Alexandra: The youth of Alexandra, Johannesburg received quite the pep talk on Friday, when Deputy Minister for Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation Obed Bapela and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) visited the area.
The Youth Expo, arranged by the NYDA and Bapela’s office, also brought the local youth face-to-face with a number of celebrities, including TV presenters, actors and music stars.
It was aimed at bringing programmes, products and services of the private, public sector, civil society and related institutions closer to the youth in the Alexandra community, with a specific focus on education and entrepreneurship opportunities.
Bapela told SAnews that the intention was to motivate and inspire the youngsters.
“They must continue to have dreams and hope. All the people they are seeing on TV, all the leaders, they all came from humble beginnings but worked hard to make something of themselves. Our message is that these young people can do the same,” he said.
The expo was also aimed at introducing the NYDA to youth and to make them aware of how they could use the NYDA for their benefit, the deputy minister added.
The deputy minister also stressed the importance of education, saying no matter where the youngsters found themselves in the future, they would always need an education to fall back on.
He urged the youth to focus on their studies, dream big and work hard to achieve those dreams.
Bapela also used the opportunity to wish all those who were writing exams well, particularly those pupils that were in matric.
NYDA CEO Steven Ngubeni said the agency wanted to educate Alexandra youth, specifically those who didn’t have the means to visit the offices in Johannesburg and Midrand, about the NYDA and the services if offered.
A number “opportunity providers”, including government departments and non-government organisations, exhibited at the expo, he pointed out.
“We are empowering the youth of Alexandra with information. We are targeting youngsters who are still at a school-going age because we want them to be motivated and to know that there all these opportunities waiting for them once they finish school,” Ngubeni added.
Grade 11 pupil Sibongile Xaba, who has ambitions of being a doctor, was certainly inspired by what she saw.
Xaba said she was worried about where she would get the money to study once she finishes school but the expo put her mind at ease as she was told about the bursaries and learnerships that were available to the youth.
“Now I know there are places that I can go to for help and that has given me hope. I know that when I finish school I will have opportunities even if I don’t have money,” she said.