Pretoria – Being part of the Nzalo Mentorship Programme has instilled confidence in 19-year-old Grace Mbebuwa, who aspires to be a prosecutor.
As part of the programme, Mbebuwa has been privileged to get advice from a State prosecutor, as she wants to pursue a career in law.
“My mentor has been able to make me believe in myself. She has helped me to see that if I want to achieve anything in life, it has to start with me and I have to be willing to work hard to achieve my dreams,” Mbebuwa said.
Mbebuwa, who joined the programme in 2014, has shadowed her mentor and she speaks to her at least once a month about what is going on in her life.
The Grade 12 learner has applied to study law at the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Cape Town.
Nzalo Careers and Freedom Park on Saturday commemorated Mandela Day by rolling out the Nzalo Mentorship Programme, which is aimed at empowering 67 young Grade 12 and tertiary learners from Olivenhoutbosch, Diepsloot, Ennerdale, Alexandra, Mamelodi, Atteridgeville and Sunnyside.
During the event, learners and undergraduates had a mentorship session with their mentors. The event was structured to ensure that the platform allows both mentor and mentee to continue the relationship, even after the event.
Nzalo Careers MD Sedzani Netshitenzhe said the programme was established to help mentor young people, who needed advice on their careers.
The organisation conducts afterschool care programmes nationally. The programmes are aimed at facilitating career and leadership development, as well as hosting various educational career activities.
Netshitenzhe said the programme has had a positive impact on its beneficiaries, as one young man, who grew up in a child-headed home, has been able to access opportunities because of the programme.
“We have an initiative where we encourage young people to start their own businesses. [The young man’s] business was fixing computers for people in the township. That has helped to put food on his table.
“Right now, he’s doing his first year in computer science. It’s because he was part of this programme that he was able to access opportunities,” Netshitenzhe said.
Freedom Park Education Manager Jabulani Phelago said the heritage site partnered with this programme because it is in line with the organisation’s vision and mission.
“One of our goals is to ensure that the youth are developed as they are the future of South Africa. One of our educational programmes is youth focused, so this is in line with what we want to do,” Phelago said.
Annually, Freedom Park allows the programme to use its space for free, which includes the use of the park’s sound system.
Motivational speaker Victor Dlutu encouraged young people to believe in themselves and to have a positive attitude.
“A victor always remains positive, regardless of the circumstances in their lives. Victors take full responsibility for their lives, they don’t blame others for their problems,” Dlutu said.