POLOKWANE – Former Stanford Lake College learner, Samuel Ntsanwisi was recently awarded an Inyathelo Philanthropy Award in youth development.
A youth activist and the founder of Vanthswa Va Xivono, (youth with a vision) Ntsanwisi was honoured along 12 other people, who included a couple of his friends whom he set up an organisation known as Spread the Luv Movement with.
The Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards were established eight years ago to acknowledge, celebrate and honour those whose personal giving has contributed towards sustainable social change in the country. Inyathelo is a non-profit organisation (NGO) in South Africa that supports other NGOs to grow and help communities. The Inyathelo awards are held annually to honour community builders.
According to Sarah Nicklin, Inyathelo media, communications, information and resources manager, the awards aim to inspire young people to establish organisations that will benefit their communities.
Ntsanwisi ran more than 1 850km in 32 days last year as part of his ongoing efforts to raise awareness and money for abused women and children.
According to Stanford Lake College Marketer, Rona McGaffin, Ntsanwisi enjoyed a privileged upbringing, but felt compelled to help those who have not had the same opportunities as he had in life.
McGaffin said it all started when Ntsanwisi was 18 and wanted to set up a band to groom aspirant musicians.
“He met so many talented youngsters, but most of them were unable to fulfil their potential because of the social challenges they faced each day,” said McGaffin.
She said he started helping others informally, organising opportunities and introducing them to people that could help.
“After studying film and working in the industry, he set up his own film company and used most of the proceeds to fund his youth organisation, Vantshwa Va Xivono.
Ntsanwisi currently works as the director of Bjatladi Youth Development, and McGaffin said he hoped to establish his own youth centre soon.
“He works closely with the South African Police Service’s Victim Empowerment Unit in guiding young people to make positive choices and empowering them with life skills, knowledge and opportunities. Apart from his coaching and mentoring at schools, he also works weekly with a group of 30 disadvantaged and orphaned youngsters in Nkowankowa, helping them with any personal and or school related problems they might have,” she said.