Zama Mthunzi is a social justice activist who works to ensure that young people are not locked out of job opportunities. Mthunzi uses radio and television to spread the message of education. In a country with more than 50% youth employment, Mthunzi believes in using education to uplift them.
The Johannesburg-based mathematical science graduate is the regional organiser for civil society organisation Equal Education in Gauteng. His work includes leading an anti-dropout campaign, which seeks to encourage disadvantaged schoolchildren to remain in the education system. His interest in developing young minds has seen him lead various programmes that promote reading.
His most recent initiative is in Ekurhuleni, where he has launched a post-schooling programme for youths who are not in institutions of higher learning, nor in any forms of employment. He says his work involves “trial and error” and he has learnt that social change requires both patience and commitment. He has also worked with organisations such as Khanya College and Jozi Book Fair in his various efforts to encourage youth education and involvement in academic pursuits.
As an advocate for youth education in general and a better understanding of the link between literacy and maths in particular, Mthunzi has contributed to various publications and educational resources.
Mthunzi hopes to encourage increased participation by youths in policy-making, which could lead to the implementation of concrete programmes aimed at eradicating youth unemployment.