Project lead & managers: Rory Liedeman & Nava Derakhshani
This June 2016 we have launched our youth and leisure project. This is part of a series of projects funded by Distell CSI focussing on liquor harm reduction. This phase of the project has been amicably named YOLO_ekasi and aims to give youth a voice in their own experiences of leisure and consumption. The project aims to respond to current policy debates on liquor control and the harmful effects of youth drinking. In this debate, youth have not been afforded a policy voice and instead, stakeholders speak for the youth and present them as either helpless victims or unruly rebels. SLF aims to explore these issues from the youths’ perspective.
The intention is to empower the youth with a ‘voice’ through participatory engagement and knowledge dissemination tools. It is building on SLF’s previous success in affording marginalized citizens a voice through digital stories and photographs.
Since inception the project has established a cohort of 20 youth recruited through an open and iterative process via a Facebook group, library visits and face to face engagements as well as working within established youth group networks. Youth have been in a series of workshops to introduce them to the project and to get an overview of the process.
A core mixed race and gender group of 10 youth have subsequently been guided through a photo-voice training process and are currently engaged in their own research documenting youth leisure activities in the township using the new skills they have learnt. Photos and commentary are being uploaded and produced weekly on their YOLO_ekasi Facebook page based on prompts developed by facilitators.
In addition to nurturing relationships with(in) the group of youth, the project seeks to create powerful engagement opportunities through the use of their visual outputs and commentary. The project is progressing toward an engagement event scheduled for early November with stakeholders who are invested in the development of township youth.
*#YOLO is a common colloquial hashtag used by youth globally meaning “you only live once” and is usually used in instances of fun which may involve some risk. The work Kasi derives its meaning and use from tsotsi taal (or township gangster language); it resounds with both isiXhosa and isiZulu and when translated into English it literally means “the township”. With the prefix “e” the words suggests something “in the township”. #YOLO_ekasi therefore attempts to utilise a mixture of local terminology and popular language in the creation of its branding.