Spirit of Youth for School Learners

​​​​​​​​"There’s a radical – and wonderful – new idea here… that all children could and should be inventors of their own theories, critics of other people’s ideas, analysers of evidence, and makers of their own personal marks on the world. It’s an idea with revolutionary implications. If we take it seriously." - Deborah Meier

​What is Spirit of Youth?

The Spirit of Youth programme is a forum in which grade 11 learners critically engage on relevant issues that they may better define and actuate the South Africa in which they would like to live. Learners are selected on the criteria that each has distinguished her- or himself as a leader in their school community. The expectation is that these young people are likely to have a disproportionally high impact on their immediate peers and society at large. The programme brings together learners from a myriad of social, economic, geographical and educational backgrounds from across Gauteng. Our aim is that this year-long discourse will develop new understanding of the South African context and its possibilities.

Our Purpose

The purpose of the Spirit of Youth Programme is to give high impact learners in their penultimate years of schooling a platform to define and voice their vision of South Africa. The programme includes activities that enable delegates to dialogue with both policymakers and peers on issues critical to the future of our nation. We use a number of innovative techniques to facilitate peer-to-peer learning on the most pivotal social and political topics facing our nation's progress. In the Spirit of Youth programme, facilitated dialogue and experiential learning are the key tools used to support learners' growth.

Our O​bjectives

The objectives of the Spirit of Youth Programme are accomplished by creating and facilitating opportunities for participants to:

  • Gain a broader insight and new perspective into the South African context;

  • Think more creatively about farther-reaching solutions to South African challenges;

  • Learn to frame and execute a community impact project;

  • Development of a network of high performing young individuals;

  • Engage in critical dialogue with other learner leaders;

  • Channel youth energy for personal development;

  • Facilitate the creation of a vision for a better country;

  • Create a spirit of volunteerism; and

  • Create an awareness of opportunities within South Africa.

Some of the themes include:

  • Race and identity in South Africa;

  • Personal leadership;

  • Social responsibility; and

  • Moving successfully into professional life.​​

Recruitment and Fees

​We invite participants from geographically and socio-economically diverse schools to apply to the programme. Participants must be chosen by the faculty of their school as a learner of great influence and vision and are then vetted by the Spirit of Youth staff based on a statement they submit on being a young member of South African society. We aim to create a class that represents the diversity of South African society at large. We subsidise 100% of participants' fees through donor funds.​ To find out more about how a school you know can apply to the programme, please contact us. 


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