11 November 2022 | Story Anthony Mthembu | Photo Barend Nagel
Siphilangenkosi Dlamini
Siphilangenkosi Dlamini – selected by Inside Education and the NYDA as one of South Africa’s 100 Shining Stars for 2022.

Siphilangenkosi Dlamini, a fourth-year Governance and Political Transformation student at the University of the Free State (UFS), has been selected as one of South Africa’s 100 Shining Stars for 2022 by Inside Education, in partnership with the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). 

“I was more surprised than anything, but also very honoured,” he said. Dlamini, who made it into the Civil Society and Youth category, was chosen from a pool of 800 applicants for his remarkable work with the Help a Student initiative, and his services as the former secretary of the Southern Africa Scout Youth Forum. Although he could not attend the award ceremony held in Johannesburg on 20 October 2022 in person, Dlamini did receive a certificate. “What we do a lot of the time isn’t for recognition and it’s not necessarily for awards; but getting recognised motivates and assures me that the work we are doing has an impact,” he expressed.

The Help a Student Initiative

In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dlamini recognised a rise in food insecurity among his fellow students. This set him on a path to source funding for the establishment of the project. 

The Help a Student initiative aimed to curb food insecurity through the provision of food parcels to UFS students who were in need. The project, which ran from 2020 until early 2021, managed to distribute food parcels to nearly 250 students per month. The initiative did not only assist students who were on campus. The selected applicants who were at home or off campus also received digital food vouchers, which allowed for the purchasing of food items at Pick n Pay and/or Shoprite.

“Food security is something that I am passionate about. I grew up in a community where it was a massive issue.

However, in the past I was not empowered enough to know how to solve it. Therefore, when the opportunity presented itself to do something about it, I took it with both hands,” Dlamini expressed.

Although the recognition was not expected, Dlamini maintains that such platforms are imperative, as “they demonstrate that young people are doing something to improve the country in the different capacities they are in”.

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