Nurturing tomorrow's leaders is made easier when the youth themselves cooperate and collaborate with their mentors.
This was evident at the second provincial heat of the 16th yearly Anglo American and Sowetan Young Communicators Awards, which was held at the Gauteng Legislature in Johannesburg at the weekend.
Fifteen very confident, assertive and determined contestants from several districts of the Gauteng department of education displayed admirable eloquence and courage as they tackled various social, economic, political and environmental issues.
In the prepared-speech section they tackled issues such as race and values; leadership and change; assertiveness and motivation of self and others; faith and destiny; whether or not it is important to vote; and the power of words.
In the round-table section, the contestants were asked to imagine becoming the new president of South Africa and then highlight three key areas that needed urgent attention. Almost all of them picked education, crime and unemployment.
Youth development topped the peripheral issues and career guidance, starting in the lower grades; reviewing the death penalty or at least imposing stiffer sentences to deter the rampant crime and criminality; intensifying primary health care, establishing better poverty-alleviation programmes and paying teachers better.
Ndumiso Hadebe, Jorique Calitz and Khotso Pooe were the winners. Hadebe will represent Gauteng in the national finals in Johannesburg in June.
In the first provincial elimination held in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga in March, the winners were Khanyisile Vilakazi, Asanda Masilela and Thandekile Maseko. Vilakazi will represent Mpumalanga in the national finals.
Former winners of the Young Communicators Awards include music and television personality Bonginkosi Dlamini, affectionately known as Zola, radio and television news and talkshow presenter and producer Asanda Magaqa and public speaker Palesa Mosia.
As one of Anglo American's many corporate social responsibility projects and part of the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation's youth and public development activities, the Young Communicators Awards also seek to nurture assertive, confident, competitive and career-driven youngsters for whom English is not a mother tongue. The awards aim to help to:
l Improve their public speaking skills from the research to the presentation phase;
l Develop contestants leadership qualities; and
l Encourage a pioneering spirit among contestants.
For pictures and speeches from the Young Communicators Awards finals go to www.sowetan co.za