Adolescent dying in taverns is an outcry for safe spaces

South Africa made international news on the 6th of July 2022 “Children as young as 13 among 22 killed in South African tavern incident”. This reality was a slap in our face and a call for us all to act. On Thursday, 14 July 2022 Show Me Your Number podcast we addressed “the importance of safe spaces in our communities” (click to listen to Lenaneo La Batsha Podcast). According to the Oxford dictionary, a safe space is “a place or environment in which a person or people of diversity can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm.”

Caption: Discussion about the need for safe space in Bojanala

In South Africa, adolescents aged 10-19 represent a significant proportion of the population at 17,4%. Show Me Your Number has been entrusted to set up 6 satellite and fixed safe spaces in the Bojanala district that they will be operating from 2022 – 2025. We could never claim that we will have the capacity to change the status quo of all the youth in Bojanala, but we can promise that the adolescent will not meet the same fate as those in East London.

We will create these hubs to attract teenagers and youth through fun, recreational programs, and interactive media. They will be a place of safety with no stigma or discrimination for all vulnerable in the respective communities. They provide an opportunity to connect with others who may be facing similar challenges. This connection can make them feel less isolated and help them develop more effective coping mechanisms – support clubs. We will invite all members of the community and stakeholders when we announce the launch of our safe spaces in the following townships:

  1. Lethabong
  2. Boitekong
  3. Bethani
  4. Freedom Park
  5. Rankelenyane
  6. Meriting

Teenagers are taught by parents to avoid pit falls however we know that we all learn a great deal from stumbling. The AYP out-of-school program is designed to remind each person that they are born with the tools to succeed. Social Worker, Phemelo Seswai, said, “As civil society, we need to do more at the local level. We have a team ready to provide biomedical, behavioral, and psycho-social interventions. Our adolescents are not going to the normal facilities, and we need to drive demand for health care again in our area. We can only do this by creating these safe spaces where hope lives and dreams become a reality.”

 

Programme: AFSA – AYP – Adolescent & Young Persons

Author: Palesa Komane, Community Engagement Supervisor

Date: Tuesday, 19 July 2022

For queries contact
Refiloe Menoe on 078 400 3182
Palesa Komane on 081 373 3109