Influence leaves lasting imprint

2017-11-16 06:00
Luthando Sibozo.

Luthando Sibozo.

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Being a mentor is about having a positive influence on a young person and helping guide them through the challenges presented by everyday life.

Many youngsters grow up with mentors and with that in mind the South African Breweries has launced the 18+ ‘Be the mentor’ campaign.

“The 18+ campaign encourages young adults to ‘be the mentor you wish you had’ and to help teens make positive life choices, including staying away from alcohol,” saidMonwabisi Fandeso, SAB’s Executive Director Corporate Affairs and Transformation.

The company has employed 10 Local Area Managers (LAMs) to help train and support mentors in the townships.

Luthando Sibozo and Ntokozo Magadla from Khayelitsha are amongst the employed . Luthando was raised in a township without any proper guidance and believes that if he had a mentor growing up, some of his past mistakes could have been prevented.

“By being able to help someone and being someone for her to look up to is something that is close to my heart,” said Luthando.

This could involve giving someone advice, talking about how to avoid peer pressure, sharing your own experiences and mistakes you wish you had not made and how you managed them, or getting them to understand why they should not drink before they are 18.

Luthando is currently completing his accounting diploma at Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

He is also the co-founder of Inguquko Consulting Agency, which assists individuals in starting their own businesses through company registration as well as business profiling, tax clearance and BEE certificates.

He believes his circumstances as a child shaped him into becoming his own mentor and instilled in him a sense of ‘‘wanting to be better than my surroundings’’.

By being a mentor, he has placed a keen focus on improving himself daily – so that he is a better role model to his mentee. “Mentorship to me means to help, guide, assist and improve another person’s life in any positive way possible,” he said.

Living in a disadvantaged community, issues such as gangsterism and substance abuse often leads to abuse within households.

“High school students are dealing with an escalating frequency of rape and gangsterism and this unfortunately increases the rate of school dropouts. This is why I grabbed the opportunity to be part of this campaign, as a mentor and guide to my fiancés younger sister.”

One of the most meaningful moments Luthando has had as a mentor occurred when he and his mentee attended an orphanage.

“I observed how she interacted with all the kids and told them never to give up in life.” Seeing this made Luthando realise what an amazing woman she would be one day.

Luthando’s dream for his mentee is for her to achieve all her goals especially her passion for art, which they often enjoy together.

“I use this time as a platform to address any struggles she may be having and give her advice on how to deal with things the correct way instead of falling into the trap of alcohol abuse, as I know from personal experience this is often an easy way out for teenagers.”

Be the change you want to see in the world” best describes Ntokozo Magadla, one of the new Local Area Managers (LAM) .

Ntokozo has always wanted to be a positive role model for the youth in her community.

In June 2017, SAB upweighted the 18+ pilot programme and the new approach uses past mentors as inspiration for new mentors.

The pilot campaign made use of approximately 200 mentors (young influencers) from Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, which has been increased to more than 500 volunteer mentors across five provinces. The revised campaign has the potential to reach at least 1000 teenagers.

Ntokozo says she had several positive role models in her life who were able to give her advice and shared some of their life experiences with her and this inspired her to become a mentor.

“My mom has been an amazing example of strength, perseverance, the importance of creating opportunities for yourself and believing in yourself. I did not have specific mentors but different people and organisations that played a role in who I have become.”

While Ntokozo is new to mentoring, she sees it as a learning opportunity. “The journey of being a mentor is still very new.

I have already learnt that it is not always easy to connect with a person and that things may not work out as I planned and that is okay too.”

Ntokozo says issues facing the youth today are no different to when she was at school.

“The issues children face have not changed, but they have intensified. The youth are faced with poverty, crime, drugs, alcohol, teenage pregnancy and peer pressure. The list is endless but I believe teenagers across the world are faced with similar issues just in varying degrees.”

As a mother, Ntozoko hopes to highlight that becoming a parent so young is a huge responsibility and her life lesson could help her mentee make the right decisions now.

“I was a teenage mother and would not want my mentee to be in that position, being a parent is a great responsibility and an honour but it can and should wait until we are prepared and sure about it.”

But most importantly, she wants her mentee to have a balanced lifestyle. “There is a lot of pressure to do well at school, but we are only young once and we all need to have fun and enjoy the present - responsibly.”

With the main aim of the 18+ campaign being to curb underage drinking, Ntokoza hopes that she would be able to suggest alternative activities to her mentee and help her make the right decisions.

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