The Social Development Department has beefed up its efforts in tackling social challenges facing the youth, through the annual week-long national youth camp, attended by a thousand youth from all nine provinces.

Young people living with disabilities are also included.

The camp which is held at an army base in Kimberley started on Sunday. 22-year-old Sindisa Qeqe, a rape survivor, Qeqe was raped by the father of her 2 year-old child.

The young mother says dealing with the ordeal would have been difficult, if it wasn’t for the youth camp.

This is her second time attending.

She says, “I had to go through that pain alone, but not that alone. But with my friends and family. I remember very well; my mom had to wake up from her coma because she heard that her daughter was raped and it took me courage and braveness and every time I came to the camp, and last year, I came to the camp. It gave me so much confidence and courage. I talked to the other woman.”

Social Development Deputy Minister Henrietta Bogopane-Zulu has hailed the initiative.

“I think we have really done well because part of what we deal with is issues around teenage pregnancy and I can say without a doubt that with young people we have at least 1% of the 10 000 young people that went and became pregnant before they were ready.”

The deputy minister says the army base atmosphere also helps to instill discipline in the youth, which in turn, will aid them to make wise decisions.