Inspiring Site C community shaper, Bulelani Nameka, says children help him keep his imagination alive.
The 2016 Young Community Shapers winner received R60 000 for a project of his choice
Mr Nameka won the prize for his Isikhokelo homework and reading project at the prestigious “Hall of Fame” themed event which took place at Melrose Arch, Gauteng, on Tuesday August 23, where nine finalists had the opportunity to showcase their community projects.
The finalists were handpicked individuals selected for running uplifting projects which are bettering lives and giving hope to members of their communities. These incredible individuals are changing lives and doing their part to create a brighter future. Mr Nameka, along with the assistance of volunteers, helps 50 children between the ages of nine to 13 who struggle with reading, writing, spelling and maths.
Talking to Vukani at his Site C home, Mr Nameka said while he had played a big role in developing young people of his Site C community, he had not expected to be a winner.
“It was quite overwhelming. There were just too many good projects that caught my eye there. But I am happy to be tops after all,” he said.
He said his project has led to a drastic improvement in the children’s marks at schools and that through his project he had also been able to help a primary school. With the money he won, he is planning to build a learning centre where children from around Khayelitsha can come for literacy classes.
“Being named a community shaper was a dream come true for me. This for me was more than winning, but inspiring young kids out there. I lost both my parents when I was young. My father passed on when I was only two years old and my mother when I was doing Grade 10. This to me is to show that they (children) can be leaders too. I want especially those children without parents to look up to me. They must look at me. Children inspire me. I do not like it when I see them roaming around the streets, with nothing to do,” he said.
He said although he has not found a space to build the centre, he is optimistic that he will find a suitable location. “I want to start a learning centre for other young people. I helped Isikhokelo. There is nothing stopping me from building the centre.
“I want to give children education, especially literacy. I have noticed that young people are not getting much time to read. Teachers are always in a hurry to finish the syllabus and that puts young people at a disadvantage when it comes to reading. My ultimate goal is to build better futures for the children as they are the future of the country,” he said.
Isikhokelo Primary School principal Yoliswa Qomoyi described Mr Nameko as someone who was passionate about what he was doing.
She said Mr Nameka was the engine behind literacy promotion at the school and was always willing to go beyond the call of duty to help others.
“He came here as an intern and showed hunger to learn more. We placed him at the library where he excelled in helping children learn. He helps a lot with reading. He is a hard worker who is always helping,” she said.
Ms Qomoyi said Mr Nameka’s learning centre project has her blessing.
“That will be great. We want people that can stand and sustain themselves in the end. I wish him all the best,” she said.
The Young Comunity Shaper initiative is now in its 16th year of identifying remarkable individuals around the country.