M.A. EYS Student Portfolio

Expectations on the Short Course

by Stephen Matenga

My entry into youth work was the result of both passion and necessity. Upon completion of secondary school in 1993, I found myself working with cooperatives in my small mining town of Zvishavane in 1994. I enjoyed working with people, helping young people and had a lot of energy organising events and people. I did that out of my passion to help others and to improve life for the poor. I did that voluntarily and ever since 1994, I have worked mainly as a volunteer for various organisations and causes. Sometimes just getting only money for food, transport and accommodation. I began to acquire skills and training that would improve my work; marketing, computers, photography, video filming, editing, journalism, public speaking, report writing, fundraising, community mobilisation, etc. I became more aware of global and local youth challenges from poverty, unemployment, climate change, etc.

Around 1999, our President, Robert Mugabe started a controvercial land reform in Zimbabwe, a process that killed our economy and caused suffering for our people. My youth work moved from a mere passion to necessity as I became more like a youth activist mobilising young people to resist the dictatorial regime. I had just completed a Commonwealth Diploma in Youth Development work when I formed a youth organisation, The Youth Forum to mobilise young people around the country in 2004, I was elected President of the students union in 2005, elected Board Member of the Zimbabwe Youth Council in 2006, Appointed Country Coordinator of the Southern Africa Youth Movement in 2007. The government could not contain me and after several attempts on my life, I left for the Netherlands where I am now based working to organise and network groups and networks of Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora as a result of the situation at home.

So in my life, I have experienced the Magic Triangle haphazardly and unknowingly. I have dealt with youth practice ever since leaving school in 1993. My brief stint at the Youth Ministry and in the Zimbabwe Youth Council as well as other platforms such at the AU, SADC, etc introduced me to youth policy while my two year formal education in youth work introduced me to youth research. All these were at a very limited extent save for practice.

Now my interests are threefold;
1.   EU-Africa Cooperation in youth development work
2.   The role of African Diaspora in Africa’s development
3.   Establishment of an African Youth Development framework within the Africa Union

It is therefore, my utmost hope that this MA-EYS will;
1.   Give me more insight into the Magic Triangle
2.   Expand my network of youth workers across Europe
3.   Enable me to create linkages and exchanges between Europe and Africa
4.   Enhance my understanding of European youth policy and structure with the hope of developing the African policy and structure through lobbying and influencing at Africa Union level
5.   Prepare me for the Masters Degree. I hope to move on to PHD and become the 1st Professor of Youth Studies in my country and many other African countries.

As the 1st, or only African in the course, I hope that my experience and background will be of value to other students and tutors. I hope I will be able to give you the African perspective as much as I can.

One comment on ‘Expectations on the Short Course’

Maurizio Merico — 17 January 2011 19:23
hope to share all this with you and the others Thank you Stephen