It was an inspirational morning for pupils from Mdibaniso Secondary School near Alice yesterday as they cheered a fellow pupil who received a trophy and cash in recognition for his selfless community work.
Bongile Sikane, 17, who was lauded for the role he played in getting taps installed in his Xesi village last year, received a Local Hero trophy from the Daily Dispatch during assembly and R1000.
The installation of taps formed part of Bongile’s community project with the International Leadership Academy (ILA), which requires pupils to identify and address needs in their communities.
Headed by Teresita Ndibongwe, the programme is designed for schools and aims to develop young leaders from communities.
Bongile said his next project was to fix the gravel road in his community. He said visitors often struggled to get in and out of the village due to the state of the road.
He said he would use his cash prize to pay for transport as he had struggled to get around while trying to complete his project last year.
“Our roads are very bad,” he said.
“I’ve already spoken to people who will assist me with the project and also people who will connect me with the relevant people to talk with.”
The enterprising teen has also identified daycare centres in his community that need assistance with resources such as stationery and toys, and plans to use some of his cash prize to assist them.
ILA founder Ndibongwe said she had no doubt that Bongile would achieve his goals.
“What Bongi did was an act of service to his community.
“He has so much to be proud of. I am also very proud of him.
“He has really shown growth from the young boy I met two years ago. All the students from his school are really inspired. I have no doubt in my mind that he will be able to achieve what he has set out to do,” said Ndibongwe.
School principal Zithabele Pikoli said Bongile was an outstanding example to his peers.
“Bongi has not only taught pupils to be responsible citizens but also that not everything is about recognition but doing good for others.
“I am definitely going to help him where he needs assistance on his project. He told me he wants to fix the roads in his township. The road in that community is very bad. It is the worst in the area,” said Pikoli.
The five Daily Dispatch Local Heroes in the youth category all received trophies and R1000 to help them continue their projects or donate it to local charities of their choice.
Sarah Kruger from Hudson Park Primary School and Max Jansen from Selborne Primary School said they would donate their money to the Childhood Cancer Foundation (CHOC) while Connor Maree from Selborne Primary School and Brad Blom from Stirling Primary School will donate to the SPCA. — firstname.lastname@example.org