Message on International Youth Day

The United Nations’ International Youth Day is observed annually on 12 August. We asked Paxton Fielies from Cape Town for a short message this year. Here it is. Thanks, Paxton!

She is young, dynamic, and New Apostolic. And Paxton’s biggest passion is music. The young woman was voted South Africa’s idol in the thirteenth season of the casting show Idols SA. A record thirty million votes were cast in her favour. Her debut album, This is me, was released in June 2018.

Hope changes things

Paxton made a big impression on the people in Bishop Lavis, the Cape Town suburb, where she lives. High youth unemployment and poverty define life in the community. Violence is the order of the day. Paxton gives hope to the people. Her success shows that one can change one’s circumstances with commitment and hard work. And she sets priorities. When asked what the most important factors are in her life, she says, “God, family, and music.”

Safe spaces for youth

To mark the UN International Youth Day to mark the UN International Youth Day, Paxton has sent a message to our young readers and viewers. The message by UN Secretary-General António Guterres begins as follows: “The hopes of the world rest on young people. Peace, economic dynamism, social justice, tolerance – all this and more, today and tomorrow, depends on tapping into the power of youth … In making the world safe for young people, we make the world better for all …” This year’s motto is: “Save Spaces for Youth”. Considering that about ten per cent of this age group lives in conflict areas and 24 million young people do not have an education, this is more than appropriate.

Creating safe spaces … How this can be done is demonstrated by the New Apostolic Church Southern Africa in the congregation Leiden Central. It is one of the most unusual New Apostolic churches in the world. During the week it is a multi-purpose hall and on Sundays, and on Sundays it turns into a church. And it was built exactly for this purpose. The church is to be a safe haven in an area notorious for high crime. The township of Delft, a Cape Town suburb, is known for its substandard schools, high unemployment, drug abuse, and gang crime.

A place where children can be children

The most vulnerable are children. Many are left to fend for themselves in a society where one parent is all they have, where drugs and violence are the norm—something that is much more likely than getting a warm meal. Getting these children off the street and keeping them off is the objective of the New Apostolic Church, something they have been involved in since September 2016. Since then, Masakhe, the charitable branch of the New Apostolic Church Southern Africa, has been running a programme that aims to offer children a safe place.

“A place where they can receive a meal, develop their life skills, receive homework assistance, and where they are safe after school,” Ursula Poggenpoel-Smith, the project manager, says. “A place where children can be shown a better way, and be given the tools to deal with all of the traumas they experience daily; a place where they can play, daydream, and just be children.”

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Peter Johanning, Andreas Rother
South Africa, International, Music, People/Personalities