Following two months of sifting through submissions, shortlisting applications and a tough final adjudication process, CBD-based NGO Community Chest, and LeadSA, announced the winners of the Election Bursary Competition.
Lisolethu Mali, of Masibambane Secondary School in Kraaifontein, walked away with the first prize – a bursary worth R100 000.
Second prize of a R60 000 bursary went to Liyema Saliwa of Oaklands High School in Lansdowne, while Cameron Michaels, of De Grendel School of Skills in Milnertone, was awarded third prize of a R40 000 bursary.
The competition, which ran during the lead up to the national general election in May, offered pupils between the ages of 15 and 17, the opportunity to offer solutions to South Africa’s leadership challenges.
Judges Bulelwa Ngewana of the Bertha Centre, Craig Kensley of Community Chest, Lilford Lesabe of LeadSA, Mignon Hardie of Fundza Literacy Trust, Nazeema Mohamed of Inyathelo and Rene Ngwenya of the Cornerstone Institute, had the task of selecting the top three.
However, due to the overall high standard of submissions, both written and verbal, and performances at the final adjudications, the judges collectively decided that all eight finalists would be awarded prizes.
In addition to the top three, Banzi Bottoman of Gardens Commercial High School; Jemima Mikobi of Cape Academy of Maths, Science and Technology; Luphumlo Kanku also of Masibambane Secondary; Luyanda Simelane of Asssumption Convent Malvern; and Natasha Sibanda of Heathfield High walked away with personal development, mentorship and coaching packages valued at over R30 000 each.
Community Chest CEO Lorenzo Davids said: “These young stars are not just the future leaders of our country. They are clearly already leaders in their spheres of influence and in their spaces. It gives us great pleasure to invest in their academic and personal development.”
Lisolethu was surprised by her big win and said: “This is just the beginning of a great future”.
Masibambane principal Rajan Naidoo said that from the time he had met Lisolethu, she had always been a leader.
“It’s ingrained in her. It’s part of her personality. Last year she started a group called Women On The Rise, and she enjoys such large support. I honestly cannot think of a more deserving winner.”
The second prize winner, Liyema, was overwhelmed as her name was called.
“Since the beginning of this competition, I always believed that one day I would see my path, and today is the day.
“This is the stepping stone to a bright future. It’s only the beginning of my journey.”
In addition to his third prize, Cameron was also offered an opportunity to work closely with the video and animation professionals at Primedia.