The United World Youth Conference

This conference ran for several years and was organised by a small UK based charity which is now unfortunately not in operation. EDSA was invited to raise funds for five young people from the Cape Town townships to attend this event on 2 occasions to represent their country. They met other young people from all over the world, around 25 countries were represented in 2004 and 2005 and cultural and development issues were discussed and shared at this residential experience. Township young people involved in the United World Youth Conference and those hoping to be in the future are disappointed that these events have now folded, as they found it incredibly enabling to meet young people from other countries to share their hopes, fears and excitement about the future of their country and of the world. This kind of cultural experience is certainly potentially life changing and has huge knock on effects when the young people return to their homes.

Participants learnt about the socio-economic and political situations of other delegates and were informed about their rights and responsibilities. They were encouraged to become responsible citizens and participate actively in shaping the future. By increasing their confidence and providing them with the tools to face challenges and transform problems into solutions, the programme aimed to contribute to global peace and manage globalisation for the good, giving hope and encouragement to all young people.

Twinning studentsTwinning students

EDSA and ASSET were delighted to support five young people in 2004 and 2005 to attend as South African delegates to the United World Youth Council, additional support was given by Radley College, Oxford and DLD College, London. All were young people from the townships and were involved in the Saturday School programme. They were all fantastic ambassadors for their country who were overwhelmed by the learning gained at this conference:

  • Ntlahla Rasmeni: I am honoured to have been part of the delegation ... there were 24 countries represented (less than the 30 expected because of the war in Iraq). We were all separated into our committees and we started with teambuilding ... Our stand (the SA delegates) for the Global Village went pretty well and people were crazy about the gumboots (wellingtons) dance because they have never seen something like that.
  • Zamabongwe Vokozela: I learned sharing ideas and also about different cultures. Working with my group has helped me a lot ... we should listen to each others ideas ... I learnt respect of different opinions.
  • Vuyokazi Mzele: It was not just about meeting new people from different countries and clutures, it was to rediscover myself as a South African and where I go from here.
  • Nomawabo May: One of the words emphasised was perseverance as the road to success is one that is considered not easy.
  • Sibusisiwe Mbilini: Meeting people from different countries, sharing our differences, and learnign that people are not always what you think of them and that we need to engage in debate to settle our differences.
  • Tshepo Nketle: I had the chance to meet meet the people from other countries sharing ideas with them at the conference. ... I also felt honoured when the South African High Commissioner invited us for dinner.

Upon their return to Cape Town the young delegates were involved in mini-conferences to share their experiences with others. These were run by the young people and were attended by 230+ Grade 11 LDP learners each year.