by Simangele Mzizi
Twenty three South African youth, ages 20 to 29 participated in the first ever Yithi Laba Youth Conference, held on 5 to 7 June 2015 at Constitution Hill in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. The three day conference aimed at skills and knowledge sharing among the participants, as well as learning about the constitution was a huge success, with many thought provoking presentations and a great amount of interaction among the attendees.
The Yithi Laba Conference is the brainchild of the renowned photographer and visual activist, Zanele Muholi, who is also the founder of Inkanyiso, an online platform for queer activism. Muholi says it pains her to see many young lesbians not progressing, especially when they have so much potential and opportunities available to them.
“I want black lesbians to exchange skills and better their lives. I want them to share, listen and learn from each other,” said Muholi.
She added, “as we celebrate 21 years of democracy, I want all the participants in the Faces and Phases project to remember how to be human again, they need to work together, the world is their oyster.”
During the first day of the gathering, the participants, who are also part of Muholi’s Faces and Phases project were taken on a tour of Constitution Hill. The venue has a rich history and Inkanyiso, the organisers of the conference wanted the participants to learn about the heritage site and its significance, especially because the conference was also aimed at celebrating 21 years of democracy in South Africa.
On the second day of the conference, there were robust discussions on a number of issues and attendees were given an opportunity to share their knowledge in order to uplift each other as black lesbians, coming from different parts of South Africa.
On day three, the last day of the conference, participants shared their skills and opened up about what they do in their everyday lives. It emerged that each and every participant had something great to offer. The group consisted of writers, visual artists, photographers, poets, singers, engineers, sports managers, film makers, fashion designers and students.
About the author
Simangele Siphesihle Mzizi is a 20 something year old writer, social media and content marketing junkie.
She’s been in the media industry for more than five years. During this time, she’s worked as an online journalist, has been in the non-profit sector (LGBTI sector). She’s also worked in television for one of the 24-hour news channels in South Africa and has experience in the business to business sector.
Her path has led her to a content and communications agency, she’s using the experience she’s gained over the years to help companies create compelling content for the people they want to speak to. This Durbanite still believes in the power of words and their ability to change people’s lives. When she’s not reading, creating amazing content or listening to talk radio, she takes the time to indulge in her other interests like fashion, watching sports or movies and photography.