Inspiring a generation of kids

2011-10-10 00:00

DURBAN’S Khethelo Hlongwa is the winner of the first phase of Disney XD’s Aim High, a new initiative designed to inspire a generation of children to get the most out of life, try new things and be the best they can be.

Twelve-year-old Khethelo beat off stiff competition from hundreds of entrants to win a once in a lifetime mentoring session with Idols 2010 winner, Elvis Blue and and a front-row seat to watch him perform when he opened for British singer James Blunt. Khethelo will also star on Disney XD in a film of his experience.

He said: “I still cannot actually believe I got to meet Elvis Blue. He is a massive inspiration to me and his music brings joy to so many. Elvis not only played guitar with me, but he also helped me to come up with music for my own song.

“Winning Disney XD’s Aim High was a once in a lifetime experience and I know that if my father, who died recently, could’ve seen me playing with Elvis Blue he would have been so proud.”

Youngsters who would like to follow in his Khethelo’s footsteps now have the chance to win an Aim High mentorship with Sharks and Springbok prop forward, Tendai “The Beast” Mtawarira.

Mtawarira described the chance to mentor children as both wonderful and humbling: “Interacting with children is very important to me. I consider it a major priority to be a role model and help them achieve their dreams. It is something I have always wanted to do.”

The winner of the competition will spend a day with The Beast, during which he plans to give them a glimpse into the life of a professional sport star.

“Becoming a professional rugby player takes hard work, dedication and a lot of tough training but, above all, it’s been determination and the support of the fans and those around me that has propelled me to the top,” he says.

“Wearing the green and gold of the national team has been a dream come true. Aim High allows me the chance to share my experiences with the next generation and hopefully in some small way, inspire them to reach for their dreams. I sincerely­ hope that after the winner has spent a day with me, he or she will be encouraged to be the best they can be.”

Asked what his three tips were for making it as a successful sport star, The Beast said: “Train hard, focus and be disciplined.”

When asked if he ever gets tired of hearing fans screaming “Beast” when he’s on the pitch, he answered: “In the heat of the battle I often don’t hear it, but when I run on and off the field I do. It is an amazing feeling. It is extremely humbling. I will never get tired of hearing that.”

Also taking part in the second phase of the campaign are award-winning photographer, Herman Verwey and sports journalist, Carlos­ Amato.

To win a chance of a mentoring session with these men, visit www.disneyxd.disney.co.za/stunt/aim-high before November 1. Select which mentorship you want to apply for, answer a multiple-choice question and tell Disney why you should be selected.

Disney XD can be found on DStv channel 304. — Arts Editor.

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