Youth activist and founder of Vanthswa Va Xivono (youth with a vision), Samuel Ntsanwisi is the recipient of the 2014 Inyathelo Award for Philanthropy in Youth Development.
Samuel is a former student of Stanford Lake College and matriculated in 2004. Twelve extraordinary individuals have been honoured at the prestigious annual Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards.
This includes a couple of friends who set up an organisation to support refugees and asylum seekers, the founder of the 'Spread the Luv Movement' and Jack Ginsberg, a passionate supporter of South African contemporary art.
The event was initiated by Inyathelo eight years ago to acknowledge, celebrate and honour those whose personal giving has contributed towards sustainable social change in our country. 28-year-old Samuel ran more than 1850km in 32 days last year as part of his ongoing efforts to raise awareness of and money for abused women and children.
Samuel enjoyed a privileged upbringing and attended a private school but feels compelled to help those who have not had the same opportunities as he has in life. It all started when he was 18 and wanted to set up a band.
Samuel says he met so many talented youngsters, but most of them were unable to fulfil their potential because of the social challenges they faced each day. Samuel started helping them informally, organising opportunities and introducing them to people that could help.
After studying film and working in the industry, he set up his own film company and uses most of the proceeds to fund his youth organisation Vantshswa Va Xivono. Samuel is currently working as the Director of Bjatladi Youth Development and hopes to establish his own youth centre soon. He works closely with the South African Police Service's Victim Empowerment Unit in guiding young people to make positive choices and empowering them with life skills, knowledge and opportunities.
Apart from his coaching and mentoring at schools, Samuel also works weekly with a group of 3o disadvantaged and orphaned youngsters in the Nkowa-Nkowa Township, helping them with any personal or schoolrelated problems they might have.