In celebration of Youth Month, 110 Portland High matric pupils took part in a Youth Conversation event on Friday June 30.
The event was held by Eddie Andrews, the mayoral committee member for area south.
Mr Andrews said the aim of the event was to get young people talking about life decisions. The theme of the conversation was #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs and #NothingForUsWithoutUs.
The pupils were divided into groups and discussed four topics – health, religion, money and social media.
Mr Andrews said the pupils were serious about their topics and presented some thought-provoking comments.
He added that two pupils who had their own businesses, shared how they were able to make their own money.
“Many others admitted to being dependent on their parents.”
The aim of the initiative, he said, “was to give young people a voice and tell the adults in a mature and articulate way that decisions about young people can no longer be made without them”.
Mr Andrews, who is a councillor and a former Springbok rugby player, also shared his story and encouraged the young people to be aware of the choices they made.
“They are in a critical time now – prepping for exams, having to make applications for tertiary studies, all while being focused on school while a host of socio-economic challenges are also pressuring them,” he said.
Portland High pupil Rivaldo Johnnes, 17, from Eastridge said the event was informative and that he had found his fellow pupils’ views interesting.
“It was a very motivating talk from Mr Andrews, and it encouraged many of us. As young people we need to be focused and work hard to reach our goals, and we are willing to do so,” he said.
Rivaldo is also an entrepreneur, having started his own waterless carwash business at the age of 14. “It all started with a conversation my dad and I had one day. We then took that idea, and made it a reality.
“It is now the third year I am running this business, and since then I have somehow been independent,” he said.
“Anything is possible if you put your mind to it, just make the right choice,” Rivaldo added.