Second runner-up in this category, Carl Wastie is an award-winning radio presenter, TV host, motivational speaker and MC, an inspirational celebrity that most brands would be proud to be associated with. He is passionate about working with young people.
As a MOT South Africa Ambassador, Carl was part of leadership camps and school campaigns driven to inspire youth to do great things despite their circumstances. The MOT programme strengthens youth’s robustness and courage through life skills programmes in high schools and tertiary education institutions. They develop a student’s ability to think creatively and critically, improve their self-esteem and develop their self-confidence.
Carl also collaborated with Inspired Stages, which is a programme created by Karen Burt, CEO of Planet Productions, that allows young musicians, singers and dancers to face their fears and embrace their talents. The workshops are not just about the music but about what stories lie behind the vocals, instruments and skills of the students that may be holding them back from achieving their full potential.
One hundred and forty-one teenagers with ambitions to pursue careers in the performing arts were given the chance to take part in the Inspired Stages workshops.
The learners were given opportunities to collaborate, create, discover, develop and perform in a series of workshops covering music, dance, singing, events, technical, production and other skills.
Karen Burt also created Girlology. Carl was one of the mentors and motivational speakers. He gave talks at Further Education and Training Colleges across the Western Cape, designed to educate women about often overlooked topics like personal hygiene and mental well-being, as well as creating a forum for women to be honest about their relationships with men.
Through the Peace Ambassador project with Professor Brian Williams, Carl interacted with the youth from gang infested parts of Cape Town. The Peace Ambassador Project is a mentorship network that connects youths from the Cape Town townships with their role models.
Carl also partnered with the Western Cape Education Department in South Africa in an antibullying campaign aimed at raising awareness of cyber bullying.
Carl’s love for youth development and empowerment is born from personal experiences and the struggles he faced. His parents divorced when he was very young. He suffered from anxiety attacks. He had to take a gap year to work and assist his mother to support their family. He worked five jobs in order to make ends meet, all this while 17 years old.
Looking ahead, Carl plans to lobby the Education Department to teach Emotional Intelligence. He feels that the current curriculum ignores emotional intelligence and yet there are so many young people who are trying to build their identity and find value within themselves. Learning about emotional intelligence would assist them with self-acceptance and self-esteem. He wants young people to know that their value lies in them and not what the world says they are worth.
He believes that everybody just needs a helping hand either with access to information, mentorship or sponsorship to change their circumstances. Just as he was helped by a customer at one of the restaurants he was working at, who offered him a bursary to study at university.
Looking ahead, Carl would love to see more focus on the school curriculum being a vehicle for youth readiness post school. Carl will use his degree in Psychology and media platform to lobby the Education Department to change the curriculum and include emotional intelligence.