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Winners could be tomorrow's leaders

By Victor Mecoamere | May 12, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

WAZULU-NATAL deputy speaker Mtholephi Mthimkhulu and other dignitaries shared President Jacob Zuma's joy and pride at the launching of the new King Shaka International Airport.

WAZULU-NATAL deputy speaker Mtholephi Mthimkhulu and other dignitaries shared President Jacob Zuma's joy and pride at the launching of the new King Shaka International Airport.

But before heading for the launch at the weekend, Mthimkhulu honoured one of South Africa's biggest public speaking and leadership training projects, the Anglo American and Sowetan Young Communicators Awards. It was held at the provincial legislature on Saturday.

The awards are open to students in Grades 11 and 12 in public high school who do not speak English as a first language. They seek to help youths to improve their English presentation and oral communication skills, develop their leadership potential, encourage them to embrace nation building, prepare them for the professional working environment and develop their assertiveness and confidence.

A key additional partner is the Department of Education (DoE).

Mthimkhulu said it was primarily through sound education, training and development that the most capable leaders could be nurtured.

"We expect you to come back here to the legislature as members, politicians and leaders, to formulate and implement life-changing and life-bettering laws, choices and decisions," he said.

"Serving the nation is a mammoth task. Such projects and competitions are helping train you to take the lead in life and to focus on your personal development."

Mthimkhulu said from among the contestants a future premier or president could emerge if the youths took their studies seriously.

Nick van Rensburg, managing director of Anglo Zimele, a subsidiary of Anglo American, said the competition was a suitable platform for the youth to express themselves while at the same time honing their communication skills.

He was happy that Anglo American, Sowetan , the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation and the DoE were continuing their long youth development partnership.

The contestants were Simphiwe Buthelezi, Skhumbuzo Dlamini, Bathandwa Gumede, Portia Hlubi, Busisiwe Madlala, Siyasanda Mncwabe, Ndumiso Mngomezulu, Tebogo Moloi, Ziphezinhle Simelane and Zinhle Zondi.

Mngomezulu topped, Hlubi was second and Buthelezi took third spot.

Mngomezulu will represent KwaZulu-Natal at the national finals in Johannesburg in August.

While most of the contestants chose serious topics for their prepared speeches, Buthelezi stepped off the beaten track by shouting a new healthy personal relationships slogan: It's not rocket science; Smile!

He said a smile was simply the beginning of peaceful relations between two people, a family, a diverse group, a community and even a whole nation because we are all human beings, after all.

Gumede also steered away from the serious sociopolitical stuff, when she handled the topic: Be thankful you are not a boy, while Mngomezulu was very brave when he challenged South Africa's homophobia, saying: Let's get it straight, gays and lesbians are human too.

Hlubi appealed to women to occupy their rightful place in society, through knowledge, qualifications and potential.

The rest might have chosen social, political and economic issues, but it in no way diminishes their potential as aspirant researchers, analysts and interpreters of their environment.


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