TWO matric pupils, one from Limpopo and the other from Western Cape, were the stars of their schools after winning the provincial Anglo American and Sowetan Young Communicators Awards at the weekend.
Zuzi Sijadu, 17, and Mpho Dagada, 19, won the Western Cape and Limpopo provincial competitions respectively. They will represent their provinces in Johannesburg later this year.
The Young Communicators Awards (YCA) is an annual nation-building programme sponsored by Sowetan and Anglo Platinum Mine. It is organised in partnership with the education department and Model United Nations South Africa, the administrators and academic development practitioners of the awards.
The competition seeks to uncover talent, confidence and passion among South Africa's Grade 11 and 12 public high school pupils for whom English is a second language.
Sijadu, fromRhenish Girls High School in Stellenbosch, said she was emotional and very happy about her success.
"I failed to win one of the top three prizes in the province last year, but I was not discouraged," she said.
Sijadu, who wants to be a lawyer or a journalist, said her confidence has been boosted. She added that she would enter other debating competitions in future.
Dagada, from Louis Trichardt High School in Limpopo's Vhembe region and known as the "future state president", was crowned the Best 2012 young communicator of the year in his province.
He spoke about how young people, the "The Born Frees", could benefit from former president Thabo Mbeki's concept of Vuku Zenzele , a Zulu word meaning wake up and do for yourself.
Sowetan and Sunday World marketing manager Lorraine Mofokeng thanked the participants, and Anglo American and Sowetan for ensuring that the event was a success.
Mofokeng said the pupils were contributing to nation-building, initiated and inspired by former Sowetan editor Aggrey Klaaste.
"You had very interesting debates and you have inspired me. This shows you read newspapers," Mofokeng said, adding that the pupils had the potential to take the country forward.