SA kids have lots of spunk

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

South Africa's youth have spunk and the tag aspiring leaders undoubtedly suits them.

Proof of this is provided regularly in the yearly Anglo American and Sowetan Young Communicators Awards.

So it was not surprising to hear competitors in the Eastern Cape leg - won by Loveline Nwadeyi, Makabongwe Nazwayiba and Zandile Thanda - speaking frankly and bravely in East London at the weekend on a range of topics, including:

lThe importance of mathematics in our daily lives;

lEmotional intelligence;

lA simple guide to self-contentment;

lResisting becoming a conformist;

lPride and confidence in South Africa despite negative local and international media attention;

lThe disappearance of the family institution;

lMisconceptions about depression; and

lThe value of a women in the family, community, society and nation.

Contestants displayed admirable research, situational interpretation and presentation skills.

Their overall confidence showed that they were receiving ongoing and priceless support, coaching, guidance and mentoring from their teachers.

Also receiving invaluable support from the nine provincial education departments - with senior officials serving as project coordinators - the Young Communicators Awards provide a platform and space for public high school pupils in grades 11 and 12.

They are given a chance to voice their opinions and concerns about issues affecting families, communities and the nation.

This long-running youth development project in the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation also seeks to to nurture assertive, confident, competitive and career-driven youngsters - for whom English is not a mother tongue - by helping to:

lImprove their public speaking skills - from the research to the presentation phase;

lDeveloping the participating pupils' leadership qualities;

lEncouraging a pioneering spirit among pupils; and

lInstilling a nation-building spirit among them.

So far provincial eliminations have taken place in Johannesburg, Gauteng; Kimberley, Northern Cape; Worcester, Western Cape; Bloemfontein, and East London, Eastern Cape.

More provincial heats are due to be held in Polokwane, Limpopo; Nelspruit, Mpumalanga; Mmabatho North West and Durban, KwaZuluNatal.

The national finals, are due to be held in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on June 14.

l Thembi Losi, the Eastern Cape finalist and ultimate winner of the 2007 Young Community Awards, gave a brief motivational talk in which she encouraged fellow youths to have self-confidence, belief in themselves and assertiveness.

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