Absa & Tshimong give South Africa’s youth a voice

The Interchange Logo

Young people in South Africa are given lip service by government, big business and even educators. Everyone talks about the youth, a few talk to them, but not enough people listen.

We’re proud to be pioneering a series of intelligent, thoughtful debates with some of the smartest young South Africans – along with Tshimong and Absa.

Every day we’re exposed to meaningless drivel and rhetoric on social media, but most of us crave substance… the meat in conversations about the things that really matter and that are most relevant. That’s what The Interchange will deliver, and I can’t wait.


Absa has partnered with Tshimong Media to produce “The Interchange”, a podcast series on CliffCentral which aims to stimulate critical thinking skills among young South Africans through the power of debate.

Tshimong Media is a social enterprise that creates debating, public speaking and leadership training programmes for scholars and students.

Vuca, the acronym for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity first used during the Cold War but now a trendy managerial concept – has become the new normal in the workplace. “During times of disruption such as those we are currently experiencing, we tend to go back to places that reinforce our set ideas, making it difficult for us to deal with the future. Vuca demands reframing, and more importantly, critical thinking skills,” says Sazini Mojapelo, Absa Head of Citizenship and Community Investments.

“Just as it’s impossible to learn how to surf without getting on a board, it’s impossible to master critical thinking skills unless you experience the need to use them. We have made a clear commitment to our continent and its young people. The youth are the most socially active segment on the African continent; from the Arab Spring erupting in Tunisia and Egypt to the #FeesMustFall movement in South Africa – young people prove every day that they matter.”

The World Economic Forum’s 2016 report, “The Future of Jobs”, predicted the Fourth Industrial Revolution would cause widespread disruption, not only changing business models but also labour markets over the next five years, with changes predicted in the skill sets needed to thrive in the new landscape.

Less than five years later, these developments have already transformed the way we live and work. Some jobs are disappearing, while others have grown and jobs that don’t even exist today will become commonplace tomorrow.

“The future workforce needs to align its skillset to keep pace. Employers increasingly
recognise what is needed in graduates is not so much technical knowledge, but applied
skills, especially skills in critical thinking,” says Mojapelo.

“The Interchange is a debate show in the format of a podcast series that gives a platform for young people to engage on issues that affect society. It will be presented by Tshimong Director Busi Mkhumbuzi, an activist and entrepreneur who inspired the nation when she hosted former US President Barack Obama when he delivered his Nelson Mandela Lecture last year,” says Thami Pooe, Chief Executive of Tshimong Media.

The Interchange uses the World School Debate format with two teams, one proposing and the other opposing. “This format is a powerful way to seek out unheard voices, new perspectives from young people, and untold angles related to the most compelling issues of the day,” says Pooe.

For the first time, young people who are passionate about shaping a new South Africa, and African continent, will have a platform to make themselves heard and use their voices to drive a positive agenda.

“Our priority is to play our role in putting the basic building blocks in place to ensure young Africans have the opportunity to reimagine their futures and turn their possibility into action,” says Mojapelo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *