‘Sbu’ goes back to school and needs your support

28 November 2014

A year ago, 21 year old Masibulele Liyaba, known as ‘Sbu’ from Orkney, South Africa, was preparing to fly to Australia to join the Invest Africa entry in the 2013-14 edition of the race as part of the Sapinda Rainbow Project.

The self-confessed former ‘gangster’ has had his eyes opened by the experience and is now determined to make something of his life by getting a job. But first he needs your support as he goes back to school to complete his education.

The Sapinda Rainbow Foundation is underwriting the £3000 cost of sending Sbu to the Damelin School in Johannesburg to get his diploma and has also launched a crowdfunding exercise for £10 donations. This will not only create a sustainable funding stream but will also keep Sbu motivated to complete his studies with the responsibility of letting his supporters know about his progress through regular blogs.

The Sapinda Group is committed through its Sapinda Rainbow Foundation to look after the interests of the eight young people aged 18-23 who became ambassadors for the project on the Clipper 2013-14 Race. Following a comprehensive selection process each participated in one of the eight legs of the race.

The ambassadors were backed by their respective communities to participate in the race so that they would gain confidence, unique life and leadership skills to fulfil their potential to become future leaders and to motivate and encourage positive change from within their local communities.

This is the first in a series of follow-on projects to help the ambassadors progress along their desired career paths. Sbu is one of the many young people who grew up without any parents, was looked after by his grandmother and fell into the wrong crowd from an early age by getting sucked into the gang culture. He came to the selection weekend in Durban in June 2013 without ever having seen the sea or taken a plane, but his community guided him and encouraged him to give it a chance.

He participated in the Australia leg of the 2013-14 edition where he also became the first black South African to compete in the classic Sydney Hobart Yacht Race which formed part of the global series. He has also shown himself to be a gifted speaker. He was invited to present his story to a senior audience in Berlin at the premiere of the feature film Long Walk to Freedom. Guests included the German Minister of Foreign Affairs and Zindzi Mandela.

After all these experiences he has developed his self-confidence and drive to succeed but like so many other 21 year olds he never completed his secondary school education and without this his potential will remain unrealised.

The "Sbu Goes Back To School" project has been set and is essential to his future development. He is now registered at the Damelin School in Johannesburg which he will attend from January with the goal of graduating with his secondary school diploma (MATRIC) in December 2015. Despite his age and the social challenges, Sbu has agreed to relocate away from his friends and grandmother to go back to school where he will undoubtedly be the eldest of his class by quite a few years.

The Sapinda Rainbow Foundation chairman Dirk van Daele explained: “The Foundation has underwritten the cost of the project totalling £3,000 to cover school fees, housing, food and transport. There are no administration costs. However, in seeking to develop a sustainable funding stream and as a philosophy of encouraging the ambassadors to be responsible for their own success, we’re also seeking ‘crowdfunding’ support. In return Sbu pledges to complete his education to prove to his crowdfunding community that their faith in him is justified.

“With his return to school in January, Sbu will be providing a weekly blog describing his experience. I hope former crew and friends of the Clipper Race will be willing to support Sbu by donating just £10 via Paypal on the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation website.

“We know Sbu has great potential to become a positive force in creating confidence and setting a positive example for his peers by finishing his basic education and breaking away from his life of gang crime. By supporting Sbu, the incentive to succeed becomes even greater as more eyes turn to follow his progress to a more promising future,” Dirk added.

You can see a brief video interview with Dirk and Sbu here. It was recorded at the recent press launch in Johannesburg for the 2015-16 Sapinda Rainbow programme which has received nearly 100 applications so far.

More details can be found on the Sapinda Rainbow website: www.SapindaRainbow.com

Follows Sbu’s story and his progress as well as the Sapinda Rainbow community on facebook at www.facebook.com/sapindarainbow/timeline and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SapRain1

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