THE RISING STARS TOBACCO FREE GENERATION
Hi my name is Prince Motlou from South Africa, Pretoria (Tshwane) I represent Tobacco Free Generation Tshwane. I am 22 years old. I’m studying Electrical Engineering in Tshwane South TVET College. And I run an non-profit-organisation (NPO) called The Rising stars Generation. It’s a group of young people (14 to 25 years old age group) doing community service such gathering kids out of streets into one place doing Arts Activities ( Theatre dramas, poems, singing , acting, making videos…etc),teaching discipline, gender based violence, Risk Behaviours and more, however our main focus is the TFG Project. we even proudly calling ourselves a non-smoking generation. So we basically using Arts Activities to dispatch the message to young people.
About 4 years ago in 2018. While I was doing Matric, (grade 12 in high school). I met Letlhogonolo Moagi through other project whom became my Mentor and introduced me To Dr Koong and his team. They came to my school DR. WF. NKOMO SECONDERY, to do Tobacco Free Generation program, it was an amazing experience because as the they were presenting I was already making up idea on how I’m going to impact my friends with the information they gave us.
In that first session I became so much interested and I knew that with the leadership skills I have, I can do more with TFG team. After the session, we had a little meeting with the TFG Team along with few of my teachers, that’s when I asked Mr Moagi that I could be part of TFG and Indeed Dr Koong needed Someone who can Lead this Movement in Tshwane so I became a right person for the task. And I went to few of my friends to discuss the TFG concept and the ideas I have, They became interested.
I now lead the TFG Pioneers here in Pretoria.
In 2019, my Friend Mahlatse Mphahlele and I came up with ideas to gather our friends and their friends to form a TFG group. We were less than 20 when we started on the 11th February 2019 and we were so happy that we would finally be doing something important with our lives than just play on the streets every day attracting problems. Mr Moagi linked us with Dr Koong and his Team once again when he came to South Africa in 2019 May. He was the one who transported us with his car from Atteridgville to Lynnwood ,he provided catering for us at his expense.
About 9 of our Pioneers including myself attended the TFG workshop “TFG ENDGAME” for about 2 days. Best experienced moments, we shot videos, practicing presentation and a lot more. After we being trained we went visited schools from different region of Tshwane doing the presentation. We took more pictures and videos, that on our side helped a lot cause we were posting on social media of whatever we were doing while Dr Koong and his Team were here.
In May 2019 We went to Laudium Primary School in Laudium, from there we went to DR WF NKOMO SECONDARY SCHOOL in Atteridgeville, Prospectus Secondary School in Eesterust, in the same month and in October 2019 Dr Koong came to SA again we went to catholic church to do a presentation the following day we went to Rosina Sediba sports school. Since from then lot of young people started asking questions, were interested to join us, coming from different places , also commenting on our posts on whatsApp, Facebook, wanting to be part of us. Some were friends of our pioneers.
Most came and left, we getting new faces every time we meet so we don’t have a constant number we mostly revolve around 30 to 40 pioneers from the same community I live in, that’s how we’ve expanded. We using one of the schools (Edward Phatudi Comprehensive School ) within our community to practice and do all those activities. We meet only on Fridays and Saturdays afternoon every week. We have no funding, no resources but we’ve use what we have to keep us going, so we started expanding our Activities then an organisation was formed “THE RISING STARS GENERATION” and registered as an NPO on August 2020.
Now I have about 40 learners whom I train to become young Leaders (14 to 25 years old age group) so that they can spread the content of Tobacco knowledge amongst their friends and families. This year in February 2021 we Started a program whereby we discuss about the danger of smoking called “16 BULLET INDUSTRYING” the name “16bullet” is from the song our previous generation used to sing while fighting for freedom, here in South Africa during Apartheid Act.
In this case it means we can defeat tobacco industry 16 times, because I’ve realised that our young people understand concepts very fast when you are being more practical, that’s I like shooting videos because I know they love acting. So basically we using their talent and what they love the most with TFG topic to send the message to other young people and that is pure Arts.
It feels so thrilling to be the one who is doing all of this and I am honoured for I am now TFG Youth Advocate from 2018. My gratitude to Mr Moagi, Dr Koong and his Team for deploying me to mobilise this program in South Africa.
TFG Advocate from 2018
And on behalf of LETLHOGONOLO MOAGI
Senior Community Engagement Officer