On 15 November 2021 Masifundise hosted its very first youth activist school in Durban. This school comprised of 30 youth members from the coastal communities of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape as well as Coastal Links veteran leadership.

Throughout the week, participants explored various small-scale fishing issues that they face in their communities such as non-functioning cooperatives, restrictions imposed by Marine Protected Areas (MPA), Operation Phakisa and the privatisation of markets.

This summer school, which is anchored in the “Ensuring the social-economic rights and decent work conditions for South African small-scale fishers” (SERP) project, was implemented in partnership with Crocevia, Transnational Institute (TNI) and Food First Information and Action Network (FIAN).

“The idea behind this summer school was to build relationships with the youth in fishing communities and create a sense of camaraderie and solidarity amongst them. As Masifundise we wanted to empower participants to make sense of current developments happening in the ocean space and understand who the actors are and powers at play. We wanted to support youth to see an alternative for their communities and to strengthen their political leadership skills to mobilise and organise in their respective communities”, explained Carmen Mannarino, Programme Manager at Masifundise.

The Coastal Links veterans played an important role of imparting historical knowledge and outlining the struggle for fishing rights and the recognition of small-scale fisheries a sector. These leaders also provided guidance to the younger generation on how to mobilize and fight for their rights as small-scale fishers.

“We are very excited to have hosted a successful youth summer school. We had a great youth cohort who engaged actively and had a deep thirst to learn. We hope to continue with these schools in order to motivate the youth to become active leaders and agents of change in their communities said,” Sibongiseni Gwebani from Masifundise.