Tonight with Lester Podcast

#Beautiful News


Guests :  Riyaad Avontuur has been clean for 390 days and counting. But it’s been a long journey to get here. When he got involved with the wrong crowd and started using drugs, life became increasingly difficult. Riyaad spent 10 years in and out of rehabs and missed out on being there for his family. Recovery isn’t instant. This time, he needed to fill the days of sobriety with positive intent. He took up running alongside his daughter – an activity that’s given both he and his community in Bonteheuwel a head start to success. Every time Riyaad and his daughter ventured out for a sprint, children would approach them. He realised the kids needed to occupy themselves and keep away from negative influences. By approaching principals in nearby schools, Riyaad gathered learners who were interested in athletics and eager to have someone coach them. Earlier this year, he began the Bonteheuwel Central Athletic Club with just two members. It’s now grown to over 60 children chasing their purpose. Running the club has guided Riyaad away from his old vices, and towards a position of leadership. His past has shown him how easy it is to veer off track. But it’s also taught him it’s possible to move on, no matter where you come from. *** Kierran Allen believe Durban doesn’t get enough credit. Despite its warm beaches, balmy climate, easy-going folks, and art nouveau architecture, the seaside metropolis seldom features among the country’s major attractions. Used to seeing it from every angle, local photographer Kierran was surprised at how many others miss out on its beauty. To showcase the splendour of the city, Allen embarked on a grand project. Using his own funds, Kieran set about capturing the landscape with Warren Hill and Nathan Pellow-Jarman, his partners at Novos Digital Cinema. Their drone shots offer new perspectives of the environment, while time-lapses provide glimpses of the changing cityscape. Dedicating up to five hours of shooting to every sequence, the process of perfectly encapsulating Durban took two years to complete. He's now collated his work into a three-minute film, Titled, Enter Durban, the video received hundreds of thousands of views, an outpouring of appreciative messages, and phenomenal acclaim. Locals and visitors alike were entranced by the landscape’s unassuming charm. This year, Durban was voted Africa’s Leading City Destination by the World Travel Awards. Allen’s work reveals the beauty that lies right before us. *** Classrooms just got a whole lot cooler. The Department of Basic Education recently announced that they’re introducing coding to the South African curriculum. But not every school has access to computers. While some students are equipped with the knowledge to contribute to the country’s technological growth, others lack the resources to study even the basics. The results of this dichotomy become more pronounced later in life. This was the experience for 17-year-old Nadine Maselesele to boost their skills, Maselesele went back to her alma mater. At Salt River High School, she began tutoring Maths and Science while advocating for IT education. As a result of her efforts, Nadine was chosen as a fellow of the Facebook Community Leadership Programme. She received the opportunity to visit Facebook’s headquarters in California – and $50 000 to build a fully equipped computer lab at her old school. The students can now develop their basic computer skills, complete assignments, learn to code, and create online portfolios to assist their future job applications. Technology in the classroom can either be a major distraction or a great asset in sparking interest. Resources like this allow students to take control of their education. And Nadine has been instrumental in driving this development. Though she’s barely out of high school, she hasn’t hesitated to give back. *** Zahraa Hendricks had a game to win. To her, scoring tries was the challenge, not wearing a headscarf. The young hijabi didn’t expect to make headlines in her first rugby match. But when Hendricks ran onto the field, pictures of her were taken and posted to social media. Instantly, they went viral. Hendricks’ amendments to her kit had caught onlookers off-guard. For protection and as a symbol of modesty, Muslim women veil their hair. Because of it, they’re often doubly painted with the stigma of being oppressed. Zahraa says this is not true. And that she's free to choose for herself. The kit isn’t as covered as she requires, so she’s adapted the gear to suit her needs. And in her team, the headscarf is seen as part of her identity – just as it is to her. . By sporting the hijab on the field, Hendricks breaks stereotypes and channels the embracing attitude of South Africa’s people. Our unity escalates our freedom. *** Music was the first sign of Faith Mamba’s bright future. She didn’t know much about melodies – except that they provided her with the warmth she yearned for. After Mamba’s mother passed on, her grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. Foreseeing the impending outcome,her grandmom placed the young girl in an orphanage. When her grandmother died, faith was left to face life on her own. Social workers and caregivers reached out by offering her a host of recreational activities. In sonorous sounds, she discovered profound comfort. It was while attending a student concert at the Durban Music School that faith noticed the saxophone. Her newfound interest drove her to enrol at the institution. There, the shiny gold instrument fast became her favourite and enabled her to channel her emotions. Today, the university student has reached Grade 6 in Classical Music and remains loyal to the family that supported her. Using her saxophone, she is creating her own repository of resilience against adversity. As long as she has an instrument in hand, she’s home.

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