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Mentors are professionals from South Africa, France and other countries who volunteer to spend time with you and provide academic and life support and guidance.


Sizanani is an independent mentorship programme. Last year (2022), we had 107 mentors who mentored 137 mentees attending the Ikusasa Lethu program at St Mary’s School in Waverley. Our team includes Valérie Hirsch (Director), Kimberly Mkhushulwa (Manager), Robyn Knowles (Ikusasa Lethu Director) and many volunteers (see: Our Team).

What is a Mentor?


  • To meet me (or have at least a chat on the phone or email) at least once a month;

  • To encourage me to believe in myself, shape my future and improve my school marks;

  • To help me with career guidance, communication skills and research skills using the internet;

  • To provide advice whether it is personal or school-related;

  • To invite me on individual or collective outings. Some collective outings are organized by Sizanani. Unfortunately, mentees cannot join these collective outings if their mentor is not available to come along.

What Can I expect from a Mentor?

“I enjoyed the camp at Magaliesburg because I drew a tree on which I was able to list all my interests, strengths and goals for this year.”

“He taught me to communicate with people and showed me to believe in myself. He told me the story of his life and inspired me to do good things in life.”

"Mentors help us gain our confidence and make us aware of the right career choice. I had a really good relationship with my mentor and I think it will last, as she really knows me well. The person I am today is because of her and her advice."

What the Mentorship Programme is NOT


The mentorship programme is NOT meant:

  • To help you with your school work

  • To provide any financial assistance

  • To solve your personal challenges


Mentors can listen to your personal or family challenges but they are not trained to do counselling. If you need specific help (physical abuse, bullying, family issue, rape, contraception, pregnancy), ask your mentor to contact the Sizanani managers and you will be referred to people who will be able to help you. You can also talk to the Ikusasa Lethu Director, Robyn Knowles, who is also a life coach, working for a centre in Alex.


  • Write a motivation letter and fill out a questionnaire (download here).

  • Mentees are selected according to their motivation letter, family situation, marks and attendance record (for Grade 11).

  • Even though the number of mentors is increasing, we unfortunately do not have enough mentors to guarantee all learners attending Ikusasa Lethu get one.

  • Mentors choose their mentees among Grade 8 - 11 learners on a Saturday afternoon after classes at St Mary's. A session is organised every month from February to June (September if we get enough new mentors). If you are selected to meet new mentors, you will have a chance to present yourself and talk to a few mentors, who will choose one or two learners among yourself.

  • If you have not been chosen by any mentor, you will get another chance by being invited to the next two meetings with new mentors.

How Can I become a Mentee?


Mentors are professionals who take precious time on their weekends to help you. They are all volunteers (not paid). It also depends on you to make the mentorship relationship a success.


The mentor might be disappointed and drop you if:

  • You are only interested in outings;

  • You do not reply to your mentor’s messages/calls and do not get in touch with him/her for a long period;

  • You change your phone number and do not communicate it;

  • You arrive late for an outing or meeting and do not advise and apologize;

  • You do not show your school marks to your mentor and any will to improve your marks;

  • You do not do any research on your future studies or desired career;

  • You do not show any interest in your mentor’s life;

  • You do not show any appreciation for what’s your mentor is doing.


The mentorship relationship is not a “one way” relationship (mentor to mentee) but both ways. The mentor also has a lot to learn from you, if you come up with questions and ideas and nurture the relationship!

How a Mentorship Relationship can fail

“I found it difficult to give away my weekend time when their part of the contract was not fulfilled as their attendance at St Mary's was poor. She is happy to come to outings and enjoy a free lunch, but I still need to see effort and motivation.” (mentor)

”Though at times my mentee felt entitled (expected money) but such issues were easily resolved and we had constructive engagements. The main achievement was getting him to see beyond his current circumstances, and aiming for more in life, as in what to aspire to and how to achieve that.” (mentor)

How to Make the Mentorship Relationship a Success
  • Show your exams results immediately when they come out to your mentor.

  • Speak English when you are with a mentor.

  • Show interest: ask questions about your mentor’s life, career and culture.

  • Be on time for an outing and say “thank you”. And communicate in advance

  • Know your goals in life and use your mentor to achieve them


Mentees with tutors:

- RESPECT THEIR TIME: don't arrive late for session, Your mentor has to pay the tutor every hour wether you are late or don't show up. If you can no longer come on the agreed time, send a message or call to inform them in advance.

- PREPARE: Have questions in advance, do not be shy with your tutor, show interest and enthusiasm. Provide constant feedback to you mentor

- BAD BEHAVIOUR: This gives a bad name to the whole organisation, as mentors spread the word about mentees who are not serious about education and mentor want to pull out of the programme. Next year, learners who show that they are not serious about the mentorship programme and the tutoring will be excluded from some of our activities (like companies visits and any funding from Sizanani once those learners are at varsity)

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