Popular South African actress Leleti Khumalo has joined forces with the KwaZulu-Natal government to help improve the standard of living for many youths.
The Durban-born star is the ambassador for the Leleti School Grounds project, which forms part of Operation Sukuma Sakhe – a provincial government initiative aimed at assisting communities to rise above their current circumstances.
Khumalo, who is known for her outstanding performances in Sarafina and Yesterday, will co-ordinate and host Uzogcwala La! - a magazine television show which will be filmed in townships around Durban and rural areas across the province.
Moving into top gear
Khumalo joined MEC for Finance Ina Cronjé at Eastwood Secondary School in Pietermaritzburg to interact with the local community, informing them of the purpose of the programme.
"We are here to listen to you. We brought you all the government departments to give you answers. But by the same token, we would also like to encourage young people to stand up and do things for themselves and come up with solutions so that the government can meet us halfway," said Khumalo.
"For too long, communities have been stuck in first gear. We are going to turn this skoro-skoro into a racing car. But we have to push together if we are to win the race against poverty, unemployment and the social ills of alcohol and drug abuse, teenage pregnancies an HIV and AIDS," said Cronjé, who is a champion of the uMgungundlovu District Municipality.
"Government is moving service delivery for young people in this area into top gear. I am happy to engage with learners, teachers and communities about the issues that lie close to their hearts. Our engagement does not end here, we will follow up on your issues."
Learners at Eastwood Secondary School used the opportunity to talk about teenage pregnancy, substance abuse and financial assistance towards further education.
One learner, who did not want to be named, asked that government come up with a strategy to teach parents at home about substance abuse. The learner said although schools had programmes in place to educate them, they still had to go back home to parents with substance abuse problems.
To ensure government visibility at a household level, "each household will be profiled and the various departments and role players will assist the household members with their respective needs," Cronjé said.
-Kemantha Govender, BuaNews