Empowering Cape Town’s unemployed youth

Dec 6, 2023

Ikamva Labantu has grown a street soccer and netball project to provide children in Cape Town’s townships with opportunities for physical, social and psychological development. As part of this project, Ikamva Labantu provides professional and personal development opportunities as well as a stipend to 32 previously unemployed township youths who work as safety marshals.

South Africa’s unemployment rate is among the highest in the world – with youth unemployment being over 50%. According to the government census, only 36% of residents in Khayelitsha have completed high school.

This project is part of Ikamva Labantu’s Afternoon Angels Programme, which supports 30 women to provide over 1400 children safe and nurturing care after school, including food, skills training, psychosocial support, sports and recreation.

Schools in townships lack extracurricular activities and aftercare facilities. When the school day is over, children are left to roam and play in the streets unsupervised. Time on the streets increases exposure to the dangers of violence, abuse, crime, gangsterism, school dropout and substance abuse.

Mihla Panziso who lost her job due to the Coronavirus pandemic, says: “There are many opportunities in sport, and it helps them to focus at school. Child safety is important, we keep the children away from the streets. The time they play ball, soccer, or netball they don’t get involved in many things happening in the township.”

These young adults are mentors who coach children and provide them with safe spaces to play, learn and participate in sport after school. The project allows them to gain knowledge and skills to work with and build healthy relationships with the children in their care, as well as giving them the necessary training and experience to empower them to apply for jobs, grow their employability and self-reliance.

Xolela Mofu who lost his job during the lockdown, expresses gratitude: “This work has brought me joy because I grew up playing ball. This is my passion, I got to be involved in something I like. So, it’s very important to me and I’m happy to get this opportunity. I wish to continue with what I do and have my own successful team.”