Tomorrow's heroes



Exploring future opportunities for the Everyday Heroes was a major priority during the recent trip to Hout Bay by Nigel Draper and Mike Nightingale. Arriving on 20th April, their first engagement that afternoon was to join 14 of the 20 Ikasi Youth- Everyday Heroes Club at one of their regular after school club sessions. The boys were supported by EHC founder (Nathan Roberts), Centre Manager, (Ashley Newell), Academic Assistant (Lelotando Bukva), Community Worker (Kutlwano Nondabula) and the facilitator of the session, Academic Program Head (Jeremy Smith)

Mike and Nigel were struck by the growing confidence of the 14-18 year olds, illustrated graphically by one imaginative exercise. They each chose a photograph of a person from a recent newspaper, spent 15 minutes recording in English their findings about the subject, and then expressing their views on how the person in the photo felt to the whole group. The deep insights, humour and rich quality of self expression of the boys was a clear accolade to Nathan and his team’s inspiring work sharply illustrating the future potential of graduates of the Everyday Heroes Club.

Whilst in Hout Bay Nigel and Mike had a working dinner with Nathan and Ashley to discuss our joint approach the creation of future opportunities for the young people.  There would be between 2 and 5 ‘Heroes’ finishing their school Matriculation annually from now on.  Further education and employment options need to reflect the varying academic abilities, enthusiasm and entrepreneurial aspirations of the different students.

A key challenge ahead will be to find effective ways of opening the minds of the boys to the range of future opportunities to help them choose their next moves.

3 initiatives were explored during the week’s visit

 1 Soil for Life

Mike and Nigel visited Louise Vaughan at Soil for Life in Constantia.  They were very impressed by the variety and quality of the organic fruit and vegetables being cultivated. Soil for Life specialise in training young people to become community cultivators capable of inspiring and leading initiatives to grow fruit and vegetables in urban environments including informal settlements.

We discussed an exciting possibility that could involve both the Everyday Heroes and Ikhaya le Themba. During our catch up meeting with Susan Hill at Ikhaya le Themba, which is situated just next to Imizamo Yethu, and provides great after school facilities for children aged 6 to 12, we discovered that they have a piece of open land that they would love to turn into an organic vegetable resource for the people of IY.

We wondered if 1 or 2 the older Heroes may be interested in undertaking suitable training with Soil for Life and then applying what they have learnt by helping Ikhaya le Themba establish their green fingered dream.


MNF Trustee, Margherita Pierini, met Penny Crosland-White, academic programme writer for TSiBA in January in Oxford and was impressed by the combination of academic rigour and practicality demonstrated by their twin centre tertiary education programme. They have a 250 student campus in Knysna Cape Province, where they take students that have recently pasted their school Matric and have aspirations to go to university, but are not fully equipped to do so.  The year long residential course is aimed at improving their maths and English and giving them the self confidence to make the most of a university education.

This lead to an introductory meeting with TSiBA  Director Adri Marias at their 250 student campus in Pinelands near Cape Town airport for Mike and Nigel. Here, THiBA  run a 3 year degree course in Business Studies, after which they mentor the students to assist them in obtaining employment and holding on to their jobs.

Adri and her delightful staff made us extremely welcome and our overall impression of the facilities, equipment and attitude of the students was extremely good.

We have been looking for a representative who could act for the Fellowship in Hout Bay in our absence. Chatting to Adri about this, she suddenly said she might be able to help.  Minutes later, we were introduced to one of the first year students on the Business Studies degree course who also happened to live in Imizamo Yethu Hout Bay. We are delighted that Portia Msamo showed great interest in the Fellowship and has recently started a 3 month introductory period as our local representative.  She is ideally placed to provide a link between the Everyday Heroes and potential opportunities at TSiBA.

3 Meeting with Luke Wightman 

Luke is a successful local businessman who has a family-owned concrete block business and is a Director with national South African firm that manufacturers corrugated steel sheeting for housing.

We talked to Luke about how suitable graduates from the Everyday Heroes Club may get involved in the construction industry, especially low cost housing.

Luke had two ideas that we would like to explore further.  One was,  that after a bit of training, his firm in partnership with either the Fellowship or Ikasi Youth, could set up a start up corrugated steel sheet business simply operating at first from a recycled container.   His second thought was that his businesses are always on the lookout for talented sales staff, and from our description of the positive attitudes of the EHC students, he felt some of them may be ideal.

Going back to the point raised earlier regarding openingup the minds of the boys to what is possible in the future, Luke said he was very happy to be invited to meet the boys and tell them about his experiences in the building industry.

In conclusion, we are open to helpful ideas regarding the future education and employment of graduates of the Everyday Heroes Club and would be very interested in hearing from you.