About our Volunteers Inspiration from our past volunteers


Mbuyi Yanta (28)

Mbuyi Yanta

I encourage everyone to become a volunteer. It is very difficult to find a job. The Year Beyond programme teaches you how to apply yourself and show up. You have to be active and aware to take advantage of the opportunities, not just collect a stipend and have a nice time.

There are many opportunities to learn about yourself and to develop. This is an experimental phase where you have a year to experiment with your life. Don't forget why you joined. Give back and pay it forward for the learners.

I was a volunteer in 2016. I was looking for something to do. I wanted time out from studying. I had been working in a call centre but it wasn't meaningful work and it wasn't taking me anywhere. It was also stressful. So I went online and searched for internship opportunities and found Year Beyond.

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I was placed at I.D. Mkhize School in Gugulethu. There were challenges to overcome. Most learners had been referred to the after-school tutoring programme by teachers and it was hard to retain them. They were easily distracted. They escaped because they were thinking about things like 'will I be safe when I walk home?' But when we had fun activities on Fridays, they were all there!

The best thing about volunteering was that it introduced me to mindfulness, which has had a big impact on my life. This came about when we, the volunteers at the school, were given a social innovation challenge as part of our training. Our challenge was how to instill a learning culture at the school. We decided to introduce mindfulness to help learners to engage with the syllabus because you find that, while they are physically in the classroom, their minds are elsewhere. They have limited attention. The learners responded to being in the present and learning to pause before they do something.

I got so interested in mindfulness. I am now doing a certificate course through Stellenbosch University on mindfulness-based interventions, and I am also on the board of the Mindfulness Institute.

Through volunteering at Year Beyond, I got to know Action Volunteers Africa (AVA) which ran a course for us on 'Breaking Beliefs', about all the self-limiting beliefs that we have that stop us from doing things. I was not confident in my abilities. When I sat down to apply for something, I would start doubting myself. I did not have the courage to do what I wanted to. I was born in Khayelitsha and I see how many people have self-limiting beliefs. They have so much potential but they hold back and limit themselves. I have friends who are in retail who started as packers and have stayed as packers when they could do try to go further.

After volunteering at YeBo, I was employed by AVA in 2017 and I am now employed as a facilitator and trainer at Next Step Coaching.

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Sethu Ngqiva

Sethu NgqivaSethu started her career working in a call centre and realised very soon that she was unhappy. One day when she was talking to a client she realized that she had to leave. She knew that she wanted to give back something to the world and do more with her life. Sethu lives in Khayelitsha and joined YearBeyond in 2016 volunteering at Manyano High School.

Through being in the YearBeyond programme Sethu says she has developed more self-confidence, and learnt to be present and engage with every situation that she comes across.

She is more aware of the world around her, and has realised her passion for working with youth.

Sethu is currently employed at Action Volunteers Africa supporting other young people and YearBeyond. 

Sanele Makatesi

Sanele MakatesiBefore joining YearBeyond Sanele was studying political science at the University of the Western Cape. He had completed two years of his studies when he saw YearBeyond advertised. He decided that it would be a good investment in his future in politics to participate in a programme of this nature and gain experience in the education sector. He aims to continue his studies in the future.

Sanele is a very passionate and driven individual who has volunteered in the past, an activist at heart he also started his own youth organization.

He feels that this programme has taught him the value of listening to people. He says now he is less stubborn. He has learnt the importance of having the attitude of a learner and continually asking questions.

Sanele lives in Khayelitsha and volunteered at Ikwezi Primary in Khayelitsha. Since completing YearBeyond Sanele as continued to work in the community development sector and has become an Activator with Activate South Africa. 

Shameera Rakiep

shameera RakiepShameera is originally from Klerksdorp in the North West province and moved around a lot during her childhood. This she says made her always feel out of place.

Before joining YearBeyond she spent 2015 redoing her matric and volunteering in a school in Fairmont. There she helped any teachers who needed assistance with their classes.

Shameera lives in Fairways, Grassy Park and volunteered at Phoenix High School in Manenberg. She feels that being part of the programme has helped her self-confidence and kept her out of trouble!

Shameera found her passion in IT and completed a coding course with CodeX, a link she says was facilitated through her involvement in YearBeyond. She is now working as a coder.  

Brandon Foster

Brandon FosterBefore joining YearBeyond Brandon was unemployed and at a loss about what to do with his life. He had worked at Debonairs selling pizza and had also studied marketing management but had failed and then dropped out.

Brandon joined YearBeyond because in his heart he wanted to give back to society. He says that being part of the programme has helped him realise what he wants to do with his life, which is work with young people. Brandon is currently completing his degree in Psychology at UCT.

Brandon lives in Heideveld and is a volunteered at Masipumelele Primary in Khayelitsha.  

What our volunteers think about YearBeyond