Xolisa Gaca

Xolisa Gaca grew up in the township of Zwide in Port Elizabeth where he says the youth are exposed to a variety of bad influences. As a teenager he found salvation in a youth group which helped him deal with peer pressure. When he moved to KwaZulu- Natal to study engineering, he saw a need for a similar support system, and so the South African Interactive Youth Club (SAIYC) was born and registered in 2007. Since then the 28-year-old has grown the non- profit organisation into a club that stretches over three provinces and reaches over 400 members, targeting youth from 14 up with the support they need to become proactive members of society. From its economic development programme, which promotes entrepreneurship and provides mentorship, to its humanitarian programme, which offers counselling on issues like trauma and drug rehabilitation, Gaca is determined to make good on the club’s promise: “break out — making a difference.”

— Lisa Steyn