Nathan Roberts is only 28 and already making waves in the education arena.
His registered nongovernmental organisation Ikazi Youth: Everyday Heroes Club is transforming the lives of high school children in the Imizamo Yethu township in Hout Bay.
The goal of this organisation is to inspire, connect and equip the youth, providing them with leadership and life skills along with educational support, empowering them to find a way out of poverty.
“In 2008 I started Sibanye Township Restaurant in Imizamo Yethu with my friend Randy Mcknight,” says Roberts.
“Rands couldn’t read or write, but he had a dream of becoming a chef. Before he passed away from a disease that plagues our townships, he realised this dream and became the head chef in his own restaurant. After losing one of my best friends I decided to start Ikasi Youth: Everyday Heroes Club to create replicable, financially self-sustainable solutions to some of South Africa’s toughest challenges.”
Roberts is inspired by the untapped potential and dreams of the township youth but has seen how every day they are wasted, discarded or forgotten.
“Gangsterism, abuse and drug addiction are ripping our township communities apart and so many dreams are left to die,” he says.
“Our flagship project is the Everyday Heroes Club, an afterschool programme that provides academic support, life skills and leadership workshops and mentorship to township boys. We live in a nation that has no father and our youth are crying out for male role models who can mentor them, support them and encourage them to pursue their dreams.”
In Roberts’ view the youth of South Africa are incredibly inspirational with their tenacity, passion and drive.
“The greatest challenge we need to overcome is our debilitating victim mentality,” says Roberts.
“Every young South African needs to realise that they are an everyday hero with the power inside them to change their lives for the better.”
He believes that the South African education system is in ruins and that South Africans cannot rely on government to repair it.
His passion is people; he thinks that ordinary citizens need to take action and do what they can to come up with innovative solutions to the problems this country faces.
“Our next fight together as a nation of youth is not one of race or nationality, it is one against apathy and indifference,” he concludes. “My dream is to see a Heroes club set up in every township across South Africa and I hope that people will help me to achieve this by getting involved and making a dream into a reality!” — Tamsin Oxford