MPlain project gives teens a taste of engineering life

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - KOWTHAR SOLOMONS

TEN Mitchells Plain teenagers have been given the chance of a life­time – to be men­tored in sound, me­chan­i­cal, mo­tor and avi­a­tion engineering as part of the Great Cape Youth Am­bas­sadors Project, set up by DJ Ready D and the Com­mu­nity Po­lice Fo­rum.

The 10 youths, se­lected from schools across the area, have spent the past month vis­it­ing places like Yster­plaat Air Force Base with the South African Air Force, the Kil­larney Race Track with the D1S mo­tor­sport team, and Scratch Lab DJ train­ing fa­cil­ity with Ready D, to show them around the var­i­ous sound engineering fields.

The project (G-CAP) is the brain­child of DJ Ready D. Be­fore he be­came one of South Africa’s best known DJs, Ready D grew up in Len­tegeur as Deon Daniels.

He started the project with the help of var­i­ous part­ners, in­clud­ing the Mitchells Plain Com­mu­nity Po­lice Fo­rum (CPF), as a way to give back to the com­mu­nity.

“Many of the chal­lenges – gang­ster­ism, drugs and crime – are the same I faced when I was grow­ing up 15 years ago. I’ve been work­ing on this project for many years, build­ing up con­tacts and get­ting part­ners in­volved.”

When he ap­proached the Mitchells Plain CPF, “they were im­me­di­ately on board”.

“Thanks to the help of our var­i­ous part­ners, we were able to ex­pose th­ese kids to av­enues like sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, that they would not nor­mally be ex­posed to.

“And their re­sponse has been phe­nom­e­nal.”

Ready D said the project was de­signed to specif­i­cally in­ter­est young­sters in sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy.

“Not only did they visit and learn from th­ese places, but we’ve asked them to do prac­ti­cal work as well, de­sign­ing and build­ing their own re­mote-con­trol cars. They re­ceive enough lec­tur­ing at home, so we wanted to give them prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence to get them in­ter­ested in the sciences.

“It’s been a great ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with ev­ery­one. Some of the guys from D1S are from Mitchells Plain too. The sup­port from the CPF has been in­valu­able. We all have a com­mon goal of em­pow­er­ing the youth and teach­ing them that they can reach for their dreams,” he said.

Ni­cole Apol­lis, a Grade 8 pupil at Cedar High School, said she was fas­ci­nated dur­ing their field trip to Yster­plaat Air Force Base.

“I learnt a lot about how planes work. We learnt about aero­dy­nam­ics and the me­chan­ics of a plane. It has def­i­nitely in­spired me to take up engineering and, thanks to the project, I’ve met peo­ple who can help me make my dream a real- ity,” she said.

Craig Baba, a Grade 9 pupil at Tafel­sig High, said he was fas­ci­nated by the cars at Kil­larney. The ex­pe­ri­ence had taught him that per­se­ver­ance was needed to achieve his goals.

“I want to be a pro­fes­sional golfer and have com­peted in a few tour­na­ments so far. But be­cause of where I grew up, it some­times feels like you’re con- di­tioned that your dreams don’t mat­ter.

“But look­ing at peo­ple like Ready D, I can see it’s pos­si­ble to push harder and go for it.”

kowthar.solomons@inl.co.za

PIC­TURE: FER­ENCE ISAACS PHOTOGRAPHY

TAK­ING OFF: DJ Ready D with the Mitchells Plain teens he took to Yster­plaat Air Force Base to in­ter­est them in var­i­ous engineering fields.

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