The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation (AKF) Youth Leadership Camp will commence this week at one of South Africa’s most historic sites, Robben Island.
Forty young people from communities based in the south of Johannesburg will embark on the six-day camp, four of which will be spent on the Island itself.
While the Kathrada Foundation has previously conducted youth leadership camps to the Island, this year will be different. AKF Youth Coordinator, Kabelo Kemp, explained, “This year, young people have been selected from 10 communities where we aim to establish youth clubs. These clubs will see the launch of Ahmed Kathrada’s centenary project, which culminates in 2029. By then, we plan to have 100 youth clubs established as a tribute to the stalwart’s legacy. Hence, the young people on this trip will not only receive training on how to be community youth activists, but will also conceptualise how they would like to see the youth clubs structured, constituted and what type of issues these clubs would take up.”
Fellow AKF Youth Coordinator, Dawood Raphalalane, detailed the type of activities the youth would participate in during their stay on Robben Island. “Robben Island has a rich, yet painful history. We want those present to understand the type of sacrifices endured by the likes of Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Nelson Mandela and many others in achieving democracy. For the first time, we’ll be taking the youth on a night tour of the prison cells – an experience which very few would have had. Former warder Christo Brand will be accompanying the youth.”
Raphalalane added, “We also have a range of facilitators from various organisations such as the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation and Youth Lab, who will be joining us and engaging the group on topics related to leadership development and youth mobilisation and organisation. We’ll also be taking participants through an activism manual based on Kathrada’s life.”
Speaking about the trip, Kemp said that many of those who will be part of the camp have never been to Cape Town before, and almost none have previously visited the Island. “I think it will be an experience of a lifetime for the participants. While the programme is intense, there’ll be time for fun as well. As much as activism is about championing positive change, which requires dedicated and serious work, it should also be about building friendships across all sorts of barriers. If we look at the life of Kathrada and others, the friendships with fellow activists that they developed ‘in the trenches’ proved to be lifelong.”
Kemp added, “Supporters of the Foundation donated generously towards our youth work during our pledge line that we held just a few months ago on ITV, and we’d like to thank them for making this trip possible. We hope that our supporters and the broader public follow this journey with us. We’ll be posting updates regularly on our social media pages: @KathradaFound on Twitter, Ahmed Kathrada Foundation on Facebook and ahmed_kathrada_foundation on Instagram. Follow the hashtags: #KathradaLegacy and #AKFyouth.”