Bongani Zungu gifting a school kid a bucket hatCelebrating Youth Month in January with Mamelodi Sundowns.Author: Kamokgelo MalingaPhotos: Sundowns MediaJanuary is often seen as the month that provides a fresh start for students and marks the beginning of the academic year. South Africa traditionally celebrates youth month in June, however, this year the club took it upon themselves to shift the focus on younger generations from the middle of the year, to the start of the academic season. The purpose of this initiative was to assist the younger generation with much needed resources, connect with the learners and to also encourage the young ones to take pride in their work and focus on the year ahead.

In January, Masandawana began their youth campaign with two schools located outside of Gauteng. The club visited Motlhake Primary School in Makau located in the North West and Bantuvukani Primary School in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal.

The initiative is driven by the club with the intention of rotating throughout the country and highlighting the importance of assisting school kids with basic essentials such as stationery and school shoes.
Mamelodi Sundowns Club Chairman, Tlhopie Motsepe spoke about the reason behind this initiative, “It was important for us to start the year with the youth in mind. As a football club, we understand that the youth is crucial to our country and very important to our values as a club. We brought our Men’s and Women’s teams to the schools to inspire young people and we want the kids in the community to know that they’re loved and that it is important for them to make the most out of the opportunities that they get in school.”

The Chairman further explained the importance of choosing a school outside of the province and extending a helping hand. “As much as we love the community that we are from, it's important that we share the influence and the opportunity that our teams have and the resources that our club has been blessed with. Going forward we want to try and branch out to different provinces.”
Sundowns Chairman, Tlhopie Motsepe, assisting the kids to cover their booksDuring the visit to Mothlake Primary School the men's and women’s team players assisted the learners from different grades in covering schoolbooks with Mamelodi Sundowns branded book covers. In the lighthearted atmosphere, the Mamelodi Sundowns family got to engage with the kids, share their future endeavors and motivate them to stay in school.

Ruth Tebogo Mamba, who is the Principal of Motlhake Primary School, which has over 600 students, shared her feelings about the visit from the club, “It was a great day for the learners, the parents, and the community of Makau to have the presence of a big team such as Mamelodi Sundowns. We are grateful for the club's visit and having the players engage and encourage the kids to prioritize their education was an important message to leave with the learners.”

She further expressed how the visit will positively impact the school as previously they have had a high rate of absent students during the rainy season due to children not having school shoes. She mentioned that the club's visit and the difference it has made will forever be cherished.
Players from both the men's and ladies team's visiting schoolsMasandawana continued with their back-to-school initiative and travelled to Kwa-Zulu Natal to visit Bantuvukani Primary School in Lamontville, Durban. The school who also received stationery and school shoes were also gifted by the club with a signed replica shirt from the Sundowns senior team.

The Principal of Bantuvukani Primary School, Mbuso Sosibo, expressed his excitement and gratitude for the club's visit, “We are grateful to Mamelodi Sundowns for making this day a success. To us, education is a priority. Our kids returning to school and receiving donations goes a long way and it shows that there are people who care about us.”

He added that the school mostly depends on donations, and they would like to thank the club for what they have done for the learners. Principal Sosibo mentioned that Mamelodi Sundowns coming to their school will not only bring change within the school but also ignite passion within their children to continue coming to school and learning.
Club Chairman Tlhopie Motsepe and Peter Ndlovu giving out stationeriesMamelodi Sundowns has always encouraged a culture of giving back and uplifting the many communities across South Africa. As we enter the next quarter of the year, we look forward to participating in more youth initiatives as the club is committed towards making a difference in the country through the pillars of our community outreach programs that focus on education, youth upliftment and football development.