Vuk talks to the people

Thursday, June 1, 2023

By Anele Zikali 

Vuk’uzenzele Newspaper recently had the opportunity to engage young people through its Vuk Talks initiative which was set under the theme of encouraging the youth to join the artisanship sector.

Set under the theme ‘Decade of the Artisan’ the Vuk Talks were held at the Ehlanzeni Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) College in kaMqhekeza, Mpumalanga.

Vuk Talks is a community engagement that is carried out by the Vuk’uzenzele Newspaper whereby the publication interacts with communities, readers and organisations that assist in community development.

The Decade of the Artisan is an initiative of the Department of Higher Education and Training which promotes artisanship as a career of choice for young people. The department aims to produce 30 000 qualified artisans per year.

The theme sparked interest in how young people can embrace the idea of entrepreneurship within the artisanship sector.

The Vuk Talks started with a vibrant youth engagement session which included speakers from the artisan space and the Ehlanzeni TVET College officials.

Tembo Engineering owner, Shocky Nengovhela, who was a speaker at the event encouraged the youth to approach their studies with a view to becoming employers.

“We are a generation of [people with an] education with no jobs. We wanted to go to school to get jobs. Can we go to school to create jobs now. Can we aim to be self-employed or to be employers,” said Nengovhela.

Nengovhela, who holds a BTech in Mechanical Engineering from Tshwane University of Technology, said she gave up her job to chase her dream of leading a mechanical engineering company.

Her company currently employs 12 artisans.

Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Acting Director-General Michael Currin said the events took place at an opportune time, a few days before the 2023 Youth Month.

“Government understands the challenges faced by the youth. We are listening and employing all possible means to ensure that even in the face of the shrinking job market, young people are empowered to do something to support themselves and their families. We aim to build a network of young people who are driving change in their communities,” said Currin. 

Bringing services to the people

Meanwhile, the GCIS also held a Government Exhibition Day for the community of KaMaqhekeza.

The Vuk Talks and the Government Exhibition Day are part of government’s commitment to ensure that South African citizens are empowered with government information. 

The Government Exhibition had more than 20 government departments and agencies that brought their services to the people of KaMaqhekeza.

There was a positive response to the event as community members gathered in their numbers to receive government services. 

The mobile trucks from the Department of Home Affairs and Department of Employment and Labour had people lined up from the morning to the afternoon.

Ntombi Mavimbela, a resident of KaMaqhekeza, was pleased to have received services in her community.

“I am very happy that I get to be helped by the Department of Home Affairs and Unemployment Insurance Fund from the Department of Labour in one day,” said an excited Mavimbela.

The GCIS hosts these exhibitions quarterly, covering different provinces as a way of ensuring that citizens have access to government information and services in an integrated manner. 

"Like many communities in South Africa, KaMaqhekeza has a high youth unemployment rate, and as we approach Youth Month, we want to ensure that we leave no one behind and that information and services reach the people where they are,” concluded Currin. –

*This story first appeared in the Vuk’uzenzele Newspaper