Dozens of residents in Lusikisiki flocked into the Palmerton Methodist Mission as a team from WSU Directorate of Research Development co-hosted a youth development summit on Saturday, 1 July.

Led by acting director of the DRD, Dr Nomabandla Cishe, the team visited Palmerton with hopes of finding out youth challenges and to formulate solutions.

“The university is reaching out to the community. We are forming few partnerships with Palmerton concerning research on food security,” said Cishe.

She also explained that the reason for choosing Lusikisiki was because of the richness of the land, the extent of the land they have and the potential of the youth in that region.

The DRD team consisted of the acting director of Risk & Vulnerability Science Center, Dr Motebang Nakin, a Food Security researcher Dr Steven Shisanya and post-doctoral research fellow, Dr Nophawu Madikiza.

Joining the DRD team was the Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Internationalisation, Mr Mzolisi Payi. He explained the purpose of the university to the community members and how the university dedicates itself to community development projects.

“The university is in place for teaching & learning, research, training & development and funding. All of these four aspects have to contribute to some kind of community development,” he said.

Payi went on to explain that the university looks forward to further discussing possible partnerships it can have with Palmerton.

This team was welcomed by the reverend of Palmerton church Rev. Gcobani Vika who was also the representative of the school for reverends in Pietermaritzburg, Seth Mokimiti Methodists Seminary.

The reverend explained the value of the land in Palmerton and the potential the youth could have by using that land. He continued to say that the church welcomed residents to use the land for community development purposes.

Palmerton also has more than seven hectares of land that in which mealies are ploughed and ready to be harvested this season. The ploughing project was managed by a medical doctor, Dr Mangcotywa.

“I want people to know, especially the youth, that anyone can do agriculture, whether you are a pastor or a medical doctor,” said Vika.

In the spirit of awareness, Cishe alerted the community of digital and emotional abuse.

“If you tell your child discouraging and disturbing things at a young age that may be emotional abuse because that child grows up believing what the parent told him/her. Also, circulating a graphic video of a learner beating up a teacher is digital abuse,” said Cishe.

Meanwhile, motivational speaker Lucky Ncube gave a moving speech when he talked to the youth about doing things for themselves as they live in a very rich land.

“I want you to stop striking for RDP houses and service delivery. I want the youth of Palmerton to get up and do something for themselves,” he said.

Ncube went on to offer his R3,500 course to the youth of Palmerton for free, while he donated a sum of money to buy baking ingredients for the women’s forum in the church.

“I was very happy with the event because we received a lot of support from the university and the government,” said Cishe.

In closing, Payi said that this was the first of many relationships to come between the university and this community.

By: Ongezwa Sigodi

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