The levels of crime and violence in South African communities remain disturbingly high, and continue to affect the youth in these communities. Contributing to the fight against this problem, Unicef SA, in partnership with UKAid, the Children’s Radio Foundation, Vuselela, the iSchool Press Team, the Youth Citizen Action Programme and the Department of Basic Education invited 40 young people from various parts of the Western Cape to discuss and unpack the prevalent issue of violence against children in South Africa.

The main purpose of the conference was to engage the youth on their personal experiences and opinions of violence in their immediate communities, schools and homes. The idea was for these youth to not only share their knowledge on how violence affects their communities and schools, but to also come up with practical solutions that can be implemented whilst covering violence on the various community radio platforms they are currently involved with. Unicef SA Celebrity Advocates, former Miss SA Jo-Ann Strauss, award-winning musician and producer Zakes Bantwini and award-winning songstress Tshedi Mholo delivered inspirational talks and facilitated panel discussions on the different forms of violence that South African children have to overcome on a daily basis.

Four years ago, Unicef SA formed a coorporation agreement with the Children’s Radio Foundation to establish the Young Reporters Network, a programme that affords young people from various communities in South Africa, the opportunity to tackle social issues in their communities through radio work.

These young reporters compile radio shows and reports that focus on social issues like gender-based violence in schools, bullying, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy and substance abuse. Through their radio shows, the young reporters are able to engage with their communities and help find solutions that can further prevent these issues from affecting their communities, while also empowering young people to have a voice and speak out through radio against any issues affecting them.

Radio personality Africa Melane and SABC Innovations Manager Natano Brache were also present to share their knowledge on how the participants can use radio and television skills as well as social media to better communicate about violence in their communities.

The conference gave the youth a platform to engage with each other and agree on the how vital communication and involvement from the community would be, in finding long term solutions to ending violence against children in South Africa.

Ndalo Media supports Unicef in promoting the rights and well-being of children. The partnership is an Ndalo Media corporate social initiative to raise awareness of protecting children through engagement activities. 

For more information, visit: www.unicef.org/southafrica.