News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Tuesday July 16th 2019

Our youth must stop protesting and start studying says top businessman


Sipho Nkosi inspired young students to stop protesting and to work for the things they want instead.

With violent and sometimes fatal protests becoming a weekly occurrence, young South Africans have been urged to stay away from toyi-toying and focus on their education.

They have also been challenged to free themselves from “apartheid victim mentality” if the nation is to progress, said Sipho Nkosi, chief executive of JSE-listed diversified mining group Exxaro, this last Friday while addressing learners in Nyanga township – a site of recent violent protests.

Nkosi warned that black South Africans remained “trapped in protest politics” and if they do not unshackle themselves by taking education seriously, particularly Maths and Sciences, “this country is doomed”.

Nkosi was addressing learners at Oscar Mpeta High School in Nyanga at the launch of a High Schools and Communities (HSC) Maths and Science Mentorship Programme pioneered to initially benefit two other schools, Inkwenkwezi Secondary School in Du Noon and Elsies River High School.

Nkosi told the youngsters that “for South Africa to move forward, we have to compete with the world…don’t waste time protesting”.

“South Africans are trapped in protest politics. We protest all the time instead of focusing on things that can change our lives. The apartheid victim mentality should stop.”

He advised the learners to focus on studying Maths and Science in order to tap into vast opportunities in the mining sector.

He said during the apartheid era he did not get the chance to study those subjects but had to force his way into studying them at the University of Zululand.

Nkosi warned learners not to “cut corners” and fall in to the trap of living “bling-bling” lives sustained through borrowed money or government tenders.

The students s had a chance to also learn about Maths and Science career opportunities at the South African Maritime Security Agency and as well as in the petroleum industry.

Many of the learners who spoke to West Cape News following the event said they were inspired by Nkosi’ address and it would help them shape their careers.

Though she planned to pursue studies in accounting rather than sciences, Khanya Nyati, in grade nine, said she had learnt from Nkosi’s address that “science is easy and cool”.

Fellow grade 12 student Simphiwe Zweni, 17, said he planned to follow a career in robotics.

“I’m inspired by people like Nkosi. They went through a lot. I learnt that you can still study even if you don’t have money,” he said.

Founder of lifestyle company Century Wellness Lihle Nkosi, who started the mentorship programme, told the youngsters that they were the ones who could transform their communities.

She said she planned to expand her programme into several schools in the province as well as and the Northern Cape, including rural areas.

She said she would be offering some of the learners bursaries to study Maths and Sciences further. – Francis Hweshe

Tags: Century Wellness, Elsies River High School, Exxaro, High Schools and Communities (HSC) Maths and Science Mentorship Programme, Inkwenkwezi Secondary School, Khanya Nyati, Lihle Nkosi, Oscar Mpeta High School, Simphiwe Zweni, Sipho Nkosi, South African Maritime Security Agency, University of Zululand

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