It was a winter day, we were blessed with beautiful, warm and clear weather; when the IkamvaYouth career expo took center stage during the IkamvaYouth Winter School program in Gauteng at our Ebony Park branch. IkamvaYouth during this expo hosted over four hundred students who are learners registered with the organization; as well as the community of Ebony Park and Ivory Park. 

Upon arrival around 08:45, exhibition stands from different institutions had already been put up. I even asked myself if these different institutions slept over at our center or what; as they had arrived so early in the morning. The great news was that they were all ready to give information and education needed most by our youth. The Career Expo and the entire IkamvaYouth Winter School program could have not been such a success, if it was not for an equally dedicated team of IkamvaYouth staff and volunteer/tutors.

I entered through the gates of IkamvaYouth centre in the Ebony Park branch, for a moment I forgot that I was in a township. I mean, we had exhibitors from many organizations and institutions that I am sure will share valuable information and knowledge with our leaners and the Ebony Park community at large. Learners looking lovely in their school uniforms from surrounding schools such as Tsosoloso High School; Midrand High school; Oracle High School; Eqinisweni High School; Umqhele High School; Ivory Park High School; and Kaalfontein High School. Charming friendly and energetic IkamvaYouth staff and volunteer/tutors were ready to facilitate and co-ordinate the Career Expo.

I would not name drop, but because of the special and welcoming speech Modjadji (Branch Assistant from the Ivory Park branch) made; I just had to name drop. She said something that really appealed to me, in her words “Knowledge is for us to share”. So I bit my fingers and ensured that leaners got the information if not from me, then from the many exhibitors we had at this Career Expo.

It is sad to hear that Zandile, Branch Coordinator from Ivory Park branch, is leaving us soon, for Japan. Wishing her success in her future, it is inspiring to see youth making moves and going international. Though she is needed at IkamvaYouth, it is only right for us to allow her to spread her wings and follow her dreams. An emotional farewell speech she made- truly she will be missed.  After the official opening of the Expo round ten o’clock learners got the opportunity to visit exhibition stands.  

Leaners were ushered in different teams headed by one volunteer, to the many different exhibition stands. Every thirty minutes throughout the day, leaners would be lead back inside the hall, to listen to informational presentations from tertiary institutions and private organizations. Absa, one of our sponsors, gave a presentation about their services and career opportunities learners can take advantage of.   

University of Witwatersrand also made a presentation about careers available at the university and how to apply at the university. Dr Kubeka from the University of Johannesburg gave an educational session about choosing subjects in High School, and career decisions.

Going through the exhibition stands with a team of learners I was responsible for was fun. Wits University was exhibiting; PC Training and Damelin College as well. A stand from College Campus and Boston Media House was also in the area. Mindset Learning channel 319 on DSTV was present and even recorded some of the learners  who sent shout-outs to their families and friends. Central Johannesburg College were exhibiting as well as MSC College. Open Window had me wishing for a career in visual media and TPG College also came. National Heritage Council also came, as always we have been blessed with the presence of the Tzu Chi Foundation.

Before I could even admit I was hungry, it was lunch time. Amazing how time flies when you having fun. We are very grateful to ABI for providing refreshments. After eating, I really felt like I could lie down and enjoy some rest; but oh no, learning still continued.  After lunch then walking with my learners we visited some more exhibition stands before I led them back inside the hall for more presentations. We then listened to a presentation from Consulting Engineers South Africa; they really made a career in engineering interesting. Harambee an employment agency made their presentations; myself and other community members had the chance to register our names on their employment seekers database. I am glad I came.

Open Window College and College Campus closed off the presentations after three o’clock. It has been a lovely and informational day for me, learners and the community of Ebony Park. The Career Expo has been a success and I am certain the same could be said about the entire IkamvaYouth Winter School program. What more can I say Ikamvanites, we did it again, and will continue doing it. IkamvaYouth the future truly is in our hands!!