Hustling to empower young township minds through the art of debating

Thami Pooe founder of Tshimong.
Thami Pooe founder of Tshimong.
Image: Tshimong

Inspired by his diverse upbringing, Thami Pooe wants to empower young minds in township schools. Through his company, Tshimong, he has given opportunities to pupils in township schools to take part in debating competitions. 

“It is not only a unique extracurricular activity but also an incredible teaching tool where we teach young kids content with which they would otherwise never have engaged without this medium called debating.”

Growing up in the Vaal and moving to Randfontein was a cultural experience that opened Pooe’s eyes to the differences in class conditions. This led him to the work he does to change the lives of the youth.

“Because I had two sets of friends from two sets of environments, I understood very clearly what inequality looked like,” says Pooe.

Most recently, Tshimong ran its Nelson Mandela Challenge to educate youths about activism and philanthropy in the apartheid era.

This year it also hosted more than 200 pupils from Gauteng for the Constitution Hill Debating League. The final stages will take place from December 2 to 6.

“We are inviting people who could be potential sponsors of this league to come see the kind of work being done and celebrate young kids from different backgrounds who are doing something to learn about the most important South African document,” says Pooe.

Parents are excited about the opportunities their kids have been afforded, and through his partnership with Absa, Pooe has also been able to award university scholarships to some pupils.

“We encourage learners to bring their parents so they can see their children in their element. So they can see their children just slaying.”

For more information on the event or to become involved, send a query to tpooe@tshimong.co.za. Teachers and learners from all provinces can invite the organisation to visit them.

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