Awards for Social Cohesion
Insight Africa

Turquoise Harmony Institution's Executive Director and Social Cohesion Advocate Ayhan Cetin (far left), along with other social cohesion advocates, and Deputy Director at Department of Arts and Culture Nhlanhla Nkobi (far right), pictured with the students whose projects received awards.Kiya Singh, an 11th-grade student from Star College Durban, honored as the top student for his project, stands in the center of the front row.

11 March 2024

The Department of Sport, Arts, and Culture (DSAC) for South Africa together with the Turquoise Harmony Institute organized its second collaborative awards ceremony for the "Social Cohesion Project Competition for High School Students" at the Radisson Blu Hotel on March 1. Mandisa Chikwatamba, the Deputy Director-General of DSAC who delivered the keynote speech during the event, praised Turquoise's work as a prime example of the contributions expected from the private sector.

Mandisa Chikwatamba, the Deputy Director-General of DSAC who delivered the keynote speech

During the award ceremony, students from Durban, Cape Town, and Johannesburg presented innovative projects that tackled issues surrounding issues of social cohesion. Projects were evaluated by a distinguished panel of adjudicators, including renowned Constitutional Court Judge Jody Kollapen, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, the secretary-general of the SA Council of Churches (SACC), award-winning actor Jafta Mamabolo, journalist Iman Rappetti, Deputy Chairperson of the SAHRC Fatima Chohan, as well as the Head of the Wits School of Education, Prof. Juliet Perumal.

“We use our national symbols and cultural symbols to foster social cohesion. We use language in particular as well. I am thrilled today, to be a part of this program, seeing how young people have managed to bring life to social cohesion in their way of interpreting it. Turquoise Harmony Institution’s work is giving life to what we as government are calling upon the private sector to say, and that is-You have a role to play. And I think, that Turquoise is demonstrating what that role is and Turquoise is a typical example of what we are expecting the private sector to be doing”. DDG Chikwatamba said while addressing the crowd.

Kiya Singh, a grade 11 student hailing from Star College Durban was awarded as the top student for his project called ‘Cultural Narratives’. He shared his excitement saying, “I did a project for social cohesion, it takes an ordinary person's life, and it gives them a chance to talk about their struggles, their history, and the experiences that they've gone through in their life. My project gives them the opportunity to open up and share their feelings with the world. My project’s videos may be used for educational purposes, as well as to simply gain information and become familiar with people’s lived experiences.”

In his speech, Ayhan Cetin, Executive Director of the Turquoise Harmony Institute emphasized the transformative power of youth-led initiatives. “Today, we gather not just to celebrate the outstanding achievements of our high school students in the Social Cohesion Project Competition but to acknowledge the powerful role young people play in shaping a more cohesive, understanding, and united society."

The second position went to Isa Singlee, a student from Alexander Sinton Cape Town. His project entitled; "Capturing the Essence of Cape Flats: A Youth Perspective Photography Exhibition," stood out for its innovative approach. Kamwa Khomo and Mbalenhle Mhkize, representing Woodhurts Secondary, secured the third spot with their compelling project titled "Cultural Swap Weekend." Sharing with them in third place was Romeo Owami Ndlovu from Horizon High School, whose work titled "Untold Vignettes" showcased a unique and powerful narrative.

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