Miss SA praises Nelson Mandela Bay youth centre’s work

More organisations should emulate Khayalethu’s example in making men aware of gender equality, says Musida

Miss SA Shudufhadzo Musida at the Khayalethu Youth Centre to hand over R55,000 worth of items donated by The Boardwalk
WORTHY CAUSE: Miss SA Shudufhadzo Musida at the Khayalethu Youth Centre to hand over R55,000 worth of items donated by The Boardwalk
Image: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

“More places like the Khayalethu Youth Centre are needed in SA.”

These were the words of Miss SA Shudufhadzo Musida, who visited the Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) centre at the weekend for a handover of school donations worth R55,000.

The handover was made possible by the Sun international Boardwalk in partnership with the Eastern Cape department of social development.

 The Khayalethu Youth Centre provides intervention programmes and alternative care for 35 former street children between the ages four and 18.

On Saturday, Musida said her first visit to the Eastern Cape reminded her of home. She said residents of the Friendly City were kind and humble.

Musida, who has been a vocal supporter of the fight against gender-based violence, said a balanced focus was needed on the roles of different genders as demonstrated by the centre. . 

“More places like the Khayalethu Youth Centre are needed in SA,” she said.

“We often focus on the girl child. We often teach our young girls how not to become victims, instead of teaching men how not to make women victims.

“We do not teach men accountability, we do not teach them responsibility, we do not teach them respect and kindness towards women, we do not teach them about the equality of the sexes, but we expect them to not have this entitlement that they have when they grow older.

“If we raise men like the Khayalethu Youth Centre is doing, we will be raising a generation of accountable, respectable young men,” Musida said.

Khayalethu Youth Centre director Dr Marietjie van der Merwe said their move from North End to Kragga Kamma had helped distance the young boys from drug dealers in the area.

“The centre started in 1996,” she said.

“There was a need for a place that could help boys who were on the street or did not have anywhere else to go.

“They go to school, and we have a separate programme for them when they are 18.

“We do their drivers licences, they still stay here, we get them involved with companies, and once they have a permanent job [they move].”

Sun international Boardwalk general manager Tati Tsunke said his organisation had recognised the challenging work the centre did with the limited resources it had and opted to assist.

“Since its inception the Boardwalk has recognised its success and sustainability not only depended on the ability to deliver great entertainment facilities in the Bay, but it also on our ability to help build sustainable communities.

“We know for the community to be sustainable not only do girls need support, but also boys, and to this end the Boardwalk invests where possible towards community upliftment projects that are close to its heart,” Tsunke said.

Among the other people in attendance at the event were National Assembly ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina, Eastern Cape social development MEC Siphokazi Mani-Lusithi and Nelson Mandela Bay municipality deputy mayor Thsonono Buyeye.

Mani-Lusithi said the handover showed great things could happen when the government partnered with the private sector.

“As the department we have programmes for behavioural change that are targeting the boy child, because we want to raise men who will be different from the men we have today,” Mani-Lusithi said.

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