Local high school students tackle injustice with new online platform

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Top universities are looking for candidates who demonstrate leadership and innovation during this time.
Top universities are looking for candidates who demonstrate leadership and innovation during this time.

Five Johannesburg-based high school students have used their time in lockdown to drive positive social change.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise of socially conscious protest movements, including Black Lives Matter and the fight against gender-based violence, the students, from St John's College and Roedean School, have remotely built and launched an online platform to respond to the injustices and challenges faced by local and international youth.

"The platform is called Ukuzibuza, which means 'to ask oneself' because that's what we all need to be doing right now," says Sazi Bongwe, co-creator of Ukuzibuza and a matric student at St John's College.

"It's a space for other people my age to explore their feelings about issues that are affecting them, from race and sexuality to the changing nature of education. At the same time, we're helping young people find confidence in publishing their writing and using their voices." 

Beyond the positive social impact of the website, heading up the creation of the platform also aligns with Sazi's goal of studying applied mathematics and economics at a top university in the United States.

Sazi and fellow Ukuzibuza co-creator, Eli Osei, teamed up with Crimson Education, a global mentoring company that connects students with admission strategists and tutors, to assist them with the complex application process for overseas universities.

"When I pitched the website idea to my extracurricular and leadership mentor at Crimson, I was still quite sceptical about whether it would work. She assured me that it was worthwhile and immediately started helping me create a plan for getting it off the ground. She supported me and provided a lot of guidance in terms of logistics and dealing with people," says Sazi.

Read: A Cape Town mom couldn't find a school for her autistic son. So she started one

Rebecca Pretorius, Country Manager at Crimson Education, says "Top universities are looking for candidates who demonstrate leadership and innovation during this time. The work that Sazi and Eli have done is a great example of how students can build an impressive university application, even with school and club-based activities, extracurriculars, competitions, and events being cancelled."

"Students have more time, power, and flexibility in their extracurricular options now than they think." 

Crimson supports students who are interested in developing impact projects, like Sazi and Eli's, through the 'Crimson Youth Fund', a philanthropic arm of Crimson Education, created to provide students or recent graduates aged 13 to 21-year-olds with essential resources to bring their event or project to life.

For more information, or to submit a piece of writing, visit www.ukuzibuza.com.

Submitted to Parent24 by Crimson Education

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