30 Apr
  • By Jess Drewett

Looking Back at the YOLO_Ekasi Exhibition in Photographs

The YOLO_ekasi project worked with youth from various townships in Cape Town, including Delft and Phillipi. During the project, the voice of youth was expressed through their own words, photographs and illustrations. Using a Photovoice process and wave of engagement, the YOLO_ekasi project has generated photographs and critical thinking on the leisure activities of young South Africans and in particular the role that liquor consumption fulfils in influencing leisure experiences.


To finalize the project, SLF and the YOLO_ekasi youth group hosted an exhibition in the Delft Civic Centre in mid-November, which was attended by various stakeholders, including participants’ family and friends, Delft community members and leaders, interested local youth community-based organizations, potential funders, and a few key policy makers from the Western Cape Government and Department of the Premier who are actively engaging with the Alcohol Harms Reduction Game Changer Delivery Unit. The project has come to a close, but the youth remain in contact, both to each other and to the YOLO_ekasi facilitators. They continue to share images and support one another through social media.


Below are a series of images summarizing and showing the sequence of the event (hover over each image to see a description).



In this intervention, SLF has made a crucial shift towards learning about alcohol consumption habits directly from a group of township youth who would normally be considered to be at risk and in harm’s way in a township setting. Our work has made a conscious effort to explore their attitudes and experiences of recreation, and in particular, the consumption of liquor in various spaces and participation in public drinking venues. The project has successfully considered youth attitudes towards liquor consumption and views on appropriate and inappropriate social behaviour. It is hoped that the voices of the youth will be taken seriously and that policy makers will actively engage youth in decisions pertaining to them.


An important future step and objective is to consider how to use this newly acquired knowledge (developed with and by young South Africans) to generate a more inclusive discussion with decision makers on how best to promote responsible socialization in youth’s leisure experiences and in an effort to reduce liquor harms. YOLO_ekasi therefore presents an opportunity for further developing alcohol harm reduction strategies and programmes. It is a particularly effective and practical messaging intervention that engages young adults on key, often sensitive and provocative leisure time and other social issues in a township context.


Words: Nava Derakhshani and Rory Leideman

Images: Caitlin Tonkin and Joanna Wheeler

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