#YouthMonth: Celebrating Local Youth Empowerment (Relebohile Majola)

Story: Relebohile Majola | Photo: Supplied

Walter Sisulu Local Municipality (WSLM) emphasizes the significance of Youth Month by highlighting the contributions and experiences of the local youth employed by the municipality.

Relebohile Majola, Intern, Office of the Speaker, shares her experience:

Q: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

A: My name is Relebohile Princess Majola, born and bred in Aliwal North. I began my academic journey at Pelomosa Primary School and then went to Egqili Secondary School until grade 12, but unfortunately, I did not pass my matriculation exams. Failing matric was a huge setback, but I refused to let it define my future. Inspired by my former grade 12 physical sciences teacher Mr Du Toit's quote, “many are called but few are chosen,” I decided to rewrite the subjects I had failed and eventually passed my matric. I then enrolled at public TVET colleges, where I obtained a National Certificate in Logistics and Transportation Management from Motheo TVET College and a National (N6) Certificate in Public Management from Ikhala TVET College. I am currently serving as a Public Participation Intern in the Office of the Speaker at Walter Sisulu Local Municipality, working towards completing my National N Diploma in Public Management. I was fortunate to be among the learners who were awarded a chance to gain practical experience through a program by Ubuntu Institute in collaboration with FASSET and WSLM as our host employer. This program became my saving grace as I had been struggling to get an internship since 2020 after completing my qualification.

Q: How did you first learn about the employment opportunities offered by the Walter Sisulu Local Municipality?

A: I first learned about the employment opportunities at WSLM through word of mouth when I was in dire need of experiential training. I submitted my Curriculum Vitae to be captured on their database, which resulted in me scoring an internship at the municipality through their collaboration. Additionally, Sandra Koyana, the program manager of Ubuntu Institute, had advertised the internship opportunity on her personal profile on Facebook and other social platforms of their business, making the application process smooth.

Q: How has working for the municipality contributed to your personal and professional growth?

A: Personal Growth: Gaining first-hand experience in how local government operates has allowed me to apply my academic knowledge in a practical setting, enhancing my skills in public management and understanding of public participation processes. I’ve gained a deeper understanding of the social and economic factors within my community, enriching my worldview and strengthening my ability to empathize with others.

Professional Growth: As an intern in the Office of the Speaker, I’ve developed a better understanding of the system of laws, regulations, and principles that govern our society and the role of the Speaker's office in this context. Regular interactions with elected officials, staff, and the public have improved my communication, negotiation, and public speaking skills. I’ve also built a professional network that can be beneficial for future career prospects.

Q: What skills have you developed or improved upon since you started working with the municipality?

A: Since beginning my internship, I’ve significantly improved my communication skills, enabling me to express my views and concerns more effectively. I’ve also learned the importance of teamwork and collaboration to achieve common goals.

Q: What does Youth Month and Youth Day (June 16) mean to you personally?

A: Youth Month and Youth Day (June 16) are times to reflect on the courage and sacrifice of the youth of 1976 during the Soweto Uprising and to celebrate the progress made since then. These days are about channelling the spirit of the past into the energy of the present, continuing to advocate for the rights and opportunities of young people. They inspire current and future generations to be proactive in their communities and strive for a society where everyone has the chance to succeed. Youth Month and Youth Day remind us of the power of youth as agents of change and the importance of their involvement in shaping society.

Q: How do you feel your work has impacted the community within the Walter Sisulu Local Municipality?

A: By assisting in the Office of the Speaker, I believe I have played a role in community engagement by facilitating communication between the municipality and its residents, ensuring that community concerns and suggestions are heard and considered.

Q: What advice would you give to other young people in the community who are seeking employment or development opportunities, especially during Youth Month?

A: Since employment opportunities are limited, I advise young people with a passion for entrepreneurship to start their own businesses. This can be a pathway to personal and professional growth, allowing them to create their opportunities and contribute to the community's economic development.