“When I was in high school I had to pass on a lot of things because of my financial situation; I’d say that had the biggest role to play in me getting to where I am now; that, and all the people who helped me get here,” says Robert Mtshali, founder of the Young Minds Group and a firm believer in the values of Ubuntu.
In 2009, when he was 19 years old, Mtshali registered his business, then called Young Minds Cleaning Services.
“My passion for helping people has always been there; it’s just that before I didn’t have the influence to do so but now I can and I am,” Mtshali explains, adding “I want to be as influential as my role model, Jay Z.”
He adds; “Most of the things that I do, the initiatives that I do or take part in, relate to my personal experiences or those of someone close to me, like my colleagues and friends.”
GOING TO THE MATRIC DANCE
In mid-2013 Mtshali and Young Minds Care (YMC), his company’s welfare arm, started Fabricated, the company’s first initiative aimed at benefitting the underprivileged.
Fabricated identified six high school pupils – three boys and three girls – from Eastbank High School in Alexandra, who had performed admirably during their first semester and who couldn’t afford to go to their matric dance.
Young Minds Care supplied the students with clothing, and funds for grooming and entrance fees to their dance as a reward for their hard work at school.
“I also didn’t go to my matric dance due to financial constraints at the time and I really wanted to go but I couldn’t, and that hit me really hard, so I thought I would try my level best to help a few people who were in a similar situation,” says Mtshali.
In 2013 Mtshali and his colleagues wanted to do something different for Christmas, “so we decided to spend the day with people who weren’t as fortunate as we were and bring a few things with us to brighten up their festive season”.
Shortly after Mtshali and his company joined forces with Phumlani Makhaye of Master P Social Investments to hold Homeless Xmas, spending Christmas Day delivering food and clothing to some 60 homeless people living under the Nelson Mandela Bridge in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
Master P Social Investments encourages young people to share their successes by giving back to their communities.
SHARING THIS EASTER
“When we held our Christmas event we noticed there were more people than we expected and later found out there were just under 200 homeless people living under a bridge in Newtown so we thought it would be good for us to do something this Easter for them,” says Mtshali.
This year YMC and Master P Social Investments are planning a Homeless Easter Drive on 19 April, distributing food and clothing to a group of people living under the M1 bridge over Newtown; the organisations invite Joburgers who want to help out to join them on the day at 8am.
The organisations need donations of food and clothing to distribute on the day and are also trying to organise medical screenings for children in the group.
“We are also trying to help these people get their documentation sorted out because we’ve noticed that a lot of them don’t have IDs or birth certificates,” Mtshali says. “This makes finding a job and proving they have dependants for social grants even harder for them.
“For the little kids, we’re trying as much as we can to at least get them into schools so that they can get an education and hopefully break the chain of poverty.”
PLAY YOUR PART
To donate food and clothing to YMC and Master P Social Investment’s Easter drive, visit The Branson Centre in Braamfontein, the Mark Kidds Photographic Studio at Maponya Mall and Gordon Ridge Complex in Florida Glen.
“Let’s carry the legacy of Nelson Mandela and let’s do what he believed in most, which is helping each other and loving one another regardless who the other may be,” says Mtshali.
“Let’s do good and have fun at the same time.”
To find out more about the event, or Young Minds Group and Master P Social Investments, email Robert Mtshali at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on +27 (0) 84 811 6916, or email Phumlani Makhaye at email@example.com or call him on +27 (0) 78 792 6657.