Young South Africans shortlisted for Clipper Race adventure

27 January 2015

In a month’s time, thirty young hopefuls from across South Africa will discover if they will be one of the final eight who will be chosen to participate in the Clipper 2015-16 Race.

The young people have been shortlisted as part of a unique youth development initiative to support positive teamworking and leadership skills.

The opportunity - fully funded by the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation - encouraged communities from all nine South African provinces to nominate young candidates to be part of a tag team for the eight-leg race. From 27 February to 1 March, the applicants will take part in a selection process hosted by Sail Africa in Durban, where the final eight Sapinda Rainbow Foundation ambassadors will be revealed.

The thirty candidates come from a variety of different backgrounds in townships across Kwazulu-Natal, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West Province. They will be put through their paces in a series of tasks which will include sailing familiarisation and aptitude; media, communications and presentation skills; writing and blogging exercises and one-to-one interviews.

The Clipper Race was established to inspire people to achieve something extraordinary and has long been recognised as a powerful personal development challenge which provides learning and leadership experiences unlike any other on this planet.

The final eight ambassadors will join a team of other non-professional sailors of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities. They will learn to work, live and compete together in challenging yet highly rewarding situations as they race across four of the world’s five oceans. They will battle adverse weather conditions and overcome storms, hurricane winds and 10-metre waves during their life changing adventure.

The opportunity builds on the success of the Sapinda Rainbow Project, a national campaign run throughout the last edition of the race which saw eight youths, aged between 18 and 24 from townships across South Africa each participate in a leg of the race. The majority had no previous sailing experience before taking part and some had never even seen a boat before.

After taking part in the race the young people became ambassadors of the project and as they plan for their futures with specific development and career goals. The project, which is now a foundation, continues to support and mentor its participants.

“The Clipper Race was a life changing opportunity for me; a remarkable experience. I have learnt so many things,” says Lebalang Molobele, a 22 year-old from Meadowlands, Soweto, who completed the final leg of the race last year. She has since become an acting liaison and spokesperson for the foundation and her fellow ambassadors.

Lebalang and the rest of the ambassadors were instrumental in organising the search for the shortlisted candidates and will continue to be involved in the selection process of the next young participants. She adds: “There are not many people out there who can give the time to help overcome the challenges we face as young people in South Africa. It has been a great journey inspiring other young people to get involved and I am really looking forward to meeting all the candidates and supporting them on their own journey.”

The final eight candidates will be announced on Sunday 1 March and will visit the UK for compulsory race training in May 2015. The tenth edition of the race this 2015-16 will visit Cape Town in late October 2015.

To find out more and view the shortlist, click here

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