Ricochet News

Sovereign Foods and burn victim inspire youth from Uitenhage

Oct 13, 2017
Sovereign Foods and burn victim inspire youth from Uitenhage

“I was the smartest kid in my school and that made me popular. I worked hard every day. If you want a certain life for yourself you must work for it, prepare for it,” said Itumeleng Sekhu during her visit to schools in Kwanobuhle, Uitenhage.

Sovereign Foods and Khulisa a non-profit organization, arranged that Sekhu, a burn survivor, deliver an inspirational talk at schools recently. Sekhu visited Solomon Mahlangu High School, Nkululeko Secondary School and the Ithembalethu Project for children with special needs.

Sovereign paid for flights, accommodation, books donated to the learners and food parcels for the matrics at Nkululeko Secondary School who went on a study camp. Sovereign also hand out food vouchers to different beneficiaries in the Uitenhage area on a monthly basis.

Thuto Maepa, Sovereign Foods Group Executive Human Resources, said working with the schools was very important for the organization.

“I want you to know how important you are to us. You must work hard and follow your dreams,” Maepa said at Nkululelo Senior Secondary School.

As part of Sovereign Foods’ Corporate Social Investment (CSI) mandate they focus on uplifting communities and assisting with educational programmes and other socio - economic programmes.

Sekhu told the learner that her scars were visible. “My scars are external, most people are hiding their internal scars.  I am not ashamed of myself. I’m so confident now. Before I cried myself to sleep but now I go in front of people so that they can ask me what happened.”

Sekhu was burnt by a candle when she was 11 months old. Her right hand as well as four fingers on her left hand are amputated. This did not deter her from reaching her dreams she told her predominantly teenage audience.

She has had a successful career in radio and television for the past six years and published her book What do you see?last year.

“I grew up with low self-esteem as 90% of my face is literary scarred. The word beauty was rare. I even tried to commit suicide numerous occasions.”

She emphasized that having a positive mindset was important.

“Tell yourself that I’m going to do it, it will happen. Study and study very hard, you can get a bursary. My dreams push me to success. Reach your dreams and dream more dreams to where you want to see yourself,” Sekhu concluded.