Paying it forward in rhythm, poetry

2016-06-28 06:00
Carwell Lekay with two of his fellow students during a class earlier this year.

Carwell Lekay with two of his fellow students during a class earlier this year.

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After moving to Mitchell’s Plain to complete his schooling, Carwell Lekay is anything but a typical South African young man.

He grew up in Factreton, an area notorious for gang violence and high crime rates. Due to a challenging home situation he moved to Mitchell’s Plain, where similar socio-economic challenges exist.

Coming from a background which would be classified as poor, Lekay faced the challenge making a better life for himself.

Like many who grow up in these communities, there is little interest in studying further and it is expected that one should accept a job in a factory like everyone else.

But Lekay was a unique individual, passionate about education and hungry for knowledge. “I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur and create social change in my community. As the youth it is up to us to be future leaders and remove ourselves from the streets. If I had the encouragement and knowledge right after I completed my matric, I believe I would be very far in life. I want the youth to chase their destiny like it owes them money,” says Lekay.

Despite encountering negative influences, Lekay never stopped believing in his dreams. He used rhythm and poetry as a tool to cope and express all the hardships he had faced. Having all his thoughts jotted down helped him to remember all the goals he set out to achieve.

Lekay is currently studying on a scholarship toward his bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship and leadership at the Tertiary School in Business Administration (TSiBA).

He also started a hip-hop and rhythm and poetry project called the “Bachelor of Skills Society” (Boss), which is a platform for youth to express themselves and share their feelings. The project hosts cypher battles – a freestyle verbal exchange between two or more people – which can get deeply raw and emotional. This further inspires people to journal their thoughts and reflect on their life experiences.

Lekay’s initiative seeks to create a new generation of youth who are socially conscious and want to improve their life situation instead of turning to gangsterism.

Boss is part of Lekay’s Pay it Forward initiative which is TSiBA’s philosophy of giving back to the community and empowering others. This is because students at TSiBA are on full or sliding scale scholarships and do not pay back their scholarships, but rather pay it forward by helping ignite opportunities in their communities through sharing of their skill sets.

TSiBA is a non-profit business school founded in 2004 and accredited with the department of higher education as a private higher education institution. Their curriculum is based on a “Profile of Graduateness” which places attitude at the heart of the student’s development, and layers skills and knowledge around this.

V Applications for the 2017 academic year close on Friday 30 September. For more information contact Kwanele Magwaca on 021 532 2750,, or visit

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