2018 Trailblazer Mahwana McDonald Manyana Using Social Media to Inspire Peers
At the 2018 enke: Forum Limpopo, the social issue that Mamelodi teen Mahwana McDonald Manyana identified was that youth in his community didn’t have information about positive role models to look up to. Mahwana decided to channel his passion for media to change this.
He recruited nine other students to help with creating positive messages and access to information and knowledge to build themselves in positive ways. Their first idea to tackle the issue was to build a library in the community. But they found it difficult as the people they approached were not as keen and supportive to tackle something that seemed so big.
Mahwana used the human-centred design skills learned at the enke: Forum to figure out what might be more achievable given the resources they had. And so, they decided to use Facebook and launch a page, The Mae Jamison Star News (The Mae J Star) “to motivate young people through the sharing of information and inspiring stories about positive role models in the community”. Beyond posting and sharing positive information and resources on Mae Jamison Star News Facebook Page, Mahwana and his team also wanted to create short videos to screen for the youth in their community.
In establishing Mae Jamison Star, Mahwana shares , “We thought it would be easy, but we had challenges with communication and resources such as video cameras and editing software, which were not available to us”. But, they persisted, sharing their idea and starting to post on Facebook, despite not having everything they wanted.
After a while his relentless perseverance paid off when they had a meeting with Mrs Ruth from the University of Pretoria Library (Mamelodi Campus), who loved the idea behind this youth-led initiative. Mrs. Ruth connected them with a person, from Geleza Nathi a youth television programme on SABC, who became an advisor to the team showing them how to create good quality stories that will captivate the youth, as well as the recording methods to use. They shadowed and received mentorship for 5 weeks, from which they gained a lot of experience in the field of journalism. Mahwana and his team were invited to attend Loxion Science Fair and Expo, participating in a competition to get their work out to more young people in Mamelodi. Mwahwana and his team won the top prize for the best project at the Science Fair and Expo.
Since winning the prize, Mahwana has been approached by many other organisations to assist them in driving the message of youth led change in their community. Mahwana believes to be a true Trailblazer is having to encounter many challenges and sets backs but deciding not to give up but to fight harder, to fight smarter and to always preserve and really love what you are doing”. He is building a YouTube channel to reach millions of people to get their message of ‘using your passion to effect meaningful change in your community’.
Visit the Mae Jamison Star News Facebook page http://bit.ly/MaeJStarNewsFacebook.