Youth Day 2018 Creative Symposium: Re-Imagining Democracy: in search of silenced voices

We are delighted to announce the finalists of the 2018 South African Youth Day  Creative Symposium! After a very difficult selection process, nice amazing young artists were selected as finalists to get the chance to be featured in the 2018 State of Civil Society Report and receive a cash prize of up to 6,000R that can be donated to the organisation or cause of their choice.

To help them win,  please vote for your favorite artist before June 10 and if you are in Johannesburg,  join them at an open mic event on Saturday 16 June from 9:00 am to 13:00 at the ASRI where they will showcase their work. 

To RSVP for the event please complete this form 

For the third time this year, the Youth Day Celebration is run in collaboration with members of CIVICUS Youth Working Group in South Africa– in 2018 we partnered with Emerging Leaders in Internet Governance (ELIG-SA) and Woke Project.

The online general public vote will represent a 60% of the final evaluation score to select the top 2 in each category. The remaining 40% will be based on the audience reception and the selected judging panel present at the Youth Day open mic celebration on Saturday 16 June in Johannesburg.

To vote go to our Facebook and Twitter pages.

And the finalists are: 


Eyethu Mfazwe: “Silenced youth wanting to be unsilenced” 

Eyethu Mfazwe

“Silenced youth wanting to be unsilenced” is about how the youth of today are looked down upon by people who are not youth. This poem talks about the potential of youth and the amazing things today's youth has done.

How does youth action in South Africa amplify democracy principles and practices in the country?

"I believe youth action amplifies democracy principles and perspectives in South Africa by fighting for the rights of the youth and equality. Mostly through protests. For example, university students marching for a free tertiary education in the Fees Must Fall movement over the past two years. The Department of Higher Education has been forced to prioritize a new fees model for tertiary education. This fees model is to accommodate students from all walks of life.  Youth action has gotten our government to act on the rights stipulated in our Bill of Rights. It has also forced the government to consider the youth’s freedom of expression as allowed in our democratic state." - Eyethu


 Like/Share/Retweet to Vote for Eyethu on Facebook and Twitter.

Kholwani Ndhlovu: "Ipassa"

Ipassa” is the story about the lives of asylum applicants in Johannesburg. Detailing the experience and helping the reader see things from the perspective of one who has lived it. The Main aim of Ipassa is to hold a mirror up to those in the majority to show what rules created to suit the majority can become a targeted weapon against minorities. In the work I seek to expose the unspoken truth about the condition of the new minority that is foreign nationals.

How does youth action in South Africa amplify democracy principles and practices in the country?

"It would seem to me that the youth would be the main driver of democracy in South Africa. It is the youth in the concerted use of social media and public space to allow for the sharing of diverse ideas. The millennial generation is a prime example as they have shown the ability to change and impact democracy across the globe. A prime example could be the Arab spring and The Fees must fall movement." Kholwani   @KholwaniNdhlovu

Like/Share/Retweet to vote for Kholwani on Facebook and Twitter


Mzungawi Mizo Maclean: Was it ever real?


The art piece “Was it ever real” is inspired by a concern that rose in the author's mind. The youth is concerned about not being able to freely express themselves because they fear being judged by their peers and community. They’re concerned about not being able to tell a story not because of shyness or lack of self esteem but because how the community might receive and give feedback in a form or judgement.

The youth has a variety of platforms to freely express themselves to their heart's content and that is through dance, poetry, painting/drawing, music etc. This art piece comes from the very core of my heart and it involves the story of a young girl who spent her last days making the world a better place through her angelic voice. She spent her days in loneliness with nobody to talk to and at the same time she was dying in sickness. She dedicated her last strength to pour her heart out and sing to the world around her. The city listened to her voice and it filled their hearts with warmth. This is what we as youth need to do, to live to serve one another, to tell a story through the gifts and talents that God has placed within us.

The art piece relates to the Reimagining Democracy because we need to start using more “we” in our sentences and less of “I”. We as youth need to serve each other. We need to be thoughtful of each other’s lives and work together as a community. A famous saying goes “The greatest in the Kingdom is the one who serves” The gaps between our fingers are meant for filling so let us hold each with gladness in our hearts and serve. @Jiggymizo

Like/Share/Retweet to vote for Mzungawi on Facebook and Twitter


Siphesihle Mnisi, Refilwe Mametja and Pako Thobakgale: “The Battle for Africa

Rise Club

The Battle for Africa historicizes and reimagines the complex psychosocial and socio-economic factors that the Phenomenal Rise club see’s their peers struggling with every day, the Clubs response to this historical injustice is to re-enchant their peers and draw them away from the negativity of young people’s exposure to vulnerability and risk.

How does youth action in South Africa amplify democracy principles and practices in the country?

The Nellmapius Phenomenal Rise Club believes that taking action at school (Nellmapius Secondary School) creates a space where they can explore the risk factors that make adolescent boys and girls vulnerable to HIV, teen pregnancy, violence and other social ills in our society. As a club they recognize that young women and girls are also at risk through high risk behaviours such as transactional and age disparate sex, and as such they seek to RISE the voices of their peers and contribute towards the democratic development of responsive social support structures. 

Like/Share/Retweet to vote for Siphesihle, Refilwe and Pako on Facebook and Twitter


Malwande Mthethwa: “Never The Subject


My main inspiration was a documentary "In and Out of Africa" published in 2004. My piece is an attempt to understand or explain why as Africans we often feel we cannot take charge of our own narratives. We have forever been objects because in many ways that is the only position we have been afforded. The greater question is "how do we move from that?" Never The Subject speaks of acknowledgement. I truly believe that the first step to creating solutions is to recognize the problems. The journey to solution and change begins when we accept the flaws. Often, especially as young people, we tend to want to quickly see results. We quickly want to see the day when we can all be equals. However, how will we get there if we fear the process? I believe the beginning of that process is to say “yes, there is a problem”. Someone once told me “if you cannot name it, you cannot overcome it.” My piece tries to acknowledge a flawed, hierarchical system with generational consequences, such as power and racial dynamics as well as inequalities in our country.  

How does youth action in South Africa amplify democracy principles and practices in the country?

"I am honestly not too sure how best to answer this question. I think as the youth in today’s time we are fortunate enough to have many more resources than the youth of previous generations. We have technology and more access to knowledge. As much as access to formal education is still limited, we have opportunities to create new theories and ask questions. In recent years youth action has become more open than ever as young people realize that their voice matters. This is a manner to amplify democracy principles through youth action. This action although in most cases begins in public protest, needs to lead to action plans and processes in order for us to reimagine democracy in our nation." @malwande.mthethwa

Like/Share/Retweet to vote for Malwande on Facebook and Twitter


Cay-Low Mbedzi: Unity

Cay Low“Unity” speaks about bringing people from different groups (races and gender) together which can then allow one to practice his or her democratic rights without fear so in this sense unity is then the key to strengthen and deepen democracy .

How does youth action in South Africa amplify democracy principles and practices in the country?

"It allows for a participatory democracy in which the voice of young people can be used as a tool to change and shape policy and direction. When the youth decides on its fate, democracy is uplifted and positive contribution and solutions are brought together to impact societies."  @caylee

Like/Share/Retweet to vote for Cay-Low on Facebook and Twitter


Refilwe Mosiane: "Mosadi o tswara thipa ka bogaleng"

RefilweI choose mama Winnie's youthful power stance. It mural that should encourage the youth of today to know their rights and to speak out.


Like/Share/Retweet to vote for Refilwe on Facebook and Twitter



Tebogo Chologi, a.k.a. Mrembola: "One for the Ghetto"

TebogoIs a story about people stealing anti-retroviral medication designated for HIV/AIDS infected people to use as drugs. It is a stolen right to access to treatment for HIV/AIDS.One for the Ghetto” relates to reimagines democracy in the sense that in a democratic environment, people have a right to access to health care and other basic services, yet there are criminal elements “stealing one’s democratic right” in this instance by stealing a youth’s anti-retroviral medication, therefore denying him his basic rights in terms of the Bill of Rights in a democratic country.

How does youth action in South Africa amplify democracy principles and practices in the country?

"Youth, have a powerful vocal cord to voice their opinions and ideas through various platforms on how to run a democracy and how to contribute to the community and the country at large to make sure that whatever their inputs, it will assist in making South Africa a better place for all, and in particular themselves as youth, to prosper in a democratic environment.  Youth in action can positively create environments that are economically and socially uplifting for all participants where youth gather themselves to create job opportunities, sustainable living environments and caring communities. The youth’s voice must never be undermined as they are the future of a democratic country and should therefore always be listened to." - Tebogo @tchologi

Like/Share/Retweet to vote for Tebogo on Facebook and Twitter


FeleI wrote this song based on my daily struggles as a young black female and i was surprised at how different people from different backgrounds connected to it.  I would like to think all of my work expresses, comments and reacts to ubiquitous problems and injustices that the youth is currently facing, from ism's and phobias to everyday life as youth in South Africa. The same can be said for Colours which comments on the idea of democracy and equality in our country and how we have come far from apartheid but we tend to over look the negative things, just to keep the image of the rainbow nation. The song is filled with metaphors that are meant to make the listener rethink the events that happen around them. This relates to the theme of Re-imagining democracy in terms of removing the rose coloured glasses and see ourselves as we are, so we are really able to work through our issues as a country.

How does youth action in South Africa amplify democracy principles and practices in the country?

"With the youth connecting with each other and the world, using social media and the internet, it as become easy to talk to and understand a lot of people from different backgrounds, race groups, or even religions. This allows us as the youth to open up to unfamiliar beliefs and ideologies which creates social acceptance and tolerance, respect each others rights. The internet has made it hard to be indifferent, and it has became a great to voice injustices and fight for our rights. This makes everyone want to educate themselves about our country's democracy and motivate them to make up they own opinion about issues or even make moves to educate and help others voice themselves."- Fele

Like/Share/Retweet to vote for Fele on Facebook and Twitter



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