Many of us constantly see a plethora of things gone wrong in our communities, but only a few are willing to do something about it. When Phinda Riba became irritated and annoyed about the pollution in his neighbourhood, he decided to call upon George Mabona for a clean-up operation. The two became rebels with a cause and became the change they wanted to see.

In order to surpass the challenge of broad consultation, they made use of platforms such Facebook, and fortunately the response was overwhelmingly positive. The two business partners garnered support from both the community members and the different stakeholders in the area, “There is a food sales area near the sports ground where we hang out. The sports grounds were meant to be a glorious project that created a space for township kids to play tennis, squash, basketball and soccer. That dream died and the sports grounds turned into a dumping site and the structures within the grounds are stripped of windows and doors. It has now turned into a space for people to smoke Nyaope in peace. Phinda felt we had to do something about it”. 

 

 

 

 

The two friends understand that sometimes the apparent apathy coming from community members is on account of the daily harsh realities that they are faced with. This includes difficulties of basic things such as putting food the table. Phinda and George took it upon themselves to put together some food and acquired donations for some refreshments, and go the volunteers working, “We got donations of bottled water, fruits and snacks from local businesses and the counselor. It is important to stress that we didn’t ask for any monetary donations”. 

But how do they plan to keep area in a habitable? “We need to occupy that space and erect businesses that do not necessarily always need consulting the municipality. This is our community, and we know best how to fix our community”

Without waiting for government, these two leaders became an example for the next generation. They managed to achieve their biggest and most important goals- a clean and happy community

 

 

 

LETSIMA – DO IT YOURSELF

After receiving training from the Ekhukhanyeni Centre and being awarded with the Parma-Culture certificate, a group of members from the Orange Farm community started the Inqanawe Youth Organization (IYO). The main activities of the organisation are vegetable gardening, upholstery from recycles tyres, and steelwork

Rather than wait for someone else to do it, this groups took it upon themselves and used their own resources to make a difference in their community. “Our wish acquiring land to build a Tourist Village that would that would help in alleviating the socio-economic situation in our community”. They further stress, “We want to drive youth to take part in agricultural projects and other food related skills that will sustain their lives without the need of any external support”.
IYO wants to lead by example and teach community members that it is time that people start creating generational wealth by skilling themselves and being self-employed. They plead that the South African government should start supporting projects such as Agriculture, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Covid19 Solutions: Young Locals doing it for themselves

To counter the impact of Covid19, especially for youth, The Vaal Leadership Academy embarked on a project to start practical youth programmes. This started during youth month this year with a small vegetable garden and upcycling of used clothed to make rugs. A group of young males grabbed this opportunity to make the best out of bad situation. The main aim was to give the youth the skill to empower them and to see that they can actually do things by, and foR themselves if given the opportunity.

Why did you start the project?
“We not lazy but we not given opportunities. So by growing gardens we are actually creating opportunities for ourselves and the other youth in the community, with the hope of teaching them more about what they can do for themselves”.
However this group has not just stopped at gardening and making rugs. They have also learned new skills such as string art, and with the guidance of their mentor, Nkosinathi Maduna, they have also started making their own furniture.

What is the ultimate goal?
Their goal is to impart their knowledge onto other young locals, especially in agriculture. They want to see the youth, along with their families, practically doing what they have been taught, which is creating their own livelihoods. What they say they have learnt the most during the pandemic is the necessity to be able to stand on your own feet. They saw families struggling to feed themselves due financial constraints and restricted movements and realised the importance of creating your own “grocery store” in your garden. They also would like to see community members growing different fruits and vegetables in their gardens so they can be able to exchange to reduce the food insecurity. “By working together we can create a united community with Ubuntu, which is capable of doing things for themselves and uplifting each other”

What are the health benefits you can get from gardening?
Growing your own food can help you eat healthy and makes it easier for the family to have a healthier diet plan.
It reduces stress and makes you happy as you see your plants growing
It is a great activity that can create bonding between family members

What can children learn from growing plants?
Children learn responsibility from caring for plants
Self- confidence from achieving their goals and enjoying the food they have grown.
It also teaches children the importance of finishing what you have started by nurturing the plants until consumption

But how does one start a garden if there is no space?
This is where recycling is important. One can use containers and be creative. You can really grow any vegetable that you want in a container but you must make sure to fertilize because they are not getting nutrients like a vegetable in a natural garden. And also the combination of recycling with the gardening creates a cleaner community. So there is really no excuse for not starting your garden!

For more info on starting your own garden, go to www.vaalacademy.co.za/upcycle-regrow/

AFRICA RISING

Article courtesy of The Vaal Leadership Academy

Africans have only been known as storytellers, but our contribution in history to this continent has been hidden by those who have been telling our stories. As far back as the 1800’s, there have been many intellects within our societies
Born in on 11 January in 1859, John Tengo Jabavu was a political activist who was an advocate of women’s rights and public education. He was born in the Healdtown, in what was then known as the Cape Colony. During his time, the only newspapers in African languages were more like missionary journals that promoted colonial literacy and Christianity. Among these newspapers were Ikhwezi (The Morning Star) and Indaba, which were both printed in English and isiXhosa.

In 1876 Jabavu became editor of Isigidimi samaXhosa (“The Xhosa Messenger”) but felt that the realities of the Black population were not being truthfully represented. In 1884 he became the founder and editor of “Imvo Zabantsundu” (Black Opinion), the first Black owned newspaper. When was 24 years old in 1886, he opened his first office in King Williams Town.
Although a teacher by profession, his writing skills also saw Tengo Jabuva working for papers such as the Cape Mercury and Cape Argus. It was his need to fill a gap for his own people that compelled him to come with a solution and decline having the African narrative being told by others

WHAT’S YOUR CAUSE?

Not only is Nthabiseng Mosuoe a motivational speaker, founder of I’m His Inspiration Talks and radio
presenter at Lekoafm, she also does recycling for a social cause
Nthabiseng Mosuoe does recycling to inspire young teenager girls from disadvantaged backgrounds to
provide for themselves with sanitary towels. Studies have shown that there are a large number of
females who miss out on most of their schooling due to the inability to access sanitary towels. This has
caused many of them not to be able to acquire equal education, rendering them to the harsh
vulnerabilities of society. Nthabiseng saw it better to do something productive while addressing a social
challenge, “At first I used to buy the sanitary towels. Now I motivate girls to do something with their
own hands so that they can get to buy themselves sanitary towels because I believe that is better to
teach them how to do things themselves”. Needless to say, it has become a challenge motivating the
young girls to join the cause. This perhaps could be due to the challenge of the young females being
unable to admit to the mishap that they face. Nthabiseng in now on a crusade to motivate all members
of society to join in the cause.
“It is better as a society to empower each other by doing things ourselves so we eradicate the
dependency syndrome. But I also do this so I lead by example.”
With our neighbourhoods being flooded with so much pollution, Nthabiseng chose this route as cans are
everywhere, easy to collect, and are not heavy to carry. She strongly believes that there are a lot of
things that can be done by doing recycling from tins, plastics, bottles and metals. She also noted that it is
all about being creative and using your hands for positive things rather than spending your time on
negative things.

Nthabiseng Mosuoe is a dedicated woman who believes in what does. She believes that women need
not rely on just anybody to provide for them, but rather take opportunities given to them to stand on
their own. Her motivational talks also help youth by teaching them to create job opportunities for
themselves and not wait for employment from someone.

Catch Nthabiseng every Sunday on Lekoa FM

91.0 at 10h00-12h00!
If you want to be a part of the crusade and do your part, contact Nthabiseng Mosuoe on
073 524-0280, or email: nthabisengmosuoe1@gmail.com

Are you making a difference in your community? Be featured in our
magazine and tell us “What’s YOUR Cause”
Send your contact details and clear photos to:
info@vaalacademy.co.za

How this Superwoman is Taking Up Space

Hailing from the rural area of Keiskammahoek in the Eastern Cape, a young Sinesipho Ngamile had
told her mother that she wanted to be the mayor of her hometown. Her main aim was to make a
difference by developing it like other areas. Well, fast forward to post high school, she now works
for the South Africa National Space Agency (SANSA). Growing up a shy girl, she never thought that
she would be in a place where she does presentations. She believes that it was the career that found
her.
The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) is South Africa’s government body for the use and
promotion of outer space. It is an entity of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). SANSA is
mandated to co-operate in space-related activities and research in space science whilst also
promoting development, building human capital and providing national services. SANSA’s work
includes the monitoring of the earth and its environment. Data is collected to ensure that
navigation, communication technology and weather forecasting services function optimally. The
organization currently has 4 directorates: Earth Observation (Pretoria), Space Operations
(Hartebeeshoek), Space Science (Hermanus) and Space Engineering (Pretoria).

Ms Ngamile is a Science Engagement Intern in the Science Engagement Unit at the SANSA Earth
Observation division. “Our unit stimulates multidisciplinary thinking through science engagement; it
supports Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) education for the knowledge
economy. It also promotes the innovative use of space science and technology by the youth and
society, and develops awareness of career opportunities in space science and technology. We do this
through various virtual and in-person platforms which include the two mass participation platforms
namely, Science festivals and National Science Week; direct school visits nationwide; uniquely
SANSA platforms such as guided facility tours, etc. We create awareness of the role played by
satellites in Earth orbit to enrich life on Earth”
Although she never did become a mayor, she strongly believes that that with this job she is still able
to develop her hometown or other rural areas within South Africa through quality education. As she
explains further, “I am inflicting change and/or development in these areas through engaging with

the youth and engaging with them about how science or education in general, can lead to
innovation”.

With her university background in Environmental Management, Sinesipho is actively using her
Geographic Information System (GIS) skills to support classroom activities in the Geography
curriculum, working with the Southern African Geography Teachers Association (SAGTA). They also
use GIS in planning their national science engagement activities for identifying gaps and reporting
purposes.
“This just demonstrates how versatile GIS and remote sensing are in supporting various business
processes and in my first year at SANSA Earth Observation, our Science Engagement Unit achieved
the dream goal of engaging with more than 25 000 youth in all the nine provinces, reaching 36 of the
country’s 52 districts”. She has been to 8 of the 9 provinces on space awareness missions during the
2019-2020 year. “I have learned more about the various satellites in Earth orbit and how they can be
used to unlock socio-economic value for anyone with a smart phone in the world”.

But what subject does one need to enter this field? “You would need to have studied Science
subjects and pure Mathematics in High School. You might also have to be a person who is not afraid
of speaking in front of people or a person with good communication skills. Most people are afraid of
public speaking but it is something that you can always learn as you grow older. You just need to try
and get out of your comfort zone and push yourself into doing it and the more you do it, the better
you become at doing it, and your confidence levels increase. There is no growth in the comfort
zone".
Sinesipho believes that because Science Engagement or Communication is still a specialised
segment, it affords it the opportunity for growth-both for the individual and the industry. “I could
grow within the industry too by coming up with more innovative ideas which will put Science
Engagement on the map and make it one of the biggest industries, not only in South Africa, but also
in Africa as a whole. By putting science engagement on the map, there could be more job
opportunities available and there could even be Science Engagement businesses that could be
started”
The work that Sinesipho and her team do has become a necessity for education in present-day South
Africa. As Science Communicators, they are able to help learners who are still in High School with
making more informed decisions about the different kinds of careers that exist within the sciences.
They also assist educators to use space to develop classroom activities that make learning fun and
even entertaining. She remembers how different it was for during her school days, “I think my work
is quite relevant in today's time. I remember when I was still in high school we never had people
come to my school and inform us about the different careers that exist out there. I don't even
remember attending a science festival. When we chose subjects and even courses at university, we
were not really making informed decisions. I, for one, also never thought of going through the
internet and searching for such information”.
As a young person still starting out her career, there are some things that she hopes to achieve in
her life. However, throughout my years of growing and experiencing life, she has also learnt that one
can never really be certain about what life has in store for them. “Sometimes in other aspects of
your life you can be forced to take life as it comes or take opportunities as they come. But my dream

of becoming the agent of change in my rural community of Keiskammahoek will continue to drive
my ambitions.

Being a part of this network of Science Communicators, she sees the importance and relevance
thereof; especially as we transition into the 4 th Industrial Revolution where changes to how we live,
work and relate to each other are guaranteed. According to her, they do what they to inflict change
in our country, and to let the younger generation know about the different sciences that exist out
there. “As a young and black female who is part of this network of Science Communicators, I think
we also need more women, and more young black women to dominate this industry and help with
empowering our youth. Like our Miss Universe (Zozibini Tunzi) said, ‘we should be teaching young
girls to take up space’ more especially in the Science sector”.