The South African Breweries (SAB), along with its partners, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and youth marketing agency, HDI, today launched the third season of the reality television series, Future Leaders.
Future Leaders is a 13-episode series which follows the lives of five ordinary teens from all walks of life who have each been affected by underage drinking. The show documents their journey to becoming positive change agents and role models within their respective communities and schools.
The launch was anchored by a panel discussion focusing on underage drinking in South Africa and the critical importance of youth development as a means to addressing the problem.
Facilitated by South African media personality and author, Eusebius Mackaizer, panellists included first lady Bongi Ngema–Zuma; director of operations for the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Nthuseng Mpahlele; SAB executive director of Corporate Affairs and Transformation, Monwabisi Fandeso; and Sizwe Dhlomo, South African television personality and youth activist.
The panelists gave their personal perspective on how the problem of alcohol abuse in South Africa can be resolved and how South Africa’s youth can take up a leadership role in the country.
“Education, including on how to lead a healthy lifestyle, is key to finding a resolution to the problem of alcohol abuse in South Africa. And we need to take a collaborative approach in dealing with the issue. Everyone has the responsibility to roll up their sleeves and decide what kind of society it is we want to live in,” says Ngema–Zuma.
“SAB has a very targeted approach towards building strong South African communities outlined in our global sustainable development framework, Prosper. One of its key imperatives is to encourage responsible consumption. It makes business sense for SAB for people to drink responsibly because a healthy society enables a thriving business environment,” says Fandeso.
“The company has initiated a number of hard hitting programmes to tackle the problem of alcohol abuse in South Africa, including around issues of underage drinking under which Future Leaders falls, drinking and driving and assisting with enforcement, and Feutal Alcohol Syndrome.”
“We strongly believe that young people should not indulge in alcohol at all as there are a number of consequences for their development,” adds Fandeso.
Speaking on behalf of the NYDA, Nthuseng Mpahlele said, “We have a responsibility to look after young people and their health. A programme of this nature is one step in the right direction to develop a youth that is able to take country to the next level. It assists us in extending our reach in the areas that we function. In addition, an initiative such as Future Leaders is a clear demonstration of how we can make a real difference by working together.”
Dhlomo encourages the youth to draw on role models in their everyday life and to emulate them as a means of making a difference in their lives.
Future Leaders was first air in late 2013 and renewed for a second season the following year.
The Future Leaders III contestants are Sechaba Mthombeni, a 16-year-old from Kroonstad in the Free State; 15-year-old Hlengiwe Mcoyi from Northdale in KwaZulu-Nata; Chanlyn Biggs, a 16-yera-old from Atlantis in the Western Cape; 15-year-old Monicca Malebana of Seshego in Polokwane; and Lionel Malatjie, a 16-year-old from Thembisa in Gauteng.
In this new season, each of the contestants will be guided through their Future Leaders journey by a dedicated mentor. This is a change from the previous two seasons where contestants shared mentors. This season’s mentors are all local personalities with a passion for youth-related issues, including Dikeledi Makhongoana, known as DK, from Lesedi FM; Loyiso Mdebuka, (DJ Loyd) from Good Hope FM; Jessica Tims, youth TV presenter on YoTV and Blue Couch; Makwena Makgakga (Kwenesto) of Thobela FM; and Sihle Makanya, 2015 Miss SA contender and qualified quantity surveyor.
The mentors are, in turn, guided by South African social activist, entrepreneur, author and columnist, Shaka Sisulu, who has served in this position since the second season of Future Leaders, taking over from Khaya Dlanga. Sisulu will also play a key role in guiding contestants.
Future Leaders is the extension of You Decide, an initiative to help curb underage drinking in South Africa, facilitated through a partnership between SAB, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), provincial departments of Education in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Free State, Eastern Cape, Limpopo; and local youth marketing agency, HDI.
You Decide raises awareness of the dangers and consequences of underage drinking through targeted interventions aimed at youth and the broader communities they live in, including parents, teachers and taverners. The programme has reached more than 600 000 learners across the country since its start in 2012.
Future Leaders aims to identify and develop young leaders while creating awareness around critical social and economic issues, namely the problem of underage drinking. Viewers experience the teens’ personal daily struggles and the decisions they are faced with making as they work towards making a positive difference in their own lives and that of their peers.
The show is based around the specific community projects each of the five contestants select and set out to implement. By providing a more constructive recreational environment through these projects, the producers believe teenager’s choices to consume alcohol and engage in irresponsible behaviour will be affected.
The first episode of Future Leaders will air of SABC1 from Sunday, 16 August at 17:00. Thereafter, episodes will move to begin 30 minutes later at 17:30 on Sundays.