As the rain poured down, there was a fear spreading amongst us that no one was going to turn up; left with an empty library with rain tapping depressingly at the windows…

Thankfully, our fears were completely unfounded. More than 2500 students braved the weather and came to the Harare Library on Friday afternoon to explore their post-matric choices. The majority of students were Grade 12s but there were also a large number of Grade 11s, some Grade 10s and even some Grade 8s. It was great to see the younger learners beginning to think about their futures from a young age.

The queue to sign up for the workshops delivered by Jean Alfeld, Sizwe Matoti and Lindela Mjenxane

IkamvaYouth’s founding motto is one of future oriented thinking and pro-activity. The Careers Indaba is a fundamental step in fostering this mind set in the youth of South Africa. It is challenging to dream of a better future and to aspire to goals without knowing the realities of these goals and the opportunities that are available.

Universities, companies, and NGOs from all over Cape Town attended the fair. They did not merely provide factual information about careers and studying opportunities, but they also conversed with these young people and delivered a message of hope and possibility. This message is crucial for youth who are the victims of poor education systems and who live in a community plagued by poverty and all its products:

‘Academic failure is a consequence of the beliefs that students hold about themselves and about their ability to have control over their environments’ (G. Hutt & F. Pajares)

IkamvaYouth focuses on changing the mindset of youth, to think beyond their immediate circumstances and to believe in themselves and the possibilities that their futures hold.

When interviewed by The Sowetan reporter on Friday both Equal Education and IkamvaYouth agreed that this event is vital for youth in township schools and must be expanded. Tsepo Khanye, (NSFAS representative) also agreed: ‘This is a fantastic event and is well patronised. We need to make this bigger and longer, we need to get more youth exposed to it. Next year we should partner and hold something at Oliver Thambo hall to build on this success.’ Lets hope!

It was inspiring to see that there was appreciation for the event, both from exhibitors as well as students. Many learners commented at how much they had gained from the experience. An un-named Grade 12 from Mfuleni High School commented that ‘I have so much to think about now. About my future and about how I can get there’. More events of this nature are needed to make more youth believe that there are accessible and obtainable options for their futures.

Equal Education was the partner on this event and produced amazing publicity materials and helped to organize the day. IkamvaYouth is hugely appreciative to Ntshadi Mofokeng and her team for making it happen! A huge thank you to Lulama Langeni from the Harare Library for letting us take over her space for the whole day!