“Be patient with yourself and don’t compare yourself to anyone. Your chapter 1 might be someone else’s chapter 20 and that’s okay.”
These are the inspiring words of a 24-year-old Imizamo Yethu man who has set his sights on changing the lives of many of the youth in his community.
Siphesihle Blayi has dedicated a large portion of his life to helping youth realise their academic dreams, guiding them through the application process at university and tertiary institutions and also assists them with applying for scholarships.
“I have big dreams, not only for Imizamo Yethu, but for all others struggling with service delivery in this country,” he said.
His journey started off with a voluntary job during a terrible fire that had ripped through the IY community. He quickly started co-ordinating donations such as food and clothes, distributing the items to those affected by the fire.
His actions led to him getting a full time position as a production manager at the online retailer, Yebo Fresh in Hout Bay. From here, he developed into an active community leader and worked tirelessly to plough his success back into the community.
“I wanted to make a difference in my community and help our youth, by guiding them with such a big decision in their lives,” Mr Blayi said.
He is not originally from IY, but the Eastern Cape and moved to Cape Town with his mother at the age of five months, where they settled in IY. He completed his primary schooling at the Oranjekloof Moravian Primary School and attended Hout Bay High School.
He completed his matric in 2015 with a Bachelors pass and took a gap year to decide on a way forward.
“The year 2016, I took a gap year just to decide on what I really wanted to do because as an undergraduate student, you end up taking any course without the knowledge of what would be expected of you to complete your studies,” Mr Blayi said.
The following year, he applied at Northlink College, where he completed a National Diploma in Business Management after which he enrolled to do a BA in Communication Science at Unisa.
His interest in helping the youth of IY started after he completed matric. “I saw how hard life can be after completing high school, especially if one didn’t have any extracurricular activities while at school.”
With a few friends, they started gathering information about various institutions that youth could apply to and also provided information on how to apply for scholarships.
Mr Blayi has set his sights on achieving some big goals, such as finishing his studies, finding a good high school for his baby brother and then heading up operations at Yebo Fresh.
“My personal favourite is starting my own NGO where the focus would be solely on undergraduate studies,” he said.
He encouraged matriculants to assess their options carefully.
“To all those that are still looking for schools, consider going into colleges. There is still a stigma – colleges versus universities.
“Let me let you in on a secret, I am a college graduate myself and I’m quite respected in my field of work, my opinion matters. It’s not about where you went to school; it’s about how you represent the institution you graduated from and also how you represent yourself.”