Educator’s passion project is teaching girls to believe in themselves
Kutala Mditshane empowers young women to develop self-worth and find their hidden talents
After resigning as a teacher in 2014, and furthering her studies in drama and theatre education at Free State University, Kutala Mditshane, 51, has continued with her passion for developing young girls.
She started programmes aimed at upholding good values, empowering girls to fight teenage pregnancy, drug and substance abuse.
“Growing up in Cala, I was one of those lazy girls who avoided doing household chores and nobody liked me,” Mditshane recalled. “Surprisingly, at school I was among the best pupils, especially in needlework and clothing. Even at church, during Sunday school time, I would excel in acting and dancing.
That is when I started believing that there was no need to be perfect to inspire others — let people be inspired by how you deal with your imperfections
“That is when I started believing that there was no need to be perfect to inspire others — let people be inspired by how you deal with your imperfections.”
Mditshane’s need to develop the youth stemmed from her previous profession — teaching — and so the passion to do more for her community escalated.
Her dedication in assisting girls and women by nurturing their hidden talents has landed many in a good place to start out on their own career paths. During her tenure at the department of education, Mditshane worked hard to raise the standard of extra-curricular activities, believing that not every child would succeed academically.
“There were trends affecting the health and wellbeing of girls; I saw a gap that would befit my passion,” she said. “Our girls are living in poverty and low-income households; they face considerable challenges that affect their health and happiness.
They develop self-doubt tendencies and lack self-confidence. That is why I dedicated myself more to rescuing their souls and fighting the negative mindset by introducing ideas that made them believe they can do something,” she said.
She works closely with Imbumba Yamakhosikazi Akomkhulu, chaired by Queen Madosini Ndamase, to empower girls and women not to succumb to any form of gender-based violence within their households and communities.
Mditshane is the founder of Yohe Multi Arts, where young people showcase their artistic talents. She also chairs the Ilpeli Yabafazi Co-operative, a programme designed for women who want to develop and improve their skills in beadwork, sewing and agriculture.
Through her passion for helping girls reach their full potential, Mditshane’s efforts have produced girls that participated in national pageants like Indoni Miss Cultural SA.
I challenge other volunteers to start programmes that boost girls’ self-confidence by helping them develop a positive sense of self
“I believe there are not enough programmes for our youth to assist them in advancing their talents. Policies that value the well-being of this generation of women could be of great significance.
“I challenge other volunteers to start programmes that boost girls’ self-confidence by helping them develop a positive sense of self, especially after so much they have to face,” Mditshane said.
Nominator Siphokazi Ngwenya said: “Mditshane is a parent to every child; her hands are open to embrace everyone in need of help and advice. She has a big heart for information sharing; she has a strong eye for identifying hidden talents and is able to [let them grow].
“She is a social facilitator for rural development and also promotes gardening for consumption and selling to make a living,” Ngwenya added.
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