Be the Mentor is an SAB initiative that encourages young adults to help teens make positive life choices, including staying away from alcohol and other toxic situations. These are people from local communities who are striving to create a safe, positive and inspiring environment for the youth. Here are two mentors who have set an example to many young adults in Limpopo.
LET’S CATCH UP WITH FAITH
Helping the less fortunate has always been a dream of Limpopo beauty spa owner, Faith Dowelani. That is one of the reasons why she decided to join The South African Breweries 18+ Be the Mentor programme. As one of the new Local Area Managers, Faith hopes to bring about a positive change in her community.
Faith says her older sister was her mentor and was there for her when she needed her the most.
“Mentorship is like a guardian angel. Someone who offers a helping hand, an ear to listen and a guiding voice to those who aspire to do and be better,” she said. When Faith returned to Venda, she realised she wanted to be a mentor and make a positive difference in her community. “Being a mentor has made me a better person. I am less selfish now and I’m more considerate to others.”
She met her mentee while giving a talk at a girl’s forum, where she spoke about personal hygiene and beauty. Faith says her mentee has taught her that no obstacle is too big to overcome. “My mentee lost her mom recently and she was stronger than I could ever have been. She showed me that she could pick up the pieces and make the best of her situation.”
Faith believes that youth all face the same challenges, such as alcohol abuse and peer pressure. “There is a lot of pressure to keep up with the ‘Jones’ and celebrities.”
She hopes that her mentee will grow to be a successful, educated woman and make her mark in her industry of choice.
Faith hopes that by providing fun and meaningful activities for the youth in her community, she will help steer them away from underage drinking and other social ills.
Vhutsilo Mafunzwaini is a dedicated 25-year-old from the Thohoyandou township in Limpopo. He is an active member of the Takalani Foundation, which focuses on cleaning community schools and painting murals. Because of his passion for people, learning from them and listening to their views, Vhutsilo decided to join The South African Breweries 18+ Be the Mentor programme.
One of Vhutsilo’s many passions is creating “community development and uplifting people and knowing I can bring about change within my community”.
These passions drove him to join the programme so that he can “help and bring change to the youth within my community”. He aims to do this by “helping them stop underage consumption of alcohol”.
Vhutsilo believes mentorship is based on “trust and respect”, but that it is also a relationship that involves “support and encouragement”. His own mentor, as he was growing up, was a teacher from his high school.
Through the 18+ programme, Vhutsilo has the ability to “give advice and encourage people”. He was introduced to his mentees through his community and through friends. He met his mentees at a soccer match and simply asked “if they would like to have someone who can guide them in taking the correct path. Surprisingly, they all said yes without any hesitation”.
Kids in Vhutsilo’s community often face issues of drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy and theft. “These issues are often influenced by “their home situations where there is a lack of parenting.” Despite this, many attempt to succeed in school.
Mafunzwaini knew his mentee was “destroying his life” so he influenced him “to be more involved in sport”.
The programme has given Vhutsilo many memories, his favourite being “when my mentees told me that they were no longer influenced by friends or situations at home that may lead them to alcohol abuse.
One of the countless dreams he has for his mentees is to see them maximise their full potential and to be able to share their experiences with future generations.
Some of the activities Vhutsilo uses to give his mentees a break as well as keep them out of negative situations are “soccer, choir practices at church and now and then a relaxed gathering together so we can just be ourselves”.
BE A PART OF THE CHANGE
SAB believes everyone can be part of the change. The 18+ Be the Mentor initiative is about starting a movement which calls on everyone over the age of 18 in South Africa to take that first step and become a mentor and ‘Be Part of the Change’.
South Africans can be part of the campaign and make a difference to someone else’s life by pledging to be a mentor at www.bethementor.sab.co.za.