how Ikasi Y0uth was Born…
At the age of sixteen, my friend Randy McKnight, a Xhosa boy from Imizamo Yethu Township, dreamed of one day becoming a chef. Just like his hero Jamie Oliver, he took any opportunity that came his way to develop his cooking skills, in the hope that this would bring him closer to his dream. However, what made Randy different from the average youth trying to reach their dreams was that Randy could not read or write.
Growing up under the burden of extreme poverty, Randy often had to look after his sisters while his mother was at work, which meant he was not able to attend school during his formative years. His family ‘support structure’ did more to pull him from his schooling than to support his growth and what made things more difficult the had no resources at his disposal to assist him to keep up. As is so often the case for township youth, his community and school failed him.
Despite this challenging start to life, Randy’s dedication and untameable spirit led him to achieve the ‘impossible’: co-founding Sibanye Restaurant in his township. This achievement proved to other youth in the community that they could move away from the past, rise above adversity and start creating a new South Africa, dream by dream.
Randy tragically passed away from HIV/AIDS in 2011. He was an ‘Everyday Hero’ to us!
In his memory, we have created Ikasi Youth NPC, an organization dedicated to supporting township youth across South Africa. We focus assisting organisations who support youth like Randy to provide them with programs that can help these individuals who are brimming with brightness but do not have the right opportunities to realise their dreams. Our desire is that young adults like Randy will not have to face the same struggles he did or become victims of their circumstances.
Ikasi Youth’s flagship initiative is the Everyday Heroes Club. It offers a group of driven young boys who have been negatively affected by extreme poverty and/or HIV/AIDS from the Imizamo Yethu community the academic, personal, and community support that Randy so lacked. If given the right support, they could gain the ability to build a significant and meaningful future. We are blessed to help them create this future.
Like Randy, our Everyday Heroes are the faces of the future of South Africa, a new South Africa, and it is our job as the Everyday Heroes Club Team to not let them down.
(Co-founder of Sibanye Restaurant and Ikasi Youth NPC)
To learn more about Randy’s dream to impact the lives of township youth, watch the clip below and to see what he achieved in his short life, click on the video below that.