Young men can also make a change in the community.

“I am a very shy and quiet person, growing up in the society we live in is very hard, especially with everything that is going on that the we see as young men. Many of us don’t have good examples to look to as we grow but we are very lucky that there are organisations out there like Epic Youth Matters that are focused on working with young people and working with young men and teaching us how to be young honourable men.”

Thamsanqa has worked with us through our Young men of honour (YMOH) programme and has attended our workshops that we have had. Based on our interactions with Thamsanqa we believe this qualifies him to be a driver of change. With our Ymoh programme and workshops he has been able to gain a lot of confidence and learned a lot which he then was able to take back to his peers and share all that he had learned from Epic Youth Matters.

We saw him attend with more young men and saw him take the initiative to help his peers understand what he had learned about GBV and the effects on the environment. Based on this we believe that Thamsanqa qualifies to be a driver of change. “ We as young people have so much to offer our communities and each other. If we can take the time to sit and listen to each other and the effects of what we do, either it be positive or negative we can then help each other get to the outcome that most of us want. Living in communities that are safe and clean, living in communities that are able to give back to its young people and becoming the next generation that is able to do all the good that our parents want for us.”

We started interacting with Thamsanqa at school with our YMOH programme and since then his been a part of workshops and programme that we have had since lockdown. Epic youth matters has only been able to do workshops because of the grant from WVL and through our partnership with Gender Links.

We have had the opportunity to have workshops and have our young people attend them and that has allowed us to be able to share more with them and have a better interaction and share more information that they can take with them back home to their family, friends and communities.

It is due to this fund that we have been able to have workshops, that have also allowed us to meet and interact with other young people and that has given people like Thamsanqa the opportunity to interact more with other young people in their communities. You are able to share ideas; about how they could help change their communities as young people and speak about the challenges they face and what we as Epic Youth Matters can do to help them and the skills we can teach them to go back into their communities to change things for the better.

Thamsanqa has become a more confident and outspoken. He has been able to encourage his peers to attend our workshops so they could be able to change how other young people saw their communities and the environment around them. The evidence of this has been hearing him share with others and his attendance at workshops. He has spread a lot of what his learned with people in his community and by us seeing them attend means that through him we have been able to get the attention of young people to attend. Thamsanqa is interested with working with his peers and getting them to want to become young honourable men who are respectful to others in the community and their environment.

The challenges that he has faced has been many see him as too young to be able to speak and understand on the topics he speaks on, especially to older people. The pandemic has also made it quite difficult to be able to be around many more people. We as Epic Youth Matters have made a safer space for people like Thamsanqa to be able to be in and able to gain as much information as possible.

Thamsanqa’s future plans are to get more young people to change the way they think and see their community. If more young people can get involved that means many communities have a chance to come out of the problems they are currently in.