Motivational talks for Lavender Hill High school learners

A few of the Lavender Hill High Grade 12s

Lavender Hill Grade 12 learners themselves have amazing inspirational power. Today, we met the 126 Matric students, the class of 2014. A well-mannered group of young people who still have a sparkle in their eyes. The fact that these learners reached grade 12 despite their hardships and their daily grind to protect their souls and their integrity, is a morale booster for folk who have been spared such trauma. Despite their lived wisdom of how to overcome adversity, these very learners need a constant feed of motivation to remind them of their awesome power.

Domingo sharing his " work-in-progress" journey with the learners

Today it was Domingo's privilege to meet these future trendsetters and to add a nugget of hope. Like his audience, Domingo too attended a school in the "ghettoes" as he put it. He was here to share his journey of carving a new life for himself. Domingo entitled his talk "Against all odds". In an easy conversational style, Domingo shared how he didn't work hard at school and how he now has to put in the extra hard yards because of the wasted times. He told them he is playing "catch up", a space he doesn't want them to occupy. He shared how he started out as a merchandiser, packing shelves and earning just enough money to cover his travelling expenses. He worked hard for a little money but he was paying the price of not applying himself and taking charge of his life.


Then, said Domingo, he realized he had to do something. He approached his company to allow him to do courses. He was hungry for learning and he was aware of the time he had already wasted. He learned the hard way, but he is keeping his eye on the ball. As time moved on, he moved slowly, but surely up the ranks. Eventually he chose to study "Logistics" because the field provided many pathways. Amidst great sacrifices and challenges, he pushed on, driven by the need to be successful. Today Domingo is a logistics manager at a marine company. According to Domingo, he is a work in progress. He still studies and he will continue to do so in order to secure his future. His talk was peppered with references to role models in his family circle and beyond.


When we asked the learners to share what life lessons they could extract from Domingo's story, we loved the spontaneous responses. "You must motivate yourself", said one. "Don't allow your circumstances to define you", one of female learners added. You must know what you want and go for it, " volunteered another. "You must stay focused, against all odds", shared another. Heartwarming stuff. Thoughtful, intelligent responses from thoughtful, intelligent young people with so much potential. Faseeg Manie, the school principal, glowed with pride.

Young people know what they want

Our children know what they want. They fully understand that they are the masters of their own destiny. Our children just need to know that they have cheerleaders in their corner. They need constant affirmation and a steady stream of role models to emulate.

We have to provide the learners with role models at various stages of their personal mastery journey: those who have achieved major successes already, those who are basking in a major breakthrough and the ones who are tasting the joys of small, cumulative career or personal highlights. That is why the school welcomes a range of storytellers like Richard Branson, Jonathan Jansen and Domingo Mitchell.


The Buffalo Thorn tree symbol of life travels

In other words, we are compelled to reflect accurately and authentically, that the road to success is like the Buffalo thorn. The Buffalo thorn tree has one thorn pointing forward and one thorn pointing backward. One of its common names is "wait a while" tree. You have to tread carefully when you work your way through a shrubbery of Buffalo thorn trees. There must be time to reflect, a time to pause and plan how you are going to proceed. Then, patiently, persistently and focused, you will carve your journey through this treacherous maze. This is what life is like, right?

Stories and elbow grease make a winning combination

These are the stories our learners in Lavender Hill have to hear. We must never ever give up telling stories of hope and of human resilience. Then, together with the stories, we must roll up our sleeves and put in the hard yards to win the youth over. There is no shortcut and there is no one else to do this task, but us.

Storyteller and captive audience



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