Grahamstown’s Mandilakhe Ncwadi, a Nombulelo Secondary School learner who lives at the Eluxolweni Child and Youth Care Centre is a Presidents Award Gold ambassador, representing the Eastern Cape.
The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment is a sustainable national youth development programme that has been operating in South Africa for more than 30 years. It reaches more than 16 000 young people from schools, community groups, residential youth facilities and correctional centres.
Mandilakhe, 18, was competing with a Port Elizabeth pupil for gold status and was selected to represent Eastern Cape in Johannesburg Schools Sleep-Out.
He attended school at Amasango andin the past was ashamed to mention that he lives in an orphanage home: he was afraid people would paint him as a hooligan.
It actually took him two years to accept his situation, along with people’s ignorance, and he appreciated the home he was offered. He’s been there since 2007.
He grew up not knowing his father, until he met him last year, and says he was never sadden by the situation even though he felt pain of not having a father.
Mandilakhe’s mother doesn’t have a place to live, is mentally disturbed and roams the streets of Grahamstown. Even so, she sometimes visits the centre to see her son.
Mandilakhe told Grocott’s Mail, “When I grew up, I want to be a successful businessman and I want to open my own shelter,” he said.
“Growing up not owning anything, and then offered a home, I feel I should play my part and help out, because I know how it feels not to have,” he said.
He is saddened by the fact that he know some of his relapsed brothers from the shelter sleep wherever they are when the sun sets.
Mandilakhe resolved anger issues with the help of social workers; however, his biggest inspiration is helper, Marks “Ta Marks” Matiwane.
He believes that, having a place to stay and continuing with his studies, is God’s work.
Mandilakhe pleads with people of Grahamstown to support him, as he will be fund-raising to donate to other street children and is not doing it for personal interests.
He also encourages young people to join the President’s Award and help empower the youth of South Africa.
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