Mpho Motloung

Youth development officer: Nquthu Youth Advisory Centre

Mpho Motloung is the 29-year-old youth development officer in the rural municipality of Nquthu, her home town, situated between Dundee and Vryheid, deep in northern KwaZulu-Natal. The Wits University BA graduate could have chosen to stay and work in Johannesburg after her studies, but a visit to a friend back in Nquthu changed her mind. A local high-school principal told her that his school had received computers but was unable to use them because no one on his staff had the appropriate expertise. She needed no persuasion to respond to his request to teach at the school as she had long wanted to prepare local youngsters for a life beyond Nquthu. "I remembered how much I suffered with expressing myself in English when I arrived in university. My vision was that I did not want any other kids to suffer the same way I had,� says Motloung. A pioneer in her community, she got down to teaching computers to community members and worked as a part-time lecturer at Umthashana FET College (Mgazi campus). She also started organising debating societies as part of her plan to improve English in the area. In 2009 the Nquthu municipality employed her as their youth development officer, charged with helping young people to develop in all facets of their lives, most importantly, education, HIV issues and career choices. She has won several competitions as the supervisor of local debating teams. Besides cultivating in others a love of learning and debating, Motloung holds a green belt in karate. � Rapule Tabane

Facebook: Nquthu Youth Advisory Centre