Meet Teenager Hildegard Havenga.
The start of a new school year, in a new grade, or even a new school, can be quite challenging and even intimidating.You can make your first day, or week, easier with a bit of extra effort, planning, and advice from someone whose been through it before.
If there’s one person who is regularly exposed to new challenges and knows how to plan for the unknown, it’s the award-winning South African orator, speaker, writer, model, and actress, Hildegard Havenga.
This formidable fifteen-year-old from Pretoria is embarking on her Grade 10 year at Afrikaans Hoër Meisies, and aside from establishing herself as a social media influencer, she has a year full of speeches, debates, and performances waiting for her.
Because she is passionate about being a voice for young people and uplifting them wherever she can, she gladly shares some valuable tips to make the first day of the new school year a bit easier. According to her, it’s crucial to embrace your new circumstances with positive enthusiasm.
“See every year as a new opportunity to make your mark. Make it exciting for yourself by talking about all the new opportunities, friendships, and activities that await you,” she says. “Be prepared, and make sure everything is well-organised ahead of time. I also like to start with a neat room and desk. Say goodbye to the holidays by organising a social day just before school starts – it really helps.”
Starting at a brand-new school…
“Don’t rush into new friendships or groups too quickly – it may sound strange, but with the stress of making new friends, it’s easy to grab onto the first people who talk to you. But that might not be the right crowd for you. Try not to immediately compare the new with the old – things will be different but give it a chance. Sign up for new activities immediately and do as much as possible! Prepare yourself for stress – the unknown can be a bit frightening, but things like exercise and me-time can help with the transition.”
Feeling strange and completely out of place…
“The most important thing is your mindset… maybe those nerves are actually excitement and nothing else. If you’re positive about the unfamiliarity, you give yourself an immediate chance for growth and discovery. Start right away and find someone to talk to. Push yourself to do new things – don’t just stick to your old friends or things you know. If you step out of your comfort zone, you might just surprise yourself!”
Having sleepless nights about strict teachers and bullies…
“Move closer to the strict teacher or bully right away and start with a sincere smile. After all, they’re only human and might feel just as insecure as you. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment to try to understand the situation better. Also, try to understand why you’re intimidated by them so that you know what to work on. Focus on your goals and the positives, and don’t let other people’s behaviour get you down.”
Wanting to make good first impressions…
“Your secret weapon is a sincere smile. Make eye contact and keep your head up. Show genuine interest in people by listening carefully, not just listening to respond. When you genuinely care about others, you’re already establishing a positive connection. Follow up later on what you talked about. And just be yourself, don’t try to imitate someone else – only you can be you.”
Looking for an action plan for a successful year…
“Dream about the things that give you butterflies in your stomach. About the things you visualise in your head. Then break your dream down into smaller pieces that are more specific to the quarter or month you find yourself in. Write it down somewhere you can see it and then make a list of things you need to do to get closer to your short-term goals. Decide what is the most important to start with and what or who you need to help you with this. Talk to your parents or friends about this plan; it’s so important to feel that you have support. And then… when you reach certain goals, celebrate! Just remember, some dreams take longer to achieve than others. Sometimes there are disappointments on your path, but don’t ever give up.”
From a young age, Hildegard knew that her passion lies in entertaining and uplifting, and with her natural charisma, witty sense of humour, enthusiasm, and incredible work ethic, it didn’t take long for her to start achieving success.
Not only is she a national and category winner at various arts festivals, oratory and talent competitions, and Eisteddfods, but she has also participated in numerous fashion shows and had roles in various stage productions.
She is also affiliated with Steele Model Studios as a model, as well as Brümilda van Rensburg’s drama school, is regularly invited to auditions and has already done advertising work for various brands.
After school, she would like to study in Europe and is currently interested in homeopathy or dietetics, but if she has to stay in the country, Stellenbosch is her first choice.
This talented girl believes that balance and good time management are critical for success and that sufficient sleep, exercise, and me-time are non-negotiable for a healthy life.
Her goal for 2024 is not only to make the most of the time she still has in school but also to change lives.
“I want to empower youngsters and still be the kid my peers can identify with. After all I am a teenager myself. The plan is to use my voice on different platforms, like radio, TV, and the media, to show teens that they can support each other and that there is hope for the future. Even if I change just one life, it’s worth it, and I’m on the right path. My goal is to make everyone’s journey a bit easier by helping people understand how we think and feel,” she concludes.
A young upcoming, extremely talented South African orator, speaker, writer, model, and actress from Pretoria in Gauteng.
This versatile fifteen-year-old is currently a Grade 10 student at Afrikaans Hoër Meisies. She excels in orators, debate, drama and theatre, for which she has had formal training.
Hildegard is also affiliated with Steele Model Studios as a model and is regularly invited to auditions. She has also already done advertising work for various brands.
From a young age, she realised that her passion lies in entertaining and uplifting, and with her natural charisma, witty sense of humour, enthusiasm, and incredible work ethic, it didn’t take long for her to start achieving success.
Not only is she a regular national and category winner at various arts festivals, competitions and Eisteddfods, but she has also participated in numerous fashion shows and had roles in various stage productions, including Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty.
When asked about the girl behind the talent, she describes herself as an ordinary teenager who loves being active on various platforms and connecting with other young people in person as well as through the content she creates.
“I like to celebrate my achievements, but I also quickly put them behind me. It’s important to maintain focus and stay humble. The most important thing I’ve learned is that success cannot be defined by just one thing. It lies in the months and years of experience that allow you to grow as a person.”
In 2024, she hopes to establish herself as a social media influencer. Hildegard reveals that she wants to test the water first. She is excited to see where this adventure will take her.
Hildegard intends to enjoy the remaining time she has in school. Making the most of every competition and opportunity that comes her way. She also plans to hone her writing skills with a course or two.
Hildegards Future Plans
After school, Hildegard would like to study in Europe. She is interested in homeopathy or dietetics. If she has to stay in the country, Stellenbosch will be her first choice.
Hildegard adds: “I prefer a holistic approach aimed at the natural healing of diseases. I have never been a fan of traditional medical fields. One of my biggest wishes is that I can have a significant influence and role in the media. This, with working with and helping people.”
However, she feels privileged to be in a position from a young age to do what she loves every day and believes it’s part of her DNA to entertain and inspire people in her own unique way.
Leandie du Randt is her local role model, while R’Bonney Nola Gabriel stands out on a professional level. She has also had the privilege to work with prominent figures like Desiré Gardner, Christel van den Berg, and Brümilda van Rensburg, but would like to share the screen or stage with other inspirational figures too.
While she believes that everything happens for a reason, life has taught her that nothing worth having ever comes easy. Her dream is to be a voice for the youth on contemporary issues and enrich people’s lives, and she is already working hard at achieving this goal.
“I have never been afraid of new challenges and seize every opportunity with both hands. Talking and interacting with people brings me immense joy and I find fulfilment in knowing someone can benefit from the message I want to convey,” she concludes