Grade 12 Leaders’ Quest participants, Simphiwe Silwana (19) from Belgravia High School and Bulela Ncanywa (18) from Spes Bona High School were chosen as Department of Home Affairs National Youth Ambassadors for the year 2015.
The Department of Home Affairs approached various schools to nominate learners who they feel will act as information carriers for the department. “I was thrilled and humbled by the responsibility bestowed on me by my peers because they trusted me with such a great role,” says Simphiwe who is also Head Boy at his school.
The role of the Home Affairs Youth Ambassadors is to market the new ID’s to their peers and help students and community members with any questions they have about the new cards and Home Affair’s’ initiatives.
“We engage with youth and community members and create a dialogue to inform them with any information that they need about Home Affairs. Such as new Id’s, birth certificates etc. If we are not sure of the information that is needed we always refer them to someone in the department or communicate on their behalf,” says Bulela.
Most recently, Simphiwe and Bulela visited homes in their respective communities asking parents if everyone in their household is registered with Home Affairs. “I would go with them to the Home Affairs office to ensure that whatever their issue is, it can be resolved,” says Simphiwe.
The pair received training from the department and they were also taken to parliament and had an opportunity to meet Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba.
“He told us what he expects from us and gave us free reign to complete our task. We were also given the opportunity to visit parliament and were exposed to activities that take place there. This is really beneficial because it broadens our minds and exposes us to activities at parliament, moulding us in becoming future leaders,” says Bulela.
The pair agrees that the role is very important because it gives them an opportunity to serve their communities and practice the ideal of servant leadership that they have learned at Salesian Life Choices.
“Servant leadership is an ideal that I learned at Salesian Life Choices. It is a concept where the main mandate of leaders is to serve. I feel inspired that I can use the teachings I have learned in this new endeavour,” says Simphiwe.
Bulela echoes her peer’s sentiment, saying that what she has learned has proved to be very beneficial. “The leadership trainings and the public speaking activities that we were exposed to through the programme have assisted me in all aspects of being a Home Affairs ambassador.”
The two concluded by saying that their role carries historical weight and that they are grateful for the opportunity. “By assisting every South African to be a registered citizen, we are making sure that everyone can access their constitutional rights building a more equal society.”