Kimba’s 2017 Young Citizen of the Year Samantha Shadwell has been giving back to the local community as a way of saying thank you for welcoming her and her family to the area when they moved from South Africa nine years ago.
In November 2008, Samantha moved to Kimba from Durban in South Africa with her parents and older sister, after her dad got a job at Pringles as a car mechanic.
Samantha, who is now 19 years old, said one of the main reasons the family moved, besides the job, was the safety concerns in the country.
“Life in Durban is very different to here, you could only see your friends behind locked gates, children couldn’t go out without their parents or an adult with them,” Samantha said.
“It was safer to climb over the fence to our neighbour’s house than going around the front.”
Even after moving to Kimba, Samantha still had fears when walking around the town, due to an incident that happened when she was in preschool that still affects her from time to time.
“When I was in preschool, we had gone down to a river with a teacher, when two men approached us with knives, to take the teacher’s phone,” Samantha said.
“It’s something that has stayed with me, even though I was only very young.”
Samantha said the whole community went out of their way to welcome the Shadwell family.
“The whole community really welcomed us, the Harvest Christian Church even had someone come around to our house the day we moved in,” Samantha said.
Since then Samantha has been inspired to give back to the Kimba community out of gratitude.
She is a student mentor at Kimba Area School and is a part of the school production committee, helping out with make-up and organisation backstage, as well as performing during the interval.
She has also helped out with the dancing group, babysits local children, has coached netball and basketball, and umpires for the Kimba Netball Club when she is not playing, as well as being a member of the Kimba Christmas Tree committee, which looks after the pageant.
“Volunteering and getting involved in a lot of things was a great way for me to meet people and get to know the community,” she said.
In 2015, Samantha was named the Eyre Peninsula’s Young Rural Ambassador, after helping with the show committee, which she said was a great experience.
“It was a great chance to people from other places and areas.
“I got to learn a lot of different things as a Young Rural Ambassador.”
Since migrating to Kimba, Samantha and her family have visited South Africa twice and are going back again next year.