Superb young South Africans

The saying goes “our children are our future”, which can be a terrifying thought when you look at your little bundle of joy sitting in the sandpit eating dirt. But how exciting is it to watch him/her sit there pondering the world, knowing that they have the potential to create great things; that they will be able to right our wrongs and take our rights even further. The potential in our children is unimaginable.

Since 2006, Mail & Guardian has been searching all over South Africa to find out just how spectacular our youngsters (under 35) are. Here’s a summary of some of the 200 Young South African 2016 Rising Stars. These kids are between 12 and 18 years of age and stand out across an array of arenas – science, sport, social services, etc.

Tlaleng Ketumile – Gender activist


When Tlaleng and her grade 10 classmates were tasked to identify a social issue in their community and how to approach it, they immediately focussed on teenage pregnancies. However, on closer inspection, they realised that the direct cause thereof was statutory rape. Tlaleng led the group, and they started a campaign, Stand Together Against Rape (STAR), that created online awareness, silent protests and a safe place for rape victims. She has also initiated a programme to encourage gender equality in schools, amongst the pupils.

Thulani Chiliza – Cricketer


At only 14, Thulani is already proving to be a master cricketer. Despite his difficult living situation, losing their home in a storm and now living in a community centre, Thulani does not miss cricket practice. He played for the KwaZulu-Natal under-13 team in 2015. And in March 2016, this all-rounder scored 125 (four sixes) not out in a KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union Township and Rural Development junior camp match, and he filled in for the under-16 team where he showed off his bowling skills: six overs, two maidens and five wickets for just 18 runs.

Kamvalethu Rengqe – School late-coming activist


Kamvalethu’s dream is to open a recreational youth centre in KwaNobuhle, hoping to keep kids away from crime and drugs. He also knows the importance of education, which is why he led a team that created an activation campaign at their school, addressing the problems associated by arriving late. His programme has been so successful that, in a school of 1 190 students, there are now rarely more than ten pupils late on a day. In addition, Kamvalethu and his team won the Empowervate Trust Youth Citizen Action Programme (YCAP) 2015 Eastern Cape provincial competition, and the national championships in the secondary schools category.

Armand Duvenage – Inventor


Armand is an 18-year-old high school student, who has a soft spot for science and, more specifically, electronics. For his grade 10 science expo, he created a wireless energy management system. This programme allowed him to switch household appliances on and off via his smartphone and manages his home’s energy consumption remotely. He not only represented his school and region at the Eskom International Science Fair, but also South Africa at the Intel ISEF 2015, in Pittsburgh in the US, where he came third in the Embedded Systems category.

Information and images are taken from Mail & Guardian.

Image source: Radhanath Swami Inspires