Young Communicators Awards unearth the leaders of tomorrow

The provincial heats of this year's Sowetan and Anglo American Young Communicators Awards are continuing to unearth potential future leaders.

The provincial heats of this year's Sowetan and Anglo American Young Communicators Awards are continuing to unearth potential future leaders.

Many of the previous winners are successful in various careers. They include actor, musician and businessman Bonginkosi Dlamini, popularly known as Zola, and award-winning radio reporter, presenter and producer Asanda Magaqa.

Sounding mature for their tender ages, these youths tackle controversial, challenging and tricky topics.

These include unconditional love, poverty, money and the follies of greed, sexuality, and youths in confused relationships, including unprotected and premarital sex.

Contestants are required to deliver a prepared speech on a topic of their choice as well as a short, impromptu speech.

The overall winners at each provincial contest qualify for the national finals and receive R1000. The first and second runners-up receive R500 and R250 respectively.

The schools of the overall winners in the provincial eliminations will receive R1000 each.

At the national finals, the prize money is a R30000 bursary for the overall winner, R20000 for the first runner-up and R15000 for the second runner-up. The schools of the top three winners at the finals receive R10000, R7000 and R5000 respectively.

The awards - open to pupils in grades 11 and 12 - are part of the youth and community development programmes of the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation, and of Anglo American's social investment portfolio.

Through this youth-development project, Sowetan, Anglo American and the provincial Education Departments are empowering young people by helping them to improve their presentation and oral communication skills, leadership potential and personal growth.

The competition is intended to:

l Encourage proficiency in English, the generally accepted language of business and academia, by promoting the core principles of good speech-making and presentation skills;

l Encourage a pioneering spirit among young people by motivating them to embrace the concept of nation-building, which seeks to empower people to take control of their lives and make a meaningful contribution to their communities; and

lPrepare schoolchildren for the working environment by nurturing their assertiveness and confidence.

Provincial heats have taken place in Mpumalanga, Free State and Northern Cape. In Mpumalanga the overall winner, Sibusiso Khoza, will be joined at the national finals by Marine Opperman, of Northern Cape, and Star Khulu, of Free State.

Provincial eliminations will take place in Mmabatho, North West, on April 21; Polokwane, Limpopo, on May 5; Worcester, Western Cape, on May 12; Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on May 15; Soweto, Gauteng, on May 19; and East London, Eastern Cape, on May 26. The finals are in Johannesburg on June 9.

l The provincial heats are sponsored by Anglo American subsidiaries, including Black Mountain, Anglo Coal and New Vaal Colliery.