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SU graduate uses personal experience to guide youth in his community
Author: Corporate Communication [René-Jean van der Berg]
Published: 17/12/2020

Imagine commuting on the train daily. You are one of the last passengers right at the back of the train. Your station is the very last station on the Central line that takes you through the Cape Flats: Kapteinsklip.

“That is where I come from. An almost forgotten and socially degraded community where youth don't often get a lot of opportunities," says SU graduate Clint Higgins.

He received his Master's Degree in Development Finance from the Stellenbosch University Business School this week.

Growing up in Tafelsig in Mitchells Plain, Clint has had first-hand experience of the path you could find yourself on in the absence of a proper role model or guidance. It was this experience that led him to start the non-governmental organisation, Each One Teach One. This NGO aims to provide youth in his community with the crucial guidance they need to reach their full potential.

“I was a top student and always had to hear how much potential I had. However, nobody could show or tell me how to unlock that potential. Growing up, I – and is the case with many youths today – didn't have that roadmap to show the way forward. I had to learn by my bad decisions and through lessons from these experiences."

When he was in Grade 10, Clint experienced personal difficulties with his family and dropped out of school. That same year he started using methamphetamine (tik) and was arrested for possession of illegal substances.

“In hindsight, I realise this was actually my cry for help during a difficult time and lacking an identity. After being arrested, I realised that this couldn't be my life going forward."

Clint managed to go back the school the following year, but trying to kick old habits was hard as he once again experienced a lack of support and positive role models in his community.

He matriculated from in 2006 and a few years later started working at a grocery store.  “At work, I asked myself every day, is this it? Is this me for the rest of my life? I realised I needed qualifications if I wanted to make use of opportunities should they arrive."

Soon after this epiphany, he started enrolling for academic programmes at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

He completed a Business Development Programme at CPUT in 2012, then a National Diploma in Management at the same institution in 2013, an International Diploma in Procurement at Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply in 2015 and an Honours degree in Public Management at SU in 2017.

He studied part-time over the last nine years while being employed full time and at the same founded the Each one Teach One NGO.

“With my NGO I really hope to reach our youth out there who find themselves where I once was. They need someone to give them that roadmap for the way forward. They need to know that they can't be the last passengers on the train all their lives."