Vhutsilo Mafunzwaini is a dedicated 25-year-old from the Thohoyandou township in Limpopo. He is an active member of the Takalani Foundation, which focuses on cleaning community schools and painting murals. Because of his passion for people, learning from them and listening to their views, Vhutsilo decided to join The South African Breweries 18+ Be the Mentor Campaign.

The 18+ campaign encourages young adults to ‘be the mentor you wish you had’ and to help teens make positive life choices, including staying away from alcohol.

In June 2017, SAB upweighted the 18+ pilot programme and the new approach uses past mentors as inspiration for new mentors.

The pilot campaign made use of approximately 200 mentors (young influencers) from Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, which has been increased to more than 500 volunteer mentors across five provinces – KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Western Cape, Limpopo and the Free State. The revised campaign has the potential to reach at least 1000 teenagers.

SAB has also employed 10 Local Area Managers (LAMs) to help train and support these mentors and this is where Vhutsilo fits in.

The evolved campaign seeks to build on the successful impact of the pilot programme:

  • Being a mentor is about having a positive influence on a young person and helping guide them through the challenges presented by everyday life.
  • This could involve giving someone advice, talking about how to avoid peer pressure, sharing your own experiences and mistakes you wish you had not made and how you managed them, or getting them to understand why they should not drink before they are 18.

One of Vhutsilo’s many passions is creating “community development and uplifting people and knowing I can bring about change within my community”.

These passions drove him to join the programme so that he can “help and bring change to the youth within my community”. He aims to do this by “helping them stop the consumption of alcohol”.

Vhutsilo believes mentorship is based on “trust and respect”, but that it is also a relationship that involves “support and encouragement”. His own mentor growing up was a teacher from his high school.

Through the 18+ programme, Vhutsilo has the ability to “give advice and encourage people”. He was introduced to his mentees through his community and through friends. He met his mentees at a soccer match and simply asked “if they would like to have someone who can guide them in taking the correct path. Surprisingly, they all said yes without any hesitation”.

Kids in Vhutsilo’s community often face issues of drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy and theft. “These issues are often influenced by “their home situations where there is a lack of parenting.” Despite this, many attempt to succeed in school.

Mafunzwaini knew his mentee was “destroying his life” so he influenced him “to be more involved in sport”.

The programme has given Vhutsilo many memories, his favourite being “when my mentees told me that they were no longer influenced by friends or situations at home that may lead them to alcohol or drug abuse.

One of the countless dreams he has for his mentees is to see them maximise their full potential and to be able to share their experiences with future generations.

Some of the activities Vhutsilo uses to give his mentees a break as well as keep them out of negative situations are “soccer, choir practices at church and now and then a relaxed gathering together so we can just be ourselves”.

SAB believes everyone can be part of the change. The 18+ Be the Mentor campaign is about starting a movement which calls on everyone over the age of 18 in South Africa to take that first step and become a mentor – ‘Be Part of the Change’.

South Africans can be part of the campaign and make a difference to someone else’s life by pledging to be a mentor at www.bethementor.sab.co.za.

ENDS

www.sab.co.za

Issued by Corporate Image on behalf of the South African Breweries


NOTES TO EDITORS

About 18+ “be the mentor you wish you had”

In November 2015, SAB launched a new advertising campaign as part of the 18+ campaign, calling on young adults to ‘be the mentor you wish you had’.

Up to June 2017, the pilot programme had over 200 South Africans from Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town aged between 23 and 30 years old that were appointed to champion the cause and rally other South Africans to rise to the challenge of being a mentor.

From June 2017, 18+ has been upweighted, increasing the reach and number of mentors and mentees active in the programme.

The chosen champions remain ordinary men and women working in diverse fields from political science, finance, entertainment, HR and advertising. These young adults share their stories of the mistakes they made in their teenage years and the advice they are now be able to share with their younger mentees.

Within the new campaign, Instant Grass Marketing has appointed more than 500 mentors and is overseeing their duties of rallying community engagement.

Instant Grass manages and represents communities of the most connected, informed and influential young people across the African continent. The company has sourced the mentors for the 18+ campaign.

The mentors are also active on their social networks, on and offline, sharing stories of how they have influenced their younger peers and siblings.