The launch of Star for Life
In a colourful programme the 2000 strong audience at Lethukathula High School was treated to a vibrant demonstration of the visionary and inspirational principles of the Star for Life programme. The new cluster of 8 schools will be sponsored by AB Volvo, Volvo Trucks and Volvo Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd.
Attending the launch were a number of dignitaries and representatives of a variety of organisations. The Swedish Ambassador to South Africa, Mr. Peter Tejler attended with his wife Lillemor. Other honoured guests included Alf Svensson, a member of the European parliament who represents the Swedish Christian Democratic Party. Star for Life founder and Chairperson, Dan Olofsson and his wife Christin were present and President and CEO for Volvo Southern Africa Anders Lindblad and his wife Margareta also attended. Mr Tommy Kohle the Senior Vice President Corporate Communications from Volvo Trucks, representing AB Volvo had travelled to Johannesburg for the event. Also present were the Star for Life Board Members from Sweden.
The headmaster for the school, Dr S S Ngobese was warmly welcoming; “We are fortunate to have Star for Life launch at our school in Ekhuruleni, we are inspired to think that every cloud does indeed have a silver lining,” he stated in his address to the crowd. “In the same breath I wish to recognise Volvo, as without your company, the Star for Life programme would not be sustainable at this time. I can see these two organisations making a significant contribution to the nation building of South Africa,” he added.
Alf Svensson made a succinct observation on the key to the programme; “All you need is a destination; if you don’t know where you are going that will make things difficult.”
Dan Olofsson pointed out the programme aimed at the school learners can only be fulfilled if the learner themselves as individuals embrace the programme; “It is all about you.”
Anders Lindblad added another dimension to the Star for Life programme and explained that it does not stop when the learner leaves school. Volvo has now identified a “Skills for Life “extension to the programme where top performing learners can apply for apprenticeships at the nearby Volvo business areas for training in life skills such a diesel technicians or administrative member of staff. “I would like to see as many of you as possible working for us in the future,” he said. He went on to explain that the school cluster established in KwaZulu Natal will continue to receive support. The Johannesburg school cluster project will commence now and in the future Volvo Trucks plans to roll out into a school cluster in the Cape Town area.
Two graduates of Star for Life program in KwaZulu Natal were flown up to provide testimony on their own experiences to the learners at Lethukathula High School. Zimisele Khwela, now a trainee diesel technician at the Volvo Pinetown branch, explained how he “grabbed the opportunity with both his hands,” and how happy he is in his new position. “Volvo is developing me and my dream is to spend more years with Volvo. One day I want to teach people how to work with trucks.”
His colleague Mbalenhle Mbuyisa told the gathered learners that the day she received the call to join Volvo was “the day that changed my life. I have now made the Star for Life code a part of my life and I am a part of the Volvo family.”
The Star for Life programme uses music, song and movements to convey messages and to motivate and inspire the learners. Many musical items were performed during the day’s programme including several pieces from the Lethukathula School choir just back from winning a regional choir competition. The Lethas Pantsula Dance Group performed and a traditional Zulu dance and dance group ‘Uskhwele’ put on a show to screams and the delight of the learners in the venue.
The final formality of the day was to move outside alongside the newly erected flag poles where the raising of the South African and Star for Life flags was accomplished whilst the choir sang the National Anthem.
Volvo and Star for Life are very proud of this worthy programme and are committed to its longevity in the South African school curriculum.