Mxit reaches out to aspiring youth

Mxit Reach CEO Andrew Rudge gives Nkanyiso Biyela his award for winning the Ibali Lami writing competition. (Supplied)
Mxit Reach CEO Andrew Rudge gives Nkanyiso Biyela his award for winning the Ibali Lami writing competition. (Supplied)
Cape Town – Key insights into education and career guidance were given when Mxit Reach announced the winner of its writing competition on Mandela Day in Cape Town.

KwaZulu-Natal’s scholars were the most active on Mxit’s educational platform, dominating activity with 25%, while 92% of the users were African. The top professions they aspired towards were those of doctor (15%) and entrepreneur (14%).

“It is very exciting to see so many young people wanting to become entrepreneurs,” said Mxit Reach CEO Andrew Rudge. “Something else that was interesting was how many dual careers they dreamt of pursuing, like being a lawyer as well as an entrepreneur.”

Another curious trend was that most scholars aiming to be doctors wanted to study in Cuba. “In a lot of the stories, they had studied medicine in Cuba, a reflection of career guidance being offered in state schools,” he said.

View Rudge's presentation:

Mxit Reach is a registered Public Benefit Organisation established to inspire and improve lives through the development of innovative and cost-effective mobile solutions. “We reach people through phones to help educate and mentor,” Rudge said. “We have the entire maths and science syllabus on our platform and give exam preparation for free.”

Realising a dream

“Martin Luther King had a dream. Nelson Mandela had a dream,” Rudge said at the announcement of the Ibali Lami winner. “We all have dreams and how we make sense of those dreams is the driving issue behind this competition.”

Ibali Lami, which means My Story in Xhosa, is a competition designed to encourage young people to develop their writing skills. Learners were asked to write a short story of up to 300 words on their mobile phones in which they imagine themselves as a 25-year-old in South Africa. Learners were encouraged to write in their home languages.

Nkanyiso Biyela was announced as the overall winner of the inaugural Ibali Lami national writing competition on Mandela Day at a prize-giving event held at the Department of Design in Cape Town. The competition, aimed at Grade 8-12 learner, was sponsored by Mxit Reach and run in partnership with the Department of Communications, Unicef, FundZa Literacy Trust and Pearson South Africa.

“I worked very hard for my dreams to come true,” Biyela said after receiving the award. “Education is the key to my success; you must know what you want in life.”

The five finalists were chosen by public votes and were invited to attend the event.

Rudge said the voting system helped educate the participants about the political process. “Every month over one million people access educational, health and counselling services via Mxit Reach,” the CEO said.

Watch Rudge at TedX:

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