When Nomkhosi Kunene, 17, took part in the Peace Forums debates last year little did she know that her debating skills would be sported by highly renowned international personalities.
Kunene, a Grade 12 learner at St Francis College – Mariannhill, was one of several of pupils who made presentations during the climate conference (COP17) in Durban late last year.
Her presentation caught the attention of some of the members of the United Nations delegation participating in the conference.
As a consequence, Nomkhosi was invited her to take part in the crucial Global Network of Religious for Children (GNRC) Fourth Forum in Tanzania with the KZN Peace Forum endorsing her selection.
The week-long forum was attended by young people from all over the world, politicians and religious leaders of different denominations. It will be attended by participants from 65 countries.
St Francis College participates in the KZN peace forums where various issues of social concern under different themes are discussed.
One of the themes that catapulted Kunene to prominence was the theme on Climate Change, which coincided with the climate conference (COP17).
“She was exceptional in her presentation,” said Mrs Glenda Hartel, Arts & Culture and Life Orientation teacher at the school.
Nomkhosi said she felt honoured to have represented her school and the country in the June conference. “I was excited when I got the news but at the same time it motivated me to want to give more and work hard in order to make difference so that when I am at the conference they will see what we have been doing in South Africa,” she said.
She flew to Tanzania on 13 of June for a week-long conference.
“I would like to encourage other learners to take part in these peace forums because they are very useful. They help us as young people to discuss issues that affect us (young people) and the society at large,” she said.
Nomkhosi said she was ready to engage meaningfully during the forum. “We will engage in robust debates around the issues of poverty affecting millions of people all over the world.”
Mr Jabulani Nzama, principal of St Francis College, described Kunene’s selection as very important for the school.
“It is milestone achievement for the learner to be part of this international conference in Tanzania, and this will make the people know that there is St Francis College in Mariannhill,”
Her selection would be a huge motivation to other learners, Nzama said.
During her stay in Tanzania (Dar- es-salam) Nomkhosi had the opportunity to visit many sites of poverty stricken where different religious groups are involved in trying to alleviate the plight of many children.