University of South Africa: Unisa participated in a public engagement led by SA’s politician

The purpose of this two-day programme was to raise awareness of social ills which affect the society, such as gender-based violence (GBV) and substance abuse among many other related issues. It empowered learners from Grade 8 to 12 especially females to take charge of their lives and to learn about assistive tools in dealing with these challenges.

One of the non-profit organisations participating in the programme was Love Life and it was represented by Nonzukiso Breakfast. She addressed teenage pregnancy, peer pressure, sexual abstinence, contraception, and condom use. The key message was about taking care of their bodies. Moreover, Phumlani Fani represented the Eastern Cape Liquor Board. Fani’s message was on substance abuse specifically alcohol. He highlighted the effects of alcohol on the brain and the body. According to Fani alcohol can destroy one’s future and prevent academic progress as learners drop out of school due to alcoholism.

Social Cohesion Advocate Bulelwa Tshotsho focused on GBV. She educated learners about the signs, speaking out and where to report such issues. Representing institutions of higher learning, the Unisa Eastern Cape Counselling and Career Development together with Institutional Advancement Department informed learners on the importance of education and furthering their studies. The discussions were on various courses of study, minimum requirements and services the university offers to the students.

Giving an inspirational talk, Mafu motivated the students about her upbringing, background and the challenges she faced while still at school. She emphasised that these challenges did not define her, but instead encouraged her to be where she is today. She is an alumna of Ebenezer Majombozi High School and as the host, Mafu thanked the participants for supporting this programme in empowering learners during Youth Month.

After the presentations from various organisations, there was a question-and-answer session. The learners were very impressed with the information they had received, and they found it valuable and motivating. The whole purpose of the event was to motivate and make the youth confident again in making informed decisions when it comes to choosing careers and building themselves.

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