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#Prisms2019: Meet young judge Makoma Maponya BY: JESSICA TENNANT In the run-up to the 22nd Prism Awards taking place on Sunday, 14 April, we chatted to this year's cohort of young judges about their fresh approach to the judging process. In this series of interviews, we find out what they’ve learnt working alongside the cluster judges and what their young minds bring to the table. “This year’s young judges’ entries far exceeded expectation. The selected group is proof that there’s an array of diverse and young talent in this industry and that they have a lot to offer,” says co-convenor and founder of the Prisms Young Judges initiative, Palesa Madumo, executive director of strategy at Vuma Reputation Management. Here, our interview with Makoma Maponya, stakeholder liaison at Reputation Matters.. What does this recognition and opportunity mean to you? Being recognized as a Prism Young judge plays into my journey in the industry coming full circle. I say this because I have been following the Prism Awards for a long time and just over a year ago, I was writing my very own entry for the Student Campaign of the Year category. This year, sitting on the other side as a Young Judge is an opportunity to continue learning and have a say in the future of an industry that I am incredibly passionate about. Briefly tell us about your experience in the industry. Before my current position in the reputation management space, I spent most of my time doing volunteer work and interning to gain experience. Now I am a master’s student and full-time stakeholder liaison who works from home. This means that I am able to manage client research and communication across various platforms, study and work on Teach A Girl Foundation, which I founded in 2016. Each day comes with learning skills that have never come naturally to me as an extrovert who works remotely but I am confident that I am exactly where I need to be and I am putting in the work needed to get to where I want to be. Comment on the judging process. The judging process is a great learning experience as we individually assess each entry against the set criteria before meeting the cluster judges to discuss the campaigns and reflect on our scores and comments. Reviewing the entries in a group environment has made me appreciate and respect the work that goes into creating the campaigns as well as the different views of every judge that is involved. What has the response been to this year’s entries? It is exciting to see how the awards continue to attract a large number of entries that showcase the amazing talent and constant growth within the industry. What makes the winning work stand out? The winning entries show total dedication to the craft and go above and ticking the boxes of traditional PR by having quantifiable objectives and that special 'X factor'. Prisa also introduced the Student Campaign of the Year in 2016. Why do you think it’s important that PR students are included in such initiatives? As a recipient of a silver award in the Student Campaign of the Year in 2018, I can say that being acknowledged for applying the theory that we are taught as students makes way for endless opportunities as we enter the world of work. What do you think young minds bring to the table? Young minds bring a sense of knowledge of what’s going on around us digitally and culturally. In addition to what we think we know, we are also aware that there is a lot that we don’t know, so bring questions, which is very important because we are all learning as we go along. What have you learnt working alongside the cluster judges? What really sets the Prism Awards apart is the judging process, which is designed to create a positive learning environment for everyone involved. Working alongside judges who have years of experience has taught me that there is more than one way to look at almost everything that is in front of you. Comment on the past, present and future state of PR. PR is going digital but no matter how much the vehicles we use evolve, the messages will always be rooted in the idea of building mutually beneficial relationships between brands and their audience. The present and future state of PR is moving towards sustainability and purpose as many organisations are driven by younger generations who are breaking the mould and creating content that matters. What would the title of Prisms Young Judge for the 2019 awards mean to you? The title of Prisms Young Judge for the 2019 awards is a huge honour and it means that I am part of a network of highly-respected communication practitioners who I can easily connect with for many years to come. What are you most looking forward to in terms of this year’s Awards? Anyone that has come across my #PrismYoungJudge entry tweet knows that I couldn’t attend the awards last year so I can hardly contain my excitement as we approach the gala event. The entire experience has been incredible but I am really looking forward to meeting the people who are leading the way in communication and PR.
For the past 10 years I have been running and developing childcare and youth development projects. I can confess it is not an easy passion and task to take own, sometimes it hurts, depresses one's spirit but, at the end it brings joy and enlightenment when I see the children and youth under our care growing into responsible beings. Given their social and everyday challenges they have been grown. I'm glad to have witnessed within this life journey that no matter how challenging or hard it is within most of our societies, if our children and youth are given a proper foundation that will instill positive knowledge, wisdom, skills within a healthy competitive environment, they can grow into responsible beings and help with restoration and growth of a healthy society, environment and economy
Some of us are trying from afar, we fall, get up and go forward to building a generation that gives a hand to each other, shaping the children to stay away from pregnancy, helping them to understand that pregnancy can be done at a later stage. As they already know, the aim is to make them understand, so they can stop taking that ticket to poverty, closing opportunities from as early as finishing secondary school. Once the seed is planted, they will be each others motivators & send the elevator down. As hard as it is, It is possible that is why I am working on it. Keep up the good work.
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Ubuhlebethu cares for, nurtures and develop children and youth in need, in order for them to become balanced, well-adapted and independent adults. We researched and collect data of all OVC’s including those infected or affected by HIV/AIDS in our Community with the hope to bring awareness and their existence to the Community and Professional services. We wanted to see these children receive three balanced meals each day, and to attend local schools, we have provided them with school uniforms, sports equipment and casual clothing, we have assisted them to receive medical and dental attention as well as therapeutic and counselling services. Training in basic life skills, encouraged them in participating in sports and recreational activities. Education, information, training, coaching and mentoring on HIV, TB & STI prevention through sport, arts & culture platforms and individuals. We believe that the children are the future of our nation and we are grateful that we can serve the children of East London by providing a place where they can receive loving care and become well-adjusted, productive citizens of our country. As Ubuhlebethu we have endeavored to create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice through our interventions.
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