of today and their life struggles.

This year’s campaign was released against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the youth expressed the varied and individual ways in which they are responding to the challenge of COVID-19, reflecting this time of great uncertainty through the lived experiences of young people in South Africa.

The 2020 campaign, which ran from 15-21 June only, shared one inspirational youth story each day, honoring the youth of today and their life struggles.

The youth expressed the varied and individual ways in which they are responding to the challenge of COVID-19.

The 30 stories in 30 days’ campaign showcases the Born Frees and their personal stories of triumph over adversity. The stories are intimate narratives of personal transformation and all underscore the theme of “Victim to Victor.” The campaign captures stories that cover a range of issues that young people navigate in their lives including the effects of poverty, depression, bullying, gangsterism, abuse and loss. This year’s bonus story focused on the issue of Gender Based Violence (GBV), just after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s most recent address in which he named GBV as the second pandemic in the country.

These stories contrast the unflattering descriptions often ascribed to the post-apartheid generation who are often seen as the “lost generation,” unemployed or unemployable, or preferring state welfare than study or work (Garman & Malila, 2016).

Youth make up 37% of the population in South Africa but are seldom “heard” in mainstream media. The youth campaign is a platform for youth voices to be amplified.

The stories are intimate narratives of personal transformation and all underscore the theme of “Victim to Victor.”

Salesian Life Choices MD Sofia Neves explains the main motivation behind the youth campaign: “Salesian Life Choices works with young people from the low-income communities of the ‘Cape Flats’ and provides services in employment, education, leadership, health and family stability. Since 2014, the 30 Stories in 30 Days Campaign has served as a social series of the various pressures youth face in Cape Town, especially when living in less privileged neighborhoods.” 

This year’s stories featured Abongie Tywala; NathanSwartz; Bongiwe Majija; Fanelesibonge Ndebele; Cleo Daniels and Tsepiso Tshivhase.

To learn more and support the work of Salesian Life Choices visit: http://www.lifechoices.co.za/

* The opinions expressed here by Spotlight.Africa contributors and editors are their own and not official statements of the Society of Jesus in South Africa or of the Catholic Church unless explicitly stated.

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Salesian Life Choiceshttp://www.lifechoices.co.za/
Salesian Life Choices or better known as Life Choices, is a South African based youth development organisation. We invest in youth because they are 37% of the South African population…but 100% of its future. We work with youth from the Cape Flats communities to make choices that can change the world. We provide this foundation through our services in five key areas: Family Stability, Health, Education, Leadership and Employment. To learn more and support the work of Salesian Life Choices visit: http://www.lifechoices.co.za/

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