15 Years of Empowering South African Youth: MOT SA Enthusiasts’ Gathering

mot enthusiasts' gathering

On October 20th of this year, MOT South Africa celebrated a significant milestone – the 15th Birthday of MOT in South Africa. The MOT Enthusiasts’ Gathering, held at the Old Mutual Head Office in Pinelands, was not just an event but a day to honour the remarkable achievements of MOT and to embrace the exciting journey that lies ahead.

With the theme “Courage to Celebrate,” this gathering brought together the spirit of resilience, acknowledgement of successes, and a commemoration of the progress MOT SA has made over the past 15 years in South Africa.

Distinguished Guests

board members
From Left: Kubeshini Govendar, Atle Vårvik, Prof Eltie Links, Sigrun Vårvik, Julia Benjamin, Beryl Kerr Ferguson

The event was graced by over 200 guests, including educators, principals from High schools and TVET Colleges in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, City of Cape Town officials and councillors, social workers, youth, CEOs, and the esteemed Founding Father and Mother of MOT, Atle and Sigrun Vårvik, who visited from Norway to celebrate with MOT SA.

Master of Ceremony

The Master of Ceremony for the event was the renowned International Speaker & Mind Power Coach, Robin Banks, who is also a proud MOT Brand Ambassador.

A Decade and a Half of MOT in South Africa

MOT SA, which officially started in South Africa in 2008, has been operating in the country since 2006. Over the years, MOT has expanded its reach to Gauteng, Kwazulu Natal, and Northern Cape, in addition to the Eastern Cape and Western Cape. This expansion has allowed MOT to make a significant impact on the lives of South African youth.

One of the critical issues that MOT addresses is the challenges faced by the youth, including school dropouts, substance abuse, cyberbullying, and mental health issues. As Beryl Kerr Ferguson, MOT SA Chairperson, noted, “Through all of this, MOT has been a beacon of hope for the youth.”

MOT’s impact on academic success was highlighted by Timothy Mc Bride, a lecturer in the Institute for Post-School Studies at the University of the Western Cape. Mc Bride’s research showed that participants in MOT programmes achieved, on average, an 18% higher subject pass rate and a 12% higher completion rate for courses. Moreover, around 95% of participants indicated that MOT programmes made a significant difference in their lives. Read more about UWC’s research on MOT here

MOT has a global presence and operates in four countries, including South Africa, Denmark, Latvia, and Norway. In South Africa alone, a total of 86,141 youth has been positively impacted by the MOT programmes.

A Panel Discussion on MOT’s Inception

Panel discussion

A significant moment during the gathering was the panel discussion that delved into the inception of MOT in South Africa. Led by MOT Brand Ambassador Alana James, the panel featured distinguished figures like Sigrun Vårvik, the Founding Mother of MOT, Prof. Eltie Links, the first Chairperson of MOT SA, Wanda Möller the first CEO of MOT SA, Jannie Isaacs, founding member and first Board member of MOT SA, Somayah Achmat, the first MOT Coach trained and Aurelio Joao, the first MOT Youth trained.

Recognition and Awards

MOT also recognized outstanding individuals, their partnering High Schools and Community Organizations with Best Practice Awards.

MOT Coach of the Year

Melissa Richards, an educator and MOT Coordinator from Zeekoevlei Secondary School, was named the MOT Coach of the Year,

MOT School/TVET College of the Year

while Gardens Commercial High School received the MOT School of the Year award for its commitment to the MOT programme.

Recognition of MOT Organization award

REcognition of Organisation

Three community organizations, Amy Foundation, Dreamspire, and Mbekweni Youth Centre, were honoured with the Recognition of MOT Organization award.

Are Hovstad Award

gardens commercial high
Are Hovstad Winner – Dylan Tommy with youth from Gardens Commercial High School

The Are Hovstad Award, which pays homage to Are Hovstad, a founding member of MOT in South Africa known for his dedication to empowering youth, was presented to Dylan Tommy, the principal of Gardens Commercial High School. This award recognized his outstanding commitment, inclusivity, and tireless efforts to support the youth and his community and for living the MOT Values and Principles in his daily life. In his nomination, it was noted, “There is a permanent white plate on his desk with a sandwich, for the shy learner that does not like to receive her sandwich in front of other learners. A heart so big that buys school shoes and stationary if needed. The most precious gift anyone can give is time, something that money can’t buy. Knowing that our learners face adversity, Mr. Tommy sometimes comes into school on a Saturday to make sure that the child without the necessary resources can finish an assignment using the school’s resources. He waters the plants (literally) and takes care of the garden like it’s part of his job description.”

Student Testimonial on MOT’s Impact

In the words of Tracey-Lee Hendricks, a Grade 9 student from Zeekoevlei Secondary School who attended the event, “The biggest lesson I’ve learnt from the MOT Programme is to show courage and be brave, no matter how difficult things may be.”

A Continuing Commitment to Youth Empowerment

MOT’s 15th-anniversary celebration was a testament to its unwavering dedication to youth empowerment, holistic development, academic excellence, and community enrichment. The event showcased the amazing and magical experiences that MOT has created over its 15 years in South Africa, and it underlined the organization’s commitment to continue making a positive impact on the lives of South African youth.

Media Coverage Highlights

The MOT Enthusiasts’ Gathering garnered substantial media attention, with several news outlets, both local and national, covering the event. Newspapers, and radio stations, and online news portals featured the celebrations, highlighting the remarkable achievements of MOT South Africa and the inspirational stories shared during the 15th Birthday celebration.

The event’s media coverage not only recognized the impact of MOT but also amplified its message of youth empowerment and the importance of community involvement to a broader audience.

Here are some media coverage highlights from the event:

People’s Post – Link to article here
WCED News – Link to article here


Mr Tommy WCED News MOS SA
MOT Article WCED News