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Educating young men to be responsible adults

Local Heroes nominee tries to motivate wayward youth to mend their ways

Eastern Cape-born Local Heroes nominee Monde Sitole has taken on the burden of educating young men on how to be responsible adults in their societies.
Eastern Cape-born Local Heroes nominee Monde Sitole has taken on the burden of educating young men on how to be responsible adults in their societies.
Image: SUPPLIED

Eastern Cape-born Local Heroes nominee Monde Sitole has taken on the burden of educating young men on how to be responsible adults in their societies.

The 32-year-old, who hails from Nqamakwe, has been a teacher, motivator and a supporter of young people who are still figuring out their identities.

Young boys who find themselves on the wrong side of the law are motivated to mend their ways.

His non-profit organisation, Monde Sitole Foundation, which operates in the Western Cape and Nqamakwe, has kept many young boys off the streets.

He said he used the mountain as a classroom when he began and it was a way of learning life lessons.

This, according to him, was a way of demonstrating to the youth they could envision themselves beyond any challenges they may encounter.

... there are people who you lead from the back who might be slow or reserved, people you lead from the front who are fast and not taking in as much, and lastly people you lead from the side who are mature but still need a companion

“I feel we have extremely severe backgrounds, and it is quite wonderful to use extreme sports. 

“The beauty in using extreme sports, we teach them mountain leadership — there are people who you lead from the back who might be slow or reserved, people you lead from the front who are fast and not taking in as much, and lastly people you lead from the side who are mature but still need a companion.”

The foundation normally holds a three-day summit annually to empower young people.

“In normal summits, we encourage inventive people who are young and eager to start a business, while inviting teachers who will demonstrate how teaching is an art, and then provide young people with platforms to exhibit their abilities,” he said.

The goal, according to him, was to stop the poverty and crime cycle among young people.

He was adamant that if boys could stab people, they could not fail at everything, and this was meant to be their daily incentive.

“If a child can stab, he should try fencing so they can mutate the reckless spirit into something worthwhile,” he said.

Sitole said it had always seemed to him that gangsters who could loot people’s stuff had the same fearlessness they could use to climb mountains.

“But all of the transformations begin with dialogue and collective effort,” he said.

I want to shift the narrative at home because there is so much that is vital and needs to be implemented in the Eastern Cape

He said it was vital to put effort into altering lives at home after serving some time in the Western Cape trying to modify the behaviour of the youth.

“I want to shift the narrative at home because there is so much that is vital and needs to be implemented in the Eastern Cape.”

His two-year effort in the Eastern Cape was his finest accomplishment.

An ex-convict’s garden is finally blooming, and the community has joined in, while he has introduced football to Nqamakwe jail.

“A former gangster has started his garden; I’m simply at the rear providing assistance. 

“The neighbourhood has joined in, and we are now talking about approaching large local shops to stock our items.”

Sitole was adamant if men wanted to change, they would, and this was his approach while reaching out to the prison population.

The football club’s mission is to improve the lives of prison inmates through sports.

“For us to fix the country, it begins with opening pathways and dialogues, opening doors for one another.

“This football club, which will later turn into a tournament, is focused on giving a hand up instead of giving hand-outs,” he said.

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