Fiona Furey, Campaign Manager with the South African New7Wonders of Nature Finalist, Table Mountain, is excited. She’s just about to start an initiative to coincide with Youth Day in South Africa that will combine computer literacy with awareness of the New7Wonders of Nature campaign. Youth Day, by the way, is a public holiday that commemorates those who died in the 16 June 1976 Soweto uprising. Furey felt that it would be an apt date on which to launch the “Township” leg of the Table Mountain campaign.
“There are an estimated 1.5 million people living in Khayelitsha alone with a further 1.5 million in the other townships on the Cape Flats,” says Furey. We want to bring the campaign to the youth in the townships. Until now these young people have not been able to vote because they do not have access to the internet, a lot of them don’t have basic computed skills and very often do not have e-mail addresses. Schools in these areas don’t have computer labs, there are many children in the townships who have never used a computer and don’t know how to. Those who do have computer skills don’t have computers at home, so need to pay to use an internet café.”
“Silulo is an organization that has 13 training facilities with internet cafés in seven townships around Cape Town. On Wednesday the 15th we are taking over Silulo’s main training facility in Khayelitsha for the morning. We will be giving a N7W presentation to hundreds of young people and asking them to vote, for free on the facility’s computers.”
“For those who don’t have e-mail addresses, tutors will be standing by to teach them the basics of logging on, as well as helping them get a free address, and show them how to access it by themselves in the future. They have also offered to add the voting process into lessons while teaching learners computer skills. One of the lessons will entail going onto the N7W site and walking learners through the voting process. This helps them with computer skills as well as teaching them about the 27 other sites.”
“Following up on that, we will be visiting different township schools one Saturday every month for the rest of the campaign with a mobile computer lab. We will bring 20 laptops, each manned by a tutor who can walk the learner through the voting process. Again, if the child (or young adult) doesn’t have an e-mail address we will help them set one up and give basic instruction on how to log on and access it.”
“This is a great opportunity for the Vote for Table Mountain campaign and N7W to have a positive impact on the youth, leaving a lasting legacy. As you know, computer literacy and having access to your own e-mail account opens up a world of opportunities, especially for young people seeking employment. So whatever the outcome of the campaign for Table Mountain the N7W foundation will have had a positive impact on economically disadvantaged youths in South Africa.”