(Humansdorp) – More than 3,000 school pupils in the Kouga community – along with unemployed school leavers – received a much-needed boost over the weekend when they attended a day dedicated to connecting them with educational, career and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Held at the Humansdorp Country Club and sponsored by Kouga Wind Farm, the Youth Focus Day also gave local young talent a chance to express themselves and shine in four creative arenas – a battle of the DJs, Kouga “Idols”, a speech contest and an art competition.
In addition, there were dance contests throughout the day, while young achievers and beneficiaries of Kouga Wind Farm’s socio-economic development projects shared their inspiring stories with the crowd.
Teenagers from a range of primary and high schools in the Humansdorp, Hankey, Jeffreys Bay, St Francis Bay and Oyster Bay areas were invited to attend, as well as school leavers who were uncertain about their future and struggling to secure a job or further training opportunities.
The exhibition portion of the event saw more than 20 exhibitors sharing information on everything from universities and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges to skills development providers and youth employment accelerators. Government support services such as the National Youth Development Agency and National Student Financial Aid Scheme were also represented.
Kouga Wind Farm’s community liaison officer Trevor Arosi said the inaugural event, which was headlined by radio personalities Putco Mafani and Mafa Bavuma, DJs Heavy K and Chrisbeats, had been a great success.
“For many young people in our community, this was the first opportunity they have had to show off their talents and to be heard. In essence, this is the beginning of a socio-economic conversation with local young people, giving us a platform to understand real lived challenges and identify opportunities for development,” said Arosi.
He said the intention was to help young people discover and pursue careers and entrepreneurial opportunities, to give them a platform to exhibit their talents, and to identify areas of youth development in which the wind farm could play a supporting role.
Arosi said the wind farm was committed to engaging with the youth on an ongoing basis, although future initiatives could take a different form, depending on the objectives and needs identified.
The creative competition aspect of the event proved to be a big hit with participants and the crowd alike. The winners of the four categories each walked away with a trophy and R1,000 in cash for their efforts. They were:
- Battle of the DJs: DJ Emo Black, Thembelani Madikizela (23), from Jeffreys Bay
- Kouga Idols: Xhanti Sohopu (21) from Jeffreys Bay Combined School, Jeffreys Bay
- “Why I should be Kouga mayor” speech competition: Zandisile Seya (33) from KwaNomzamo, Humansdorp
- “My coastal town” art competition: Athitha Ngwane (10) of Umzingisi Primary School, KwaNomzamo, Humansdorp.