Convention aims to uplift and inspire youth

Failure can lead to success, if you show enough courage. That was the main theme in the opening speech delivered by MOT South Africa’s chairperson, Professor Eltie Links, at the MOT Courage2Lead Training Convention, which took place at the Century City Conference Centre on March 4 and 5.

MOT South Africa, a NPO providing life-skills development among youth attending Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and high schools in the Western Cape, hosted the Courage2Lead Training Convention to uplift, up-skill and inspire its youth, educational partners and international delegates from Norway, Denmark, Thailand and Latvia to lead with courage.

MOT, meaning courage in Norwegian, was brought to South Africa in 2006 to address the high drop-out rate of youth from schools and has been empowering South African youth to make better choices, develop active citizenry and strengthen their courage.

Through dialogue, prose, rapping and singing, MOT Youth from the College of Cape Town and False Bay, inspired convention delegates with their experiences of MOT and how MOT has had an impact on their lives. They spoke about the MOT Principles, which covered themes of focusing on the positive, strengthening relationships and working proactively towards a warmer and safer society.

Marlyn-Lee van Dieman, a MOT Youth from False Bay College, Mitchell’s Plain campus, said sharing what MOT has meant to him on a platform such as the Courage2Lead convention, was a great opportunity.

“It was an amazing experience and it definitely inspired me to make South Africa a better country,” he said. He also had a chance to network with youth from abroad.

Leading South African society through the eyes of the youth; becoming a game changer and leading courageously became main topics for the two-day event, where motivational guest speakers carried the theme of Courage2Lead in their presentations.

Delegates, educators and youth had the chance to meet South Africa’s top thought-leaders such as Mind Power Expert, Robin Banks; chairperson of the South African Women Entrepreneur’s Network in the Western Cape, Ency Litsoane; Western Cape Police Ombudsman, Advocate Vusi Pikoli; and businesswomen and author Dr Mamphela Ramphele.

Robin Banks, the top international speaker and Mind Power expert, spoke about how one can apply the mind to create change in their lives. He presented a lively session about how our thoughts effect our lives. “Your thoughts become your reality,” he said. He also emphasised that one has unlimited power to think whatever you want and that you have the power to choose what to think about.

Ency Litsoane, chairperson of the South African Women Entrepreneur’s Network, emphasised the importance that one needs values and purpose to be authentic in your life.

Advocate Pikoli reminded delegates why it is important to have courage as a leader; to be original when you have courage; that one’s values determines the kind of courage you embark on; and that our decisions, no matter how difficult, are based on our values.

Dr Ramphele challenged the youth to psychologically liberate themselves from racial oppression, to speak truth to power and stand up as South African citizens against injustice.

The MOT Excellence Awards and gala dinner celebrated MOT Partner schools, TVET Colleges and educators by awarding them for successfully implementing the MOT programmes at their respective educational institutions.

The evening was introduced by a swaying performance by the jazz band from South Peninsula High School. MOT Global president, Atle Vårvik, congratulated MOT South Africa for 10 years of existence in the country.

Corporate partners of MOT South Africa from the HCI Foundation and Pioneer Food Education on Community Trust were awarded for their continued support of the MOT Programme, and Odd Henning Johannessen was awarded for being one of the core founding members of MOT in South Africa.

Courage2Lead became a platform for the youth to grow and develop as future South African thought-leaders by exploring social behaviours and qualities of courageous leaders through a dynamic panel discussion with College of Cape Town lecturer and MOT Coach, Somayah Achmat as facilitator.

The impact of the MOT programme on the youth was substantiated by research done by the University of the Western Cape’s Further Education and Training Institute and was presented by researcher, Timothy McBride.

College of Cape Town student, singer and MOT Youth, Bukiwe Zinganto, said: “The Courage2Lead Convention inspired me to become a better South African citizen and it gave me the hope and courage to be a positive leader for our youth.”

Northlink College Performing Arts Department Students took delegates back in time by performing an extract from Sarafina! This performance encapsulated the struggle of youth in South Africa in 1976 and spoke to present youth to continue fighting against injustice and socio-economic challenges in South Africa.

* The MOT South Africa office is located at the College of Cape Town, Crawford Campus.