Monday, 23 February 2015

NAYD Speaks to NERDAfrica

We had the honour of speaking to the founder of The Network of Entrepreneurs, Readers, and Designers in Africa (NERDAfrica), Ms Tumelo Motaung.

NERDAfrica is a social enterprise dedicated to empowering youth and their communities through enterprise development, education and the arts, equipping them with tools to tackle challenges they face daily.

The name, NERDAfrica, seeks to reporpularise the culture of intellectualism among young people; to do away with ignorance and uphold the importance of education in realising the African Dream.

Here is what she had to say:
 
Q:Please tell us about how your Organization started:

A: The Network of Entrepreneur, Readers, and Designers in Africa (NERDAfrica) started at the end of 2013 as an impulsive move to bring people together for a greater, sustained good. There are so many people doing great things, really remarkable things. But so little of them are doing things together, and that is where we are weak as youth movements. Instead of working hand in hand to do more, we compete with each other. So with the network, I wanted to create links between young people, people in business, people in government, and the things they are all passionate about; things such as change. The approach we’ve taken at NERDafrica one that is specific to communities. We go into a community, find out what it is they need, and then gather manpower and resources to empower the community and assist them in building their vision.
 

Q: Which focus areas is it intended to address?

A: The mission of NERDAfrica is to build a network of young, intellectual leaders who are committed to development and economic participation on the African continent.

NERDAfrica strives to create platforms of collaboration between youth, youth organisations, government, and business. This long-term vision captures the central role young people play in shaping the future of Africa.
NERDAfrica's objectives are to unite young Africans behind efforts that:

1. Focus on community specific development projects
2. Foster sustainable relationships of collaboration
3. Use enterprise, education, and the arts to empower young people and their communities

Q: What inspires you to contribute to society and South Africa as a whole?

A: I love my country, I love my continent.  Love the people here, and I am always inspired by their struggles and triumphs. It is always so fascinating to observe a present born from a segregated past. How people get on with each day, how adaptive and progressive the South African nation is, how forgiving we are. It can’t always be easy, we see the setbacks every day. But it is the very fabric that holds the rainbow together, that is what inspires me to do something that will make it all better for all of us.
 

Q:  What would you consider South Africa's role to be in contributing to the Post-2015 development agenda?

A: I think South Africa is in a position to take up the reigns and lead the rest of Africa towards the goals outlined by the agenda. South Africa, and it’s people have been, as I said before, progressive over the past couple of years in contributing to the goals. I however believe that where we lack is most crucial, in education. Our education is not designed in such a way that the people of this country are empowered to take charge of their resources, to be in positions that directly impact on the development of areas such as healthcare and the eradication of poverty. The gap between the theory we learn at school and the practicalities we live with is still very large. I thus believe that the country should do more to improve literacy levels in the country.

Q: Do you have any projects coming up that NAYD members in South Africa could participate in:

A: In march of 2015, NERDAfrica will be involved in the InkFlow project, with is run by a young lady, Matokelo Magano. The programme falls under our education and arts portfolios, where we will be running a poetry, literature and debate competition with the aim of inspiring young people to use writing as a form of developmental expression.
In March, we will also be embarking on our very first call to action campaign, where we will be asking young people across the continent about their struggles and their triumphs. The campaign seeks to map out key issues in youth development, with an aim of gathering resources behind the initiatives to bring about change.
At the end of the year we will be handing over the very first library we have worked on at a rural school though Project Wonderland, a project aimed at improving literacy levels among young people. We are still collecting book donations for the primary school. Should NAYD members have books that are still in good condition that they would like to donate to the school, they should please contact me.

Q: In conclusion, please give us your favorite quote on development:

A: This is a tough one, but it will have to be the African proverb, “A single bracelet does not jingle.” This quote is a constant reminder that for us to make significant changes in our lives, we must find harmonious and sustainable ways of working together.

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