Bantu Hikers; a non-profit organization co-founded in 2015, offers first-generation students from underserved communities in South Africa a wellness, networking and mentorship platform; with the aim of reducing high university drop-outs and consequently increasing youth employability. Bantu Hikers was created in response to a statistic that “only 18% of South African matriculants access universities and of those students, 60% drop out within their first year” and the reasons are not particularly related to finances.
We run a two-year programme, the 2017 grade 12 cohort is still under our support in their first year of tertiary. We recognise that first-year is a critical transition period which demands support. The two-year programme also enables the first-year students to pay it forward by lending support and sharing knowledge with those who come after them. The Bantu Hikers platform uses hiking as a metaphor for personal leadership and advocates for the occupying of uncharted spaces. Our aim is to expose people to environments that they may not be accustomed to and to encourage them to challenge themselves.