A Phandulwazi High School Grade 11 pupil Khanya Mthala, 16, has reason to walk tall in Lower Crossroads after getting a civic award for his community service.
The mayor’s office and his school held a surprise ceremony, on Tuesday last week, to hand over the Mayor’s Pride Civic Award, which recognises Khanya’s efforts to combat illegal dumping and gender-based violence while teaching dancing to youth at risk.
“I am over the moon to have won such an award,” said Khanya. “I never thought that a child from a crime-riddled area would win such an award. Remember my school is situated in an area known for crime. But at least people would hear something positive about my area. I dedicate this award to all, my school and the community.”
Illegal dumping plagued the community, and it was important to raise awareness of its hazards, he said.
“Illegal dumping is a health risk. Another problem is that the sites where people dump are also grounds for dead bodies. Dead bodies have been found in some of them. When we dump, we put our lives in danger. The dump attracts rats, mosquitoes and flies. That is not healthy at all.”
Ayanda Nonambane, a representative from the mayor’s office, said the award came with a cash prize and a certificate and was meant to motivate young people to serve their school and community.
“The competition shows that their background must not deter them from achieving their dreams and making a positive impact where they live. We are happy for him and encourage others to enter the competition too.”
School principal Nosisi Booi praised Khanya as a “very dedicated pupil” and said she hoped others would follow his example.
“I’m lost for words. He has made us proud. He is one kid who is actively involved even in our school choir. Not only that, he excels in his school work.”
Ward councillor Mboniswa Chita said Khanya’s achievement showed that good things also happened in Lower Crossroads.