Eshowe Follow-Up Youth Social Cohesion Dialogue

ACCORD/ Aphile-amanzima Mazibuko

Amplifying youth strategies to develop socially cohesive societies.

ACCORD, in collaboration with the Bekezela Community Foundation (BCF) and Inkosi Thandisizwe Mpungose of the Mpungose Traditional Authority, hosted a follow up Youth Social Cohesion Dialogue for the youth of Eshowe in Kwa-Zulu Natal. The dialogue which took place on the 6 and 7 June 2023, focused on strengthening dialogue amongst the youth, in order to assist the youth to build strategies, whilst promoting their roles in conflict prevention and in building a socially cohesive community.

The previous dialogue, which was held on the 11 November 2022, helped unpack social cohesion and its role in building peaceful communities. This follow-up two-day dialogue provided an opportunity for the youth to reflect on what they had learnt from the previous dialogue and how they managed to apply it in order to foster social cohesion within their community. In sharing, the youth provided the example of the Lima Project, which is an agriculture initiative aimed at involving youth in planting and harvesting crops to address the socio-economic challenges of unemployment and poverty. Furthermore, the youth highlighted their increased understanding of the importance of social cohesion and the relevance of working with traditional authorities in order to achieve this.

The discussions helped to unpack the pillars of social cohesion and the various dimensions of community cohesion. Furthermore, the dialogue focused on the importance of leadership in achieving and leading a united community. On the second day, izinduna joined the dialogue, which provided the opportunity to share with the youth, previous cultural practices that cultivated social cohesion in Eshowe and how the youth can incorporate these practices into their social cohesion strategies. The participants were able to form an interim youth leadership structure, which will be working with Inkosi Mpungose and the Traditional Authority in Eshowe. Moreover, the youth formulated a vision and mission statement for the structure that will now provide a framework for developing social cohesion in their community.

ACCORD recognises the essential role of the youth in preventing conflicts and maintaining peace within communities, and the institution remains committed to creating platforms to advocate for youth involvement in matters of peace and security.