R100 000 Old Mutual Sisonke Award – Grand Prize Winner

JumpStart’s Team Lead for the Robotics & Coding programme, Daniella Lekgau, has done us proud by winning the Old Mutual Sisonke Award! Before hearing about this competition, Daniella wasn’t aware that videography was in her skill set! Nor did she anticipate that her efforts would land us the R100 000 prize… 

Local heroes

Driving home listening to Radio 702 Azania Mosaka came on air with Thobile Tshabalala (Head of Brand at Old Mutual). The #Sisonke  Award was inviting entries from people and projects making a difference under the hardship of the pandemic. Ms Tshabalala explained that the Sisonke Award sought stories told by local heroes in African societies. They wished to highlight people who overcame their adversities and and projects that made life easier and more bearable for those in their communities. The campaign ran in Malawi, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Themes of hope, perseverance, innovation, and the will to overcome life challenges are key to JumpStart’s ethos, so we hoped there would be a good match with the goals of the Award.

A story in just 90 seconds

The team pondered how best to create a 90-second video. It needed to tell the world about the positive impact the programme had created in Katlehong. The main challenge was fitting all the details into the time limit. Naturally gregarious, Daniella can speak enthusiastically about her work for hours! She quickly distilled the essence, focusing on the learners’ joy as they grasp new and unfamiliar skills. Condensing all the parts of the project into a mere 90 seconds was tricky and she had to exclude mention of the online teaching component of the project!

A passionate calling

“I don’t see my job as a job anymore, it’s more like a calling,” she said. “Non profit organisations have an ongoing challenge to raise finances. At JumpStart we strive for the best in all our programmes, and we always want to ensure our learners have all the necessary equipment needed for the successful implementation of the programmes. Without funders, this becomes difficult. It was beyond my wildest dreams to hear that we received the grand prize!”

Down to the wire

With just a few hours to deadline, Daniella’s helpers popped in some of the fabulous images taken before the pandemic by Ropafadzo Chiradza of Katatorn Productions. With the finishing touches in place, the team crossed fingers and hit send. “I was excited to see the video go live on our social media,” she said. “However, nothing quite prepares one for the news of winning a big prize! I wept with joy when the Old Mutual announcement arrived.”

Waiting for post-COVID cake!

Daniella celebrated quietly with her family on hearing the news. She’s looking forward to cake with her colleagues when the Covid-19 restrictions lighten! General Manager, Callen Hodgskiss, congratulated her on her success, saying, “With this accolade, your vital and vibrant effort will continue to impact the lives of many young students in the Katlehong community and – hopefully – one day all across South Africa!”


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