debeila comes out tops

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

South Africa's youth have the power - and the positive attitude - to turn things around if they are given a chance, says teenager Lehlabile Debeila, pictured, an aspirant author.

She is the overall winner of the 2007 National Schools Essay Competition on Albinism, and made this bold statement at an awards ceremony held at her school, Lehlabile Secondary School, in Mamelodi, Pretoria, last week.

Debeila, 16, said all she and other youngsters needed was positive support and guidance from their parents and teachers.

She said that young people should persevere in pursuit of their goals.

She pipped 18-year-old Charles Masango of Mpumalanga and 17-year-old Bomikazi Tetyana from the Free State.

Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang could not make it to the event to help launch the 2008 leg of the competition, and was represented by senior departmental official, Sebolelo Amos.

lThe health and education departments are collaborating with Sowetan, Albinism Society of South Africa, Transnet and the South African Inherited Disorders Association - to help raise public awareness and understanding around albinism and other inherited disorders.