Young people speak up

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

Young people thrive when given the time, space and avenues to express themselves.

Sowetan, together with several partners, strives through its Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation to help promote excellence and integrity among the youth and to identify and honour the champions among them.

Among these projects are the Sowetan and Anglo American Young Communicators Awards, the National Schools Essay Competition on Albinism, as well as the Stop Crime Drama Festival.

Sowetan has also "adopted" Kgononyane Secondary School in Ganyesa, North West, Naledi High School in Naledi, Soweto, and the Ithemba Technology Institute in Tladi, also in Soweto.

For the Young Communicators Awards pupils in grades 11 and 12 compete in provincial public speaking competitions nationwide between March and May and nine provincial winners compete for the top three spots in the national finals in June.

Through the National Schools Essay Competition the sponsors and organisers provide information on albinism to help integrate pupils with albinism and to help reduce the trauma they experience by inviting pupils to write essays on albinism.

Martin Koboekae and Julian Seleke-Mokoto, who head up Dramatists Against Crime, conceived the Stop Crime Drama Festival 10 years ago. This year Sowetan "adopted" the festival as part of the newspaper's anti-crime campaign.

More than 10 plays by amateur youth groups from Gauteng and North West were performed at the Mmabana Mmabatho Cultural Centre in Mmabatho, North West, last week. The event was sponsored by the North West arts and culture department and the national arts council. The KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng legs are scheduled to be staged in August and October if sponsors can be found.

Many of the youngsters who have taken part in the Sowetan nation-building projects have grown into well-rounded personalities and they include former Young Communicators Awards winners Bonginkosi "Zola 7" Dlamini and award-winning SABC News anchor Asanda Magaqa.