Bishop Lavis teenager Rayahna Isaacs represents Western Cape at Commonwealth Youth Parliament
Share this article:
Cape Town - A Bishop Lavis teenager got to play politician for a week.
Rayahna Isaacs, 18, represented the Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP) branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), at the virtual Commonwealth Youth Parliament (CYP) which started on Monday and ended on Friday.
Isaacs, who assumed the role of “chief whip”, was among a number of youth across the Commonwealth countries, including six from the African region, who were introduced to aspects of a real-life parliament, which created a platform for them to establish links with like-minded peers.
In the programme, principles of allowing the majority to make decisions effectively and efficiently were followed, and proceedings were observed by experienced parliamentary officials.
For the purposes of the event, a country by the name of Abarat was created. Members of the Abarat Parliament were tasked with debating real-life issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
Isaacs was elected by her peers to serve as the whip of the independent members of the CYP. This meant that she was responsible for coordinating the participation of the independent members in the various bodies of the Abarat Parliament and to ensure their discipline in the legislature.
The former chairperson of the Junior Metro Council for Cape Town was selected for the event after she won the Western Cape Youth Parliament in 2019, along with Justin Yawe from the Garden Route.
The CPA African Youth Parliament for 2019 that they would have attended was cancelled. In 2020, there was a virtual CPA Youth Parliament but Isaacs’s age at the time meant she was not eligible to participate. A year later, she finally got her opportunity.
The first-year bachelor of social science student at UCT, said the discussions and debates were informative, especially around Covid-19 pandemic and travel and tourism topics.
“It allowed each delegate to analyse countries based on the effects that the pandemic has and amendment the bill thoroughly that ensures the safety and good health of all citizens. The discussions and debates made me understand the reasons why our government implemented the laws of Covid-19 and placed everything into context.
“I have learnt that we are no longer the leaders of the future but we are the leaders of the present. With the Commonwealth Youth Parliament, it has taught me that the youth need to break the barrier that prevent us from leading. Lastly, it taught me things that I was unaware of with regards to the Covid-19 pandemic and the reasons why the actions taken were necessary,” she said.
Her future goals are to be a politician and activist.
“I want to graduate at university and become a political analyst ever since I became exposed to politics and parliament. I would also like to start an organisation which focuses on gender-based violence within our community for women, men, and children. Your circumstances do not determine your future,” she said.
Speaker of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, Masizole Mnqasela, said: “We congratulate Ms Isaacs on being nominated to represent the youth of the Western Cape at this auspicious international event, as well as on her election as whip of Independent members of the CYP. We hope to be able to extend opportunities to other youth from the Western Cape to participate in this and similar activities in the future. The youth are the future of our country and society, and it is imperative that we make use of every opportunity to provide them with the skills and exposure to make be successful in life.”