Bringing margnalised communities into the 21st Century

A youth organisation in Cape Town, South Africa is opening up possibilities for young people in the Cape Flats area in the city by introducing them to the world of drone and other fourth industrial revolution technologies.

The Youth Media Movement – working with strategic partners from within and outside government circles, has already seen a number of young people graduate after going through the three-month drone building course, along with other 21st century technology courses that include 3-D printer building, learnerships in ICT; maintenance and operation.

Founded in 2007, YMM came into existence as a way to improve the plight of marginalised youths in the high-density suburbs of Cape Town through kills development programs in audio visual, digital media, marketing, 4IR and more.

The organisation works mainly with youth who hail from the suburbs of Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha.

“It was towards achieving the objective of developing programmes and creating opportunities for youth that the principals of the Youth Media Movement and their strategic partners embarked on a series of programmes to stimulate skills development in digital communication and 4IR industries for youth from Mitchells Plain and surrounding areas,” the organisation says.

“Among these was the placement of trainees through our mentorship programmes on various productions and in learnerships in ICT, librarianship, Drone and 3D printer building, maintenance and operation.

Building drones like these. Picture: YMM

“Over the years, the YMM has – besides managing much of the training itself – placed trainees on various production courses at educational institutions, started media clubs in 42 schools in the Western Cape province, produced videos of the youths’ own stories (and screening them at film festivals), created programmes of excellence in most media categories and moved onto more technical skills – providing occupational opportunities for youth and unemployed members of the community.”

Last December, YMM saw several youths – 26 of whom were young people living with disabilities – graduate from a three-month drone building course (which was introduced in 2019), with more ambitious plans to build drones for healthcare and public safety applications set for the near future.

“In 2019, the introduction of the 4IR aligned programme on Drone and 3D printer building, operation and maintenance provided the impetus for an innovative localised development plan – creating the Cape Flats in Cape Town as a hub for 4IR related manufacturing, training, occupational focus and income generating programmes.

“As a newly awarded Institute of Sectoral and Occupational Excellence (one of only two ISOEs in Western Cape and one of fifteen appointed ISOEs) in 2021, the YMM has expanded its accredited courses – including coding Unplugged and Software Development, Drone Design (as a Solid Works Incubator), 21st Century C Skills development, and an agile selection of global and local courses, including certification from the University of Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela University, University of Western Cape and other national industry bodies.”

The ISOE christening came courtesy of the Media, Information and Communication Technology (MICT) SETA which has supported the youth lobby group with funding and sponsorship for a long time.

“With its focus on building our digital and 4IR community, the YMM successfully ran workshops in 2020 with 100 students, teachers and parents; and other accredited courses for 30 people with disabilities in building and maintaining 3D printers and drones (including flying the drones) and continues to offer training for learners in film and video-making, a key skill needed in the 21st century of telling stories visually.”

Marshall Nelson

To enhance it knowledge and skills base, the youth movement has become part of technology lobby bodies, which include the Drone Council of South Africa, along with many other industry-related bodies where they are active in setting the agenda for new standards in the 4IR training space.

The YMM is also registered with several Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), which help with providing training material and curriculum guidance for the organisation’s programmes, and has promised more exciting programmes this year.

“This exciting programme will stretch the students’ imagination way beyond what they believed to be their own potential and will keep them on their toes. Through relevant online and face-to-face courses, the programme will see them passing and being certified in related programmes at reputable learning institutions like the University of Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela University, Brighter Futures and Solid Works.

“With its focus on building our digital and 4IR community the YMM has successfully run workshops in the Western Cape on building 4IR communities with government, industry and academic leaders front-lining the discussions – from (Western Cape) Premier Alan Winde to the Superintendent General of Education, to the WC Manager of the Civil Aviation Authority and manager of the Western Cape MICT Seta office.”

Said Marshall Nelson, the founder and Managing Director of YMM; “The YMM is a dynamic organisation which has been working within the community since 2007 and is proving that giving local youth a chance and training them to become successful in their own neighbourhood can be a reality.”


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