Through Arts and Imagination: 2018 Youth Day Celebration - in search of silenced voices

Youth Arts Contest Seeks Out Silenced Voices to Reimagine Democracy

Johannesburg, 18 April 2018 - What kind of country would South Africa be today if young people had not first raised their voices and taken action more than three decades ago?

And today, how can the many silenced voices of youth be heard, to express a vision for the kind of democracy they desire?

‘Through Arts and Imagination’ is a newly launched contest seeking bold and original creative arts - music, poetry, art, media – that present youth perspectives on “re-imagining democracy.” To celebrate Youth Day on 16 June, the Youth Working Group of CIVICUS, a global civil society alliance, in partnership with Emerging Leaders in Internet Governance (ELIG) and Woke Project have kicked off the contest in search of silenced voices.

“In a world in which our democracy and fundamental freedoms are under increasing threat, a world where the voices of young people are silenced and marginalised, we believe that it is up to this generation to re-imagine the democracy we want to live in,” said Elisa Novoa, of the CIVICUS Youth Working Group.

“And what better way to give voice to that mission, and draw out the best that youth have to offer than through a creative arts contest,” Novoa said.

The contest will culminate in a creative symposium of young voices held in 16 June, under the theme “Re-imagining Democracy: in search of silenced voices.”

Youth are crucial to development, change and growth. And the arts have always played a critical role in the struggle for freedom, human rights and democracy.  This symposium will engage the voices of young people through the creative arts - to speak your truth and share your vision for the world they want to live and grow in. Youth voices and the contributions of young people towards social change are vital.

About the Contest

Are you:

Creative, original and eager to share your unique perspective on how we can re-imagine our democracy today?
Living to the beat of your own drum, in a world where your voice is misunderstood?
Then, this is your chance to share your vision and be heard.
For too long we have lived in silence and fear of being judged.
The creative arts - music, poetry, art, media - reach across all language barriers to connect with millions of people.

Share your written, visual or multimedia arts, to be judged in the following categories:

Art Categories

  • Written arts: poems, short stories, essays (500 words max.)
  • Visual arts: drawings, cartoons, paintings
  • Multimedia arts: short films (2min max), songs


  1. The top 15 artists selected will be awarded an all-expenses-paid one-day workshop on storytelling and digital security, run by CIVICUS, in Johannesburg, on Friday 15 June 2018.
  2. The top 2 symposium participants selected in each art category also will win a cash prize - with 50% of the prize money going to the artist personally and the other 50% going to an organisation of their choice, as a donation. The 1st and 2nd place winners will also be awarded fee-waived voting membership to CIVICUS (after following the regular voting membership registration procedure).

•             1st place prize: R6,000

•             2nd place prize: R3,600

  1. The best three (3) submissions (the first place winners of each category) will be published in the online 2018 State of Civil Society Report.

Participants Eligibility

Authors must:

• Be 30 or under by 16 June 2018

• Be based in South Africa

• Meet the deadline (30th April 2018)

• Submit one application per person

• Submit Original content

• Submit in any of the 11 South African official languages

Please submit your application by filling in this form:
The deadline for submissions is 30th April 2018.

For any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at


Say something here...
You are a guest
or post as a guest
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.

Be the first to comment.