Introduction to the Youth Leadership and Mentoring Programme

The Helen Suzman Foundation piloted a youth leadership and mentoring programme. The programme targeted talented young people with proven leadership potential. The aim of the programme was to assist these young people in converting their potential into actual success, by developing and bolstering confidence through a mentorship programme.

Critically, we also aimed to promote value driven leadership, through both the mentor relationship and regular workshops organised by the Foundation. 



We selected potential mentees from senior high school or early university students. For the most part they were from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, but in environments which have provided enough support to form a base on which we could build. They had to have already demonstrated leadership skills and distinguished themselves in the current context. 



Mentors were fitted individually to each mentee. In our experience, members of the target group often reacted well to one-on-one interactions with an older peer.

The success of these interactions seemed to lie in a critical level of separation between the mentor and mentee – close enough to act as a real life role model, but far enough to avoid the messiness of friendship. There was a common base of shared experiences and goals, but with a stark gap in progress towards those goals.

The pilot programme ran from September 2011 to April 2012.

This programme can be run repeatedly with modifications learnt from this first program and more funding.

Project Overview

Many young South Africans have the talents and drive required to succeed, but do not because of a lack of self-confidence. We suspect this to be a problem which occurs, particularly, along class lines – middle class children are brought up to believe the world is theirs for the taking, putting them at a psychological advantage in the workplace. This plays out in many spheres, from interviews for scholarships and jobs to wage negotiations.

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Pilot Programme

The pilot ran its course in 2012.

Due funding constraints we were unable to continue running this programme. We will continue running this programme if and when funding becomes available.

How can i get involed?

The project is not currently running. We will keep our website updated if anything changes.

Young Leader

A testimonial from one of our young leaders.

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