Developing social capital amongst South Africa’s youth is key to them finding jobs and developing themselves as people. Good ways to develop social capital are through civic action and volunteerism.
The gap in youth leadership programmes
Interrogating Youth Leadership Development in South Africa is an excellent report by Janet Jobson for DG Murray Trust. It maintains that youth leadership programmes tend to focus on individual self- development skills missing the opportunity to develop social capital. The document explores why we should re-imagine our youth as active engaged citizens tackling key social issues through their own initiative and that they have the potential to lead through public innovation. Citing the TAC and loveLife’s groundBreaker programme, Jobson argues that social capital has been shown to have tangible outcomes for young people in South Africa, for example, in finding jobs.
How to develop social capital
She further argues that social capital is developed through processes such as volunteerism and civic engagement where individuals develop trusting and active connections throughout their communities. “In placing social capital development alongside personal development, innovative leadership programmes can create opportunities for young leaders to….not be tied to one particular network ….but move between groups and become bearers of new ideas, information, and innovation.” The article also quotes cutting edge leadership guru Otto Scharmer in suggesting that “leadership development is not about filling a gap but about igniting a field of inspired connection and action.”