From the 28 August to 2 September 2022, Masifundise hosted its second youth activist school in Kleinmond, Western Cape. The winter school comprised of youth members from the small-scale fishing communities in Northern Cape and Western Cape, as well as Coastal Links veteran leadership.

During the week, participants explored various small-scale fishing issues that affect their communities such as oil and gas exploration, restrictions imposed by Marine Protected Areas (MPA), permits, lack of safety training at sea and inadequate infrastructure to support fishing activities.

The group also visited the Kleinmond Harbour where they learned about fishing in Kleinmond and some of the challenges that the local fishers face.

Coastal links leaders, Sarah Niemand and Mary Hull, showcased their self-made products during one of the sessions. Sara, makes sour fig jam, preserved white mussels and pickled fish. Mary and her husband (who has since passed away) crafted furniture and frames that incorporates sea shells and dried seaweed. This gave youth the opportunity to see how they can be involved in the SFF sector, even if they do not physically go to sea.

Moenieba Isaacs, from The Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), introduced the youth to concepts like capitalism, understanding the Blue Economy and Operation Phakisa and how these play a role in shaping the reality of small-scale fishing communities in South Africa.

“I had a good experience at the school because I learned a lot about the small-scale fishing sector. Before, I wasn’t as invested in learning about this sector but now, I have learned about the fight for small-scale fishing rights. I was glad to have met people from different fishing communities,” says Shaylynne Heuwel, youth school participant from Saldanha Bay.

The Coastal Links veterans played an important role in imparting historical knowledge and outlining the struggle for fishing rights and the recognition of small-scale fisheries as a sector.

Andre Cloete, Chair person of Coastal Links Western Cape said, “The school went very well. Normally, these things happen once and then the momentum fades. I hope that this will be the start of building the second layer of leadership in our SSF communities and that we continue the fight to have our small-scale fishing rights recognised.”

The winter school, part of the “Ensuring the social-economic rights and decent work conditions for South African small-scale fishers” (SERP) project and is supported by the European Union.