LOCAL HERO | This man changes school-leavers’ lives

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Talukanyani Razwiedani was chosen as a Community Hero in the Beacon Giving and Sharing competition. (Image: Supplied)
Talukanyani Razwiedani was chosen as a Community Hero in the Beacon Giving and Sharing competition. (Image: Supplied)

Talukanyani Razwiedani is what most would call a genuinely nice guy. He’s patient, kind and has a passion for giving youth in his community the leg-up they need to fulfil their dreams, and is fully deserving of his nomination as a Community Hero in the Beacon Giving and Sharing competition. 

Talukanyani needed to take a gap year after school because his maths marks weren’t quite up to scratch for his chosen degree: Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting. During this time, he realised how many young people there were at home in Limpopo, in the same period of their lives as him, but with no access to information. This was where their education stopped. 

“I knew what I had to do to get into university, but many others didn’t,” says Talukanyani.

That’s how his idea of getting more underprivileged students into places of higher education started.

“Initially, it was a matter of just talking to grade 11 and 12 students in my community. I would take the university forms and brochures (in 2008, there were no online applications!) and hand them out to those who didn’t have information about different courses and what was required to be accepted.”

Realising he could reach so many more people, Talukanyani started going to schools in the area and addressing the students. “I would then arrange to meet with those interested in applying for higher education and assist them.”

“I also had to motivate them to believe in themselves. I would tell them, ‘Don’t limit yourself. There are a lot of careers out there. You can be whatever you want to be! Here’s the information you need to be accepted and make it happen’.”

“Of course, some were just too lazy,” Talukanyani laughs, “so I sat with them and actually filled in the forms with them.” It’s little actions like these that make Talukanyani a worthy Beacon Giving and Sharing Community Hero.

More than just filling in application forms, he also made it his mission to help the students apply for the various bursaries on offer, as “so many had dreams, but just assumed they couldn’t afford the fees.”

To date, approximately 15 students have graduated under Talukanyani’s guidance. Not only did he follow their journeys, but he would also check in on how they were coping because “adjusting to the big city from rural Limpopo life can be a challenge.” Once the students reach their final year of studying, he helps them structure their CVs for future job opportunities and, as his friend Virginia says, “he guides them through the journey of life.”

Now permanently employed in national government as a financial analyst, Talukanyani has help with his get-more-youth-enrolled-in-higher-education project in the form of an assistant. Although he’s not as hands-on as he used to be, he still offers his services and mentors his students remotely. “Fortunately, the internet makes searching for information, applications and communication so much easier.”

It’s not just the importance of education that is close to his heart. Talukanyani is an advocate of rallying the youth into action. “We tend to ignore what’s going on in our community. If there is something happening in the community, it affects us all and we need to get involved. The community needs us. Spread the word. Report a crime. Don’t stand back and ignore it.”

His message speaks to all South Africans. We can learn a lot from Talukanyani.

Talukanyani Razwiedani is a winner in the Beacon Giving and Sharing competition, and receives R5 000. Virginia Sibadela wins a Beacon hamper for nominating him.

This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by Beacon.

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