South African Diaspora Youth Group Team 

Brand South Africa SA Diaspora United Youth Dialogue



26 JUNE 2015

The question “What are the top three things that come into your mind when you think of South Africa” was asked to the young people who gathered at South Africa House on 26 June 2015. Their responses varied as follows:
• Diversity
• Opportunity
• Peaceful
• Nyaope ( the drug prevalent among young people in South Africa)
• Poverty
• Housing
• Crime
• Unemployment
• Nkandla
• Loss of identity
• Youth unemployment
• Wild Life
• Racism
• Xenophobia
• Corruption
• Culture of Me! Me! Me!
• Talent but lack of Opportunity
• Music
• Great DJ’s

The young people said that the 3 top words that you get when you Google South Africa are:
Nkandla. Marikana. Corruption.

Five themes emerged from the discussions: Youth playing a role in their communities, Culture, African Identity , Education and Skills Development and Freedom.

1.Youth playing a role in their communities

Brand South Africa informed the South African Youth abroad about the “Play Your Part” campaign. The Youth were encouraged to play a meaningful role in their immediate communities and to think of ways of assisting in South Africa as well. It was encouraging to see that some young people are thinking about helping other young people at home (SA) as evidenced by a young soccer player who expressed his willingness to plough back through football. Other young people were encouraged by the Chairperson of SA Diaspora United to volunteer to assist South African Home Affairs in the UK. The young people put their names. As Brand SA we also asked young people to make pledges of what they would do in their communities, which they did.

On culture, the young people stressed that ‘charity begins at home’ and urged that older people and their own parents be role models that they can look up to. They emphasized that government should not carry the burden of teaching about morals and values, saying that ‘it should start at home’. They said “government should not carry the blame for what should have happened at home”. The young people have, in their observation seen that South Africans prefer something outside South Africa instead of what South Africa has.

3.African Identity
One young person amongst the attendees said ‘What others think of you is not who you should become’. He says that when he went to South Africa, South Africa was not as bad as it has been portrayed in the media. On being African, the young people had a strong sense of an African identity. They indicated that being out of South Africa they have interacted with a number of Africans from other countries. Thus, in their eyes, they see themselves as sharing the same identity as other Africans. “Be Proud of your culture. Teach others and they will respect you” are some of the nuggets that came from the young people.

4.Education and Skills Development
“A degree does not equal intelligence” said one young person. They highlighted that parents seem to think that for one to be educated they needed a degree. They expressed a reluctance from their parents to consider the Arts as a viable career – as a result they find themselves at a crossroads – where they want to pursue creative careers and their parents want them to pursue academic degrees. They summarised it as “parents don’t support talent”. The young people saw linkages between education+ character+ integrity. They indicated that “education without character and integrity amount to nothing”.

The young people appreciated that the South African High Commission opened its doors for them on the day. Some of them were inside SA House for the first time in their lives.  They reflected on how people paid a price through their blood being spilled for young people to be able to set foot in the SA House building. Further reflections highlighted that in the past black South Africans were not allowed to enter SA House in London.  Others indicated that South Africa is free but there is still a lot of external influence in the affairs of the country. Another quote by a young person who was attending: “sometimes you are free to do everything but not everything that you do is free brings freedom “

Other “soundbites” that came from the discussions:

“ An African problem is a South African problem”
“The opinions of others should not be your reality”
“The seeds of today are the flowers of tomorrow”
“The war that South Africa faces is that of betterment of the country and its people”
“People who use the drug Nyaope are the dead walking”


    • The South African Diaspora United will add a YOUTH page in its website. This page should be managed by the young people and should address their issues.

    • South African young people in the Diaspora should give back to South Africa in every way that they can however little.

    • Brand South Africa will profile those young people who are making a difference. We will start by profiling an older South African who is teaching young people tennis as a sport in his spare time.

    • In 2016 there must be a brochure that profiles South African Youth in the UK ‘playing their part’ between now (June 2015) and the next Youth Month (June 2016).