Learners and guest speakers at the Tracy Mtshali Foundation Initiative.

Tracey Mtshali Foundation Hosts Leadership & Science Initiative

The Tracey Mtshali Foundation hosted a Nurturing Greatness Initiative-Science and Leadership Competition on UKZN’s Howard College campus.

Founded in 2017, the foundation is a non-governmental organisation working to provide and mobilise resources to support quality education and youth empowerment among underprivileged children in rural schools. The focus of the foundation is on creating and implementing programmes that concentrate on education, development, mentoring and information sharing.

‘Our goal is to unlock intelligence, passion, commitment, focus, and great leadership in young people in rural areas, thus providing them with the tools and support needed to sustain themselves and fight against poverty and to improve access to basic needs and career training/planning critically needed,’ said event co-ordinator, Ms Nonjabulo Mazibuko.

The Nurturing Greatness Initiative is an inter-school competition in which students from previously disadvantaged schools compete in a leadership and science competition. The leadership competition comprises public speaking and debate, while the science contest involves students creating innovations to solve a national or global challenge, entrepreneurial purposes or to improve service.

This year there was also a panel discussion on science and innovation with panelists including Chairman of Logidist Group and founder of Tracey Mtshali Foundation, Dr Mthobisi Zondi; Tracey Mtshali Foundation Operations Manager, Ms Liat Madinane; Programme Officer at ACCORD, Ms Sibusiswe Nkosi; founder of SmartiPants, Ms Nonjabulo Gasa; founder of Iziko Stoves, Mr Lindokuhle Duma, and Chief Executive Officer of Southern African Shipyards, Mr Prasheen Maharaj.

‘It was a great honour to be invited to be part of the panel discussion on leadership – it meant a lot to me being a young woman in the NPO space,’ said Nkosi. ‘The discussion gave me a chance to share and motivate the young people on how other young people in conflict situations are not waiting for things to be done for them, but are doing things for themselves – a mentality young South Africans should adopt instead of always feeling entitled.’

Schools participating in the competition were Wozamoya High and Qinisani High with a total of 33 learners involved.

The objective of the initiative is to expose young people from previously disadvantaged schools to the professional environment, connect them to opportunities, and to provide a forum for education, knowledge transfers and the development of new skills and professional development.

‘The Tracey Mtshali Foundation thanks UKZN’s School of Engineering for sponsoring our participants with gifts bags and prizes in the science competition. The foundation also thanks Enactus UKZN, the School of Engineering and the Lebatho Pele Youth Parliament for judging the competition,’ said N Mazibuko.

Words: Zolile Duma

Photograph: Lungelo Mngomezulu