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“Young, black, gifted and still left behind.”
What has changed for youth since 16 June 1976?

At Amava Oluntu, we believe in the power of youth to make a change despite the many challenges they face. Over the past three years, we have worked with youth from various areas, but mainly from Vrygrond, which has an alarming youth unemployment rate of roughly 80%. Each person we have met has a heart-breaking story and many experiences that have made them wiser and more mature.

Working with such youth means being patient and spending time on giving simple advice, such as how to communicate better, how to believe in their talents and how to be brave enough to step out of their comfort zone. We have found that the simple realities of being seen, being heard and feeling safe can completely transform how these youths perceive themselves. It can give them a springboard to create a future completely different to the trajectory they would follow if they didn’t consciously choose otherwise.

Zubair standing in front of colourful stairs in a yellow shirt with hands in his pockets.

Image of Zubair Isaacs, participant in the changemaker project Vukuzenzele

How do we find ways to end this spatial inequality? At Amava Oluntu we are convinced that there are many things that can be done, but nothing can work without all of us realising that the skills and knowledge we hold must be shared and more evenly distributed. It’s our responsibility to give back and share with those who have not experienced a safe home space, balanced nutrition in their foundational years, a quality education and the resulting networks in later life that offer support and opportunity, merely because they were born in a different part of town to us.

Socio-economic inequality can be overcome if we connect youth to wider networks and cross-pollinate learning, wisdom and knowledge, which, after all, exist for all humankind, not just 10% of the population. What is your skill, and how can you share it? We are happy to connect you with youth who are looking for someone like you.

How can we support youth most sustainably for more just futures?

Our approach is working from the inside out. It starts with you yourself: really getting to know yourself, discovering your strengths and weaknesses. Then it’s about learning how to connect with others, how to communicate well and taking new steps that are out of your comfort zone.

We believe that each young person must learn how to be independent and generate their own income. However, to generate their own income, youth must have access to the right market.

To help youth connect with others more easily, we would like to set up a marketplace.
Imagine a marketplace: good vibes, a place that is full of stories, new connections and interest in each other’s products. The Amava Market will be similar: an online shop that connects young people selling sustainable goods, innovative products and beautiful crafts to local buyers. We imagine an online and offline engagement with networking events and talks that stimulate discussions around youth unemployment and inequality, promoting inter-community solutions to the big youth unemployment crisis.

Illustration of a smart phone with a shop window sign that says open.

Would you like to get involved? We are looking for local residents who want to make a difference in youth’s lives and share their know-how. Please let us know if you want to become part of a think tank to bring this idea to the next level.

What do you think about this idea? We are looking for feedback, insight and advice to get this platform going. Just get in touch with us:

Thank you for your support.

We are still seeking to cover the start-up costs to run this programme, including the website development and marketing costs. Please let us know if you want to support this idea.

Teresa Boulle

Teresa is excited about how communities and individuals can collaboratively respond to challenges and turn them into opportunities of social change. She believes that youth are the best changemakers in the world and they must be actively included in decision-making processes.