A man with a passion for helping young people

Programme initiated by Cala’s Rev Thembelani Vazi is aimed at enhancing educational opportunities for future leaders

Methodist church minister, Thembelani Vazi started his non-profit organisation to reach out to learners living in marginalised areas.
Methodist church minister, Thembelani Vazi started his non-profit organisation to reach out to learners living in marginalised areas.

Growing up in an area where resources were scarce, pastor Thembelani Vazi took it upon himself to address the needs of children in marginalised communities.

Hailing from a village nestled between Komani and Cala, Vazi has been widely praised for his contributions to youth development.

Driven by his personal experiences and a deep sense of compassion, Vazi founded the Reverend Vazi Izwi Mentorship Hub, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to supporting the holistic development of young people.

Through this initiative he has made a tangible difference to the lives of more than 90 young individuals, particularly pupils, providing them with essential resources and guidance.

Vazi said moving back to Cala from Johannesburg had left him with a strong urge to promote education within the community.

His programme encompasses various initiatives aimed at enhancing educational opportunities for future leaders.

These include teaching digital literacy skills, establishing reading clubs, fostering a culture of change-making, offering after-school support and introducing a dignity programme to address the broader needs of society..

The pastor travels to the surrounding areas, with laptops donated by Digify Africa, to educate those without access to computers and internet connections. 

“We are a self-funded NPO,” he said.

“In 2019, I relocated to Emalahleni municipality, and in my engagement with the community I saw an education gap. 

“We started the hub mainly at Indwe High School, but as time went we were able to cover the surrounding schools.” 

Vazi said discussions with the youth resonated deeply with him.

Presently they were engaging in conversations about critical topics such as climate change. 

“People live in poor areas and that has an impact on children — they end up not wanting to go to school.

“So while we are raising awareness, we are also trying to generate income.” 

He is also working on a global project. Pupils are expected to make a documentary on gender equality, and one of them is expected to join their peers in Germany in October to showcase the documentary.

Vazi said he was driven by love of children, having walked the path of being needy and struggling to access resources himself.

“This is a passion and a way of contributing to society to make sure these children are able to make a living.

“Our beneficiaries are from rural villages and farms and they need these resources.

“The programmes speak to my heart because I never experienced these opportunities.

“Where I grew up in Qonce, most of my peers ended up throwing in the towel because they could not get access to the resources they needed.

“I can relate to that experience.”

One of his most rewarding moments was witnessing the students he mentored pursue higher education and returning with qualifications.

“I feel a profound sense of fulfilment whenever I see that. It shows my efforts are making a real impact.” 

Vazi was nominated by Lungile Jali, a community activist who believed the pastor needed to be celebrated.

Vazi's efforts had made a difference in the community, Jali said. 

“Rev Vazi stands out as a beacon of inspiration in the area of Emalahleni municipality, Indwe villages — tirelessly working to create positive change and opportunities for the teenagers and youth.

“His passion for nurturing the potential of young people is evident in every project and programme they undertake.

“Through him, numerous youth programmes have flourished, providing a safe space for personal growth, skills development and community engagement.


“He embodies the qualities of a true change-maker in the realm of pupils’ programmes.

“His selflessness, dedication, innovation and impact have made a difference in the lives of many young individuals, especially those from marginalised communities such as villages and farms.”



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