Youth activist and founder of Vanthswa Va Xivono, Samuel Ntsanwisi is the recipient of the 2014 Inyathelo Award for Philanthropy in Youth Development.
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 himself enjoyed a privileged upbringing and attended a private school in Limpopo but feels compelled to help those who haven’t 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 Xivone which means ‘youth with a vision’.
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 30 disadvantaged and orphaned youngsters in the Nkowa-Nkowa township, helping them with any personal or school-related problems they might have.