#YouthMonth: Celebrating Local Youth Empowerment (Masonwabe Tikana)

Story: Masonwabe Tikana | 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.

Masonwabe Tikana, Director Planning and Economic Development, shares his experience:

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

A: I was born and raised in the rural areas of Lady Frere, specifically Boqo Village in VaalBank. Coming from a very disadvantaged family, I grew up in an environment where education was not a common pursuit. Despite these challenges, my family instilled great values in me, which played a crucial role in shaping my path. I became one of the few in my age group to pass matric with the minimum requirements for admission to a bachelor’s degree and the first to obtain a master’s degree. My journey is a testament to perseverance and the values imparted by my family.

I hold a Master of Town and Regional Planning from the University of Pretoria (2023), a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Development Studies from UNISA (2021), a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies from UNISA (2018), and a National Diploma in Tourism Management from Walter Sisulu University (2013). I have been admitted to pursue a Doctoral Degree in Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. My dream is to have diverse educational qualifications to enhance my contribution to local government and community development.

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 through the Daily Dispatch. The timing was perfect as I was looking for a senior management position.

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

A: Being a senior manager allows me to be part of the decision-making process, make significant strides in improving the local economy, and create a conducive environment for local businesses. This role aligns perfectly with my passion for local economic development and community improvement. It also allows me to contribute to municipal planning, performance management, spatial planning, and human settlement.

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

A: I have developed and improved several skills, including collaboration in a diverse environment and strategic planning. Working with a respected municipal manager has enhanced my leadership and advanced problem-solving skills, contributing significantly to my professional growth.

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

A: Youth Month reminds me of the importance of empowering young people. I believe in youth emancipation and creating opportunities for young people to thrive. By investing in our youth, we are building a bright future for all.

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

A: Although I joined the organisation only a month ago, I am confident that my efforts will soon lead to significant milestones and positive changes in the community. I look forward to sharing the progress and impact in the future.

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: Young people should remain vigilant for opportunities and cultivate their interests while being open to new experiences. Education is key and supports career growth, but self-employment is also essential as not everyone will be employed. Pursue careers in line with your position to enhance upward mobility, and be vigilant for capacity-building programs and funding opportunities.