Southdowns College High School student, Bernhard Van Der Walt, is calling on fellow young South Africans to share their perspective on current affairs. The seventeen-year-old used his time during lockdown to build and launch Liberty Report, an online news publication curated by the youth, for the youth. With a particular focus on uplifting marginalised groups, the platform aims to redefine the way young adults engage with politics, economics, and social justice issues.
“These issues are becoming increasingly relevant to youth through the social media we consume, but these platforms only allow for surface level engagement – often without adequate research and understanding,” says Bernhard. “Liberty Report provides reliable and informative articles on the world’s current affairs from the perspective of young people. By encouraging everyone to become a contributor on the website, it creates an opportunity for in-depth, independent study on the world’s current affairs.”
Featuring a broad range of articles on topics spanning politics, economics and opinion pieces, Liberty Report has grown from a team of 5 to 20 writers in a matter of weeks. With over 10 000 views and counting, the website has made an impact in both the local community and across the country by becoming a credible and relatable source of content for younger South Africans seeking a two-way conversation about the issues affecting them.
Bernhard teamed up with university admissions and mentoring consultancy, Crimson Education, to scale his initiative. “One of my challenges was balancing academics, hockey, and building the website. Amy, my Crimson ECL tutor, has offered me tremendous support and guidance throughout this journey including marketing the website and effectively coordinating the project with my peers. I learned a lot of new skills throughout the process, which have helped me at school and everyday life,” says Bernhard.
Beyond school, Bernhard aims to continue making a positive change in his community, country, and the world by studying politics, economics, international relations, or law at a top-ranked university. By making a side project out of his passion for current affairs, he hopes to stand out from other international applicants.
“Top universities are looking for candidates who show depth, are able manage academic pressure, and can demonstrate innovation even under difficult circumstances – such as the pandemic. Liberty Report is a great example of how a student can turn their passion into a project that benefits the community and improves their university application. With school and club-based activities, extracurriculars, competitions, and events being cancelled, this is one of the best ways to show universities what you can bring to campus,” says Rebecca Pretorius, Country Manager at Crimson Education.
Bernhard is encouraging aspiring writers and photographers with fresh perspectives or relevant stories to submit their work to be featured on the website. For more information, or to submit content, visit www.libertyreport.net.
Crimson Education is a global EdTech company which focuses on building the candidacy of high school students wanting to study at top-ranked universities in the United States, Candada, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and China. Through a team mentorship model, learners connect with admission strategists and tutors to assist them with the complex application process for overseas universities. Crimson, which launched in South Africa in 2018, offers regular information evenings and workshops around the country. For more information, visit www.crimsoneducation.org/za.
Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications
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On behalf of:
Rebecca Pretorius, Country Manager, Crimson Education