MPlain project gives teens a taste of engineering life
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.”
TAKING OFF: DJ Ready D with the Mitchells Plain teens he took to Ysterplaat Air Force Base to interest them in various engineering fields.