Youth need safe spaces: EGS Student article

12 May 2023
12 May 2023

Current EGS Third year student Raeesah Noor-Mahomed recently published a piece in the Daily Maverick about the need for safe spaces for youth informed by the connection of their lived experience to discussions within EGS2015S. Here are their reflections on what prompted the article.


Being from Joburg, I spent my childhood behind walls. When I moved to Cape Town, my new freedom both liberated and saddened me. Hearing a friend tell me about growing up in Kommetjie, running barefoot in the streets and catching lizards and snakes, amazed me. This was something that only happened in books, in other countries. Young people having this sort of freedom always seemed fictional to me. 


When we looked at spaces in EGS2015S, I became even more aware of how different my life in Cape Town is, compared to being in Joburg. One assignment was centred around the space around us, and we had to document our daily commute. Just being able to do this, being able to WALK and appreciate my surroundings is something I didn't have in Joburg. However, we also looked at the way the spaces we inhabit influence us as society, and how we as society influence the nature of our spaces. The dynamic relationship between society and space. I could now very clearly see the influence of South Africa's history spatial segregation, this time from the side of the privileged. 


The flow of thought we learned in the course is to look at what the relationship between society and space is, ask why this is the relationship and then to question if it has to be like this, and to imagine what it could be. When writing this article, this thought process was at the front of my mind. What is the relationship between young people and the spaces around them? Do youth have public spaces to claim and inhabit? Why don't they have them? Is it all the young people in South Africa who don't have spaces? What is the difference between the youth who have the spaces and the youth who don't? What could youth-friendly public spaces look like? How would it make a difference?


I don't have all the answers, though my article does attempt to explore these questions. I truly believe it is so important to not just inhabit the spaces we're in, but to question them. To imagine different and better worlds is to take a step towards creating them.

Read Raeesah’s article here: