Building future leaders today the Madiba way

A programme focused on transforming young adults to emulate the extraordinary thinking of former President Nelson Mandela was launched in Johannesburg.

The Champion Within youth programme is going to be concentrating on on the mindset of Madiba and helping the forthcoming generation in discovering their own personal champion attitude while they examine the world icon’s political life, the manner in which he tutored, coached and mentored others, along with his vibrant mentality.

The programme will also be put into use to provide a framework in order to reach and impact the lives of one million youngsters by 2020.

The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and Life College Association have combined capabilities to formulate the exclusive content of the programme.


Pat Pillai, the founder and CEO of the Life College Group


Life College boss Pat Pillai explained how they plan to encourage young people to paticipate in the programme by way of partnering with registered youth organisations, government and institutions of higher learning. Pillai said creating the programme together with its support network will cost approximately R5.6 million.

“The danger is that the mindset of the nation’s younger generation is up for grabs currently. Our next developmental challenge is under no circumstances simple, but it will need to incorporate programmes to positively impact the self-awareness, character, critical thinking and mentality of our youth making sure that a principle-centred paradigm shift is attained personally and collectively,” he explained.

Via the Champion Within programme, Pillai said young adults throughout the country will understand that genuine change occurs within them first.

Verne Harris of the Centre of Memory pointed out that the programme draws on the book “Conversations with Myself” by Nelson Mandela in addition to his comprehensive personal archive

The programme is at present being researched and co-developed and will probably be all set for roll-out by February 2012.


“We are calling for additional partners. Work at tertiary level is going to be carried out in close cooperation with the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, which experts claim is an extremely successful advanced leadership programme for university level students,” said Harris.

Nelson Mandela Foundation boss, Achmat Dangor, said: “The goal and vision of the programme is to take advantage of the lifework of Nelson Mandela and his generation of leaders to develop a nation of champions.” According to Dangor, the one million youth they are hoping to reach and inspire via the programme will also be encouraged to make every day a Mandela Day.

“We are going to do so simply by partnering with as well as providing the programme to schools, universities, companies, civil society and government youth programmes,” he explained, adding that an online network will link the Champion Within students throughout the country.

Youth representative, Xolile Ndlovu, a third year student at the Wits School of Education said: “I believe that upon completion of my teaching degree, I will be in a position to teach students values and principles of life to enable them to contribute positively in their respective communities.”


Nkosikazi Nobubele Mandela talks with Pat Pillai


Another youth representative, Beejal Govan, 22, a qualified pilot, said as a result of the new programme, youth can certainly make a tremendous impact both in the country and the world.

Twenty-two year-old Jemaine Swartz pointed out: “Since challenges will never disappear altogether in our lifetime as young people, the new programme will assist many of us to be strong, to think and do things like Madiba did.”

Vice chairperson and executive director of the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection, Joel Netshitenzhe, said: “The Champion Within offers a one of a kind opportunity to create networks that have the possibility to awaken the giant in each of our young people and stir the genius that lies suppressed by self-doubt for each to realise that in their individual uniqueness, lies the opportunity to take forward Mandela’s endeavors, consequently we can assert our humanity and forge a spirit of social solidarity,” he said.

Source: BuaNews, (images)


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