Singamakhalipha Children Rewarded

Singamakhalipha, a Programme of Africa Unite based in Gugulethu Township has provided psycho-social support to more than 200 orphans and vulnerable children in the areas of Nyanga, Kanana and an informal settlement called Europe Township. The program intends to help children develop their resilience and coping skills so that they can face a wide range of social problems such as domestic violence, alcohol abuse, poverty, HIV/AIDS, gangsterism and school dropout etc.

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The children and parents celebrating the day by releasing baloons

To achieve its objectives, during this year 2016 the following activities were undertaken: Foundation Phase homework support, life skills programs, counselling, school holiday programs, child support groups and recreational activities (traditional dance, drama, art and sport). The programme also extended its services to the families of the children such as parenting skills, establishment of HIV/AIDS parents support groups and home visits.

We are slowly approaching the end the year and Singamakhalipha took this opportunity to honor its children and parents who took part in the above activities throughout the year. This was to encourage and motivate them to continue to be role models to other children and families. The event took place on Saturday the 26th of November 2016 at Elukhanyisweni Hall in Gugulethu. More than 70 people among them children, parents and guardians attended the event.

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The four winners of Foundation Phase showing off their medals and certificates with their parents.

The categories of the awards given to the children and their parents were as follows:

  1. the most disciplined children with the highest attendance in the activities
  2. the most improved children in the Foundation Phase Tutorial classes and,
  3. the most supportive family to their own children in the programme.

All the selected children and parents were rewarded with a certificate of achievement. Contrary to the other two categories, four most improved children under the Foundation Phase tutorial classes received a certificate and an additional medal. The parents and guardians were proud to stand along their children while they were receiving the certificates from Singamakhalipha’s Manager. There were singing, applauding and releasing of balloons to celebrate this special moment.

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One of the grandmother showing off the certificate of her grand daughter

This was a great moment for the children, parents and guardians as most of them left the hall with a smile on their face. They were also thankful to Singamakhalipha for this opportunity and agreed to continue to be ambassadors of the programme in their respective Townships. The event was concluded with a family lunch where the parents and children enjoyed.

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AU School Clubs – Anti Bullying Dialogue

Bullying in schools is a global phenomenon that has the potential to impact on children not only physically but also psychologically. In South Africa, countless children fall victim to bullying, harassment and abuse at schools. A myriad of constitutional rights are infringed upon when bullying occurs, and the problem is escalating. Recently in October 2016 two pupils from Groote Schuur High School in Cape Town where suspended, and another, from a Lotus River school, faced disciplinary action after their bullying video went viral.

As this problem escalates, Africa Unite high school clubs from 5 different townships in Cape Town felt that they could not be by standers and something needs to be done.

One of the learners from Simunye High School intervenes during an open discussion

One of the learners from Simunye High School intervenes during an open discussion

On the 5th of November 2016, the AU School Clubs came together in dialogue to tackle this challenge and develop recommendations that could be implemented in their respective schools. The dialogue was held at the Africa Unite offices and over 40 learners attended.

To begin the session the learners were told to explain what bullying is, identify the types of bullying in their schools and share if any of them had experienced bullying before. Due to the violent nature of their communities it was not surprising that most of learners witnessed and experience bullying so regularly,Bulling happens every day: We don’t know the difference between bullying and playing anymore”, said one of the learners.

The learners were then divided in 4 groups to identify the following:

  • The types of bullying which they have witnessed or experienced within their townships
  • Their feelings or emotions of bullying whether being a perpetrator, victim, by-stander or healer of bullying.
  • Who is to blame?
  • Provide an action plan to be implemented in their respective schools to address effectively the scourge of bullying

The groups had heated discussions around the questions above and several key issues were raised such as:

  • Bullying often occurs because of stress, family issues; peer pressure and conformity; stressful relationships and seeking power and authority especially among the older learners
  • Bullying makes them feel angry, relieved, emotionally distressed, sad, isolated, rejected, disgusted; scared of going to school. Cyber bullying was viewed as emotionally distressing.
Learners from different schools engaging in a group discussion

Learners from different schools engaging in a group discussion

The learners also developed their action plan which they intend to implement in their respective schools regarding the issue of bullying as follows:

  • Firstly, all learners from the 5 schools agreed to go back to their schools and inquire if there is an existing school policy on bullying. If not, they would lobby together with their authorities for one
  • Learners agreed that the school must stick to its polices; Learners should be disciplined – but it should be fair to all the learners and the community should be made aware because often the victim is followed outside the school premises for revenge
  • use of social media to campaign against bullies and develop more awareness campaigns and posters around the schools and urge communities to assist also because some of the problems start at home. The learners came up with the hashtag: #youcanbecoolwithoutbeingabully
  • Recruit peer educators or bully teams that can assist other learners that are facing many challenges including bullying
  • On orientation day for new learners, each learner must receive a code of conduct and recruited peer educators can assist to explain the policies, consequences and actions of being a victim or perpetrator of any form of bullying
  • They should have an anonymous box to inform the school if bullying is occurring
  • Develop and anti-bullying song to raise awareness and spread the message among all learners
  • Provide counselling for the perpetrators and the victim.
  • They also expressed that it is important to educate the younger grades upon bullying and distinguishing the problems from a young age to enhance the support in the future.
Cabinet members from Zonnebloem N.E.S.T Senior School, Masibabane and Simunye High school with the Bush Radio presenter after their stunning interview

Cabinet member from Zonnebloem N.E.S.T Senior School, Masibabane and Simunye High school with the Bush Radio presenter after their stunning interview

In conclusion, the learners were eager to follow up with the above recommendations in their schools and acknowledged that they cannot run away from reality that bullying is a problem and It will not be eradicated but can be reduced. After all was done the opportunity was then given to three cabinet members who had a chance to discuss more about the purpose of the dialogue and the Africa Unite Clubs a day before the event on Bush Radio. The 3 learners expressed their excitement of this life time experience of being on Bush Radio which is one of Africa’s oldest community radio station project based in Cape Town, South Africa with over 100 000 listeners.

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Leave No One Behind – Dialogue

On the 27th of October 2016, Africa Unite in partnership with African Monitor held a ‘Leave No One Behind’ (LNB) Dialogue on the implementation of United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This dialogue is part of the global campaign to strengthen the voices of marginalised and excluded people whatever their background, so that they can use the Sustainable Development Goals and the LNB agenda to challenge social barriers and hold decision-makers to account.

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Honorable Ms Newhoudt-Druchen addressing the participants

The dialogue was attended by 84 people drawn from various organisations working with marginalised groups in Western Cape such as Women and girls, Indigenous peoples, People living with disabilities, Trade unions, Young people, senior people, LGBTQI, Religious and ethnic minorities, Rural populations, farm workers, fishermen, Refugees and migrants. The dialogue was held at 6 Spin Street IDASA Cape Town.

The opening remarks were done by Honorable Mrs Newhoudt-Druchen, Alternate Member of Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration, as well as Performance Monitoring and Evaluation; Member of Portfolio Committee on Communications; Her speech was delivered in sign language alongside her interpreter. She largely encouraged all the marginalized groups present to stand up and raise their voices.

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One of the participants from Cape Town Association for the Physically Disabled (CTAPD) asking the Member of Parliament a question.

She gave her own testimony as a woman from a disadvantaged community who was deaf at an early age but managed to overcome many challenges and discrimination and ended up completing her University and even becoming the first deaf woman to be elected a Member of Parliament in South Africa. She mentioned that her role in parliament is to constantly make sure that the voices of marginalized people are taken in consideration in developing inclusive policies which need to be implemented by government. She mentioned that she is available for any follow up on the recommendations made during this dialogue.

Her speech was followed by a resounding applause from the participants indicating how the message touched their hearts. This was followed by a question and answer session between Honorable Mrs Newhoudt-Druchen and the participants.

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Group 3 engaging in discussions

The participants were then divided in 3 working groups in order to identify and discuss their challenges and make some recommendations for follow up. Since this dialogue in Western Cape was held simultaneously in Gauteng and Free State Provinces as part of the Leave No One Behind campaign in South Africa, all the challenges and recommendations will be  compiled and discussed during the final national dialogue before handing over to the National Government. Furthermore, the Leave No One Behind partnership is conducting consultation dialogues in other 30 countries where all voices collected will be submitted to the United Nations.

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Heritage Day: Youth Celebrating Diversity

 

September is recognized as Heritage month in South Africa: In order to celebrate this special month, on the 1st of October 2016, Africa Unite in partnership with Somali Association of South Africa and Life Change Center hosted a youth cultural diversity celebration at 6 Spin Street Restaurant in Cape Town.

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Our 2 young Mc’s of day: Yonela Khetsheza and Robynne Botha from Africa Unite electrifying the crowd

The event brought more than 105 youth and adults from different backgrounds and communities living in Cape Town to showcase their cultures.

This was done through various activities such as poetry, food tasting, traditional dancing, musical performances, singing and speeches. Different communities were invited to present their customs and cultures. Some of the communities who took the podium were: Xhosa, Somali, Cape Malay, Congolese, Cape Coons, Nigerian, Zimbabwe and Zulu. In addition, there was also a musical performance by the Nujum ul fugara naseed band from Lavender  Hill who sang in Arabic and English, as well as a group from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and opera sung by Mteto Mapoyi.

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Sinazo a youth Xhosa poet performing

One of the main guest speakers of the day was the Khoisan Chief Hennie van Wyk, who delivered an empowering and moving speech on the importance of today’s youth in preserving their cultural heritage, as well as learning about the heritage of others in order to develop understanding and perpetuate a harmonious existence. He mentioned that the Khoisans are the first offspring of Western Cape. He warned the youth of the potential negative consequences that come with urbanization and globalization as they may dominate and subjugate one’s own unique culture replacing it with the dominant global narrative and norms.

He encouraged everyone, but especially the youths to celebrate their cultural uniqueness

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Congolese team presenting their cultures

and to share it with the world. It is important to be proud of one’s culture and share it with others as a means to promote understanding, draw similarities between us and combat xenophobia. The chief concluded by quoting Marcus Garvey’s quote which says, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

The youth present and communities were very excited to be part of the event and had the opportunity to learn and understand the meaning of the various dress codes of men and women in African cultures. They also learnt how single men and women dress

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The Khoisan Chief Hennie van Wyk delivering the key note speech flanked by his royal guard

code differ from married men and women including different dress codes for various occasions and the various kinds of food eaten by different cultures.

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“A FAIR CHANCE”- FUNDRAISING FOR THE BRAVE WARRIORS

On the 18th of September 2016 Africa Unite (Singamakhalipha) hosted a fundraising event to raise funds and promote their Foundation Phase Tutorial classes. The event was held at Center For The Book in Queen Victoria Cape Town. Close to 50 guests came out to support the “brave warriors”.

Singamakhalipha children performing the drought drama

Singamakhalipha children performing the drought drama

The children of Singamakhalipha confidently performed drama, dance and singing for the guests and there were a few performances from upcoming artists such as African Indigenous Soul from Phillip and Marie Laure an intern from France.

The Foundation Phase Tutorials began as a result of our home work support programme in the afternoons with the children where we noted that children had not mastered the 3 basic R’s of education that is the ability to Read, write and aRithmetics. We then embarked on Foundation Phase Tutorial classes with thirty children who were identified from our programme. Most of the children selected are from informal settlements in Gugulethu and Nyanga who are in need of assistance through the basics of grade 1, 2 and 3 which is the foundation of all academic education. These classes have run

Part of the audience enjoying the children's presentations

Part of the audience enjoying the children’s presentations

for 8 months now at this event much was shared on the progress of the children and the project.

The event boosted the children’s confidence in their performance skills and their ability to speak in public as the guests sang along and applauded the children’s performances. Some funds were raised from this event and will go a long way in supporting the continuation of the classes.

We would to thank the entire guest for attending the event as their contribution is supporting our effort in giving the children a fair chance in education. We would also like to say a BIG thank you to Food Lovers Market located at St Georges Mall for providing refreshments for the day and making our day more colorful.

Marie Laure and Sarah Peigney performing a song which they composed with the children using waste material

Marie Laure and Sarah Peigney (French Interns) performing a song which they composed with the children using waste material

For more information on our Foundation Phase Tutorial classes or you if you are interested in supporting these classes please contact us on http://www.africaunite.org.za

Call us on 021 461 6551

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Simunye High School AU Club puts peer pressure on the spotlight

South African youth, as well as youth all over the world are facing a number of challenges, particularly when they live in conditions of poverty and disadvantages. Considering the very high levels of violence in this country, the effective treatment of violent youths is imperative.  Crime statistics in South Africa say that most of ‘youth violence’ is a result of either alcohol and drug abuse…or being bored and in most cases they indulge in this as a result of societal or peer pressure.

In order to tackle this challenge, on the 20th of July 2016, Simunye High Africa Unite’s School Club in Delft Township held its first school dialogue on peer pressure.

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Tasreeq Fereira vice president of the AU school club welcoming fellow learners who attended the dialogue.

The cabinet invited 3 experts on the topic as guest speakers (Delft South African Police Service (SAPS) representative, City of Cape Town Sports & Recreation Department representative and one youth motivational speaker from the University of Western Cape.  The dialogue was entirely facilitated by the learners themselves ie, vice president and the minister of social development. 73 learners from various grades attended this interactive engagement.

After welcoming the participants, the school club members (President, Vice-President, Ministers, and Parliamentarians) were enthusiastic to lead a quick icebreaker to ease everyone into the topic of the day: peer pressure.

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Constable Jacqueline Ruka of Delft South African Police Service (SAPS) giving her motivational speech on peer pressure.

To begin, the facilitator asked the participants to define peer pressure and its causes. All the respondents including the SAPS representative, who shared her opinion, mentioned the role of an external force (i.e. another person). The learners then developed their working definition of peer pressure as:

  • a social influence exerted to make someone conform to the expectations of the influencing individual or group.

To ensure that the participants understood “peer pressure,” they were asked to present 1 peer pressure cause and 2 examples on school level. The presenters were very motivational and even went beyond by sharing personal experiences and insights. The learners pinpointed a few causes of peer pressure as follows:

  • the desire to fit in as some learners are coming from very disadvantaged families. This makes them vulnerable to conformity as they try to be on the same level with others.
  • One learner, in particular, recognized that some female students were peer pressured into wearing shorter uniform skirts just to fit in.
  • The desire to find friend groups and friends also is another issue which was identified. Some groups have their own subculture, eg gangs, bullies etc. Hence in order to be one of them you have to act like them

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    Some of learners presenting their recommendations on addressing peer pressure

City of Cape Town Sports and Recreation Dept. representative then shared a few motivational words on the power of youth activism and encouraged the learners to stay on the right path by continuing to pursue higher education and not give in to peer pressure.

Many questions and comments were made by the participants and following these discussions the Club members assigned the participants to go in groups and develop recommendations to address peer pressure in their school.  Below is some of the recommendations:

  • There is need to develop or invite more positive role models that can inflict positive peer pressure on learners
  • The school administration should adequately address and support school initiatives that addresses peer pressure and other issues affecting the learners
  • More capacity building training should be conducted with learners in order for them to be able to make moral choices and become defenders at school level
  • creating learners support groups where those undergoing peer pressure could openly express themselves
  • More dialogues of this nature at school level are needed, not only for peer pressure but other issues that learners are facing at school level
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Learners engaging in a group discussion with the guidance of the SAPS representative.

To conclude, the club members assured the participants that these recommendations had created a working document for them because they would lobby various stakeholders who could assist on following up on the implementation recommendations.

The club members then thanked their 3 guests for their eye opening contributions and the learners for staying after-school and engaging in the dialogue.

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Mandela Day in Marikana Informal settlement

On the 18th of July 2016 Africa Unite in partnership with the Marikina Township local leadership in Cape Town hosted a community cleanup campaign to commemorate Mandela Day. Marikana is a growing township between Nyanga, Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha and Philippi.

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The state of sanitation in Marikana Township.

It has over 10 00 shacks but there is a serious challenge of water and proper sanitation as people still use portable toilets, environmental hygiene, housing, youth leadership etc. The event began with opening remarks by the community leaders who welcomed Africa Unite to Marikana and also spoke briefly about the purpose and importance of Mandela Day. The large group then walked through the settlement and picked up trash that was scattered around. The group attracted the attention of many community members including children

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Andile Klaas Africa Unite peer educator from Marikana addressing the community after the clean up campaign.

who then joined in to help collect trash.

After picking up the trash, everyone returned to the church for concluding remarks and reflections.  One of Africa Unite’s peer educators living in Marikina then expressed his gratitude for Africa Unite. He also challenged the youth of Marikana to step up just like other youth in many townships that are initiating and implementing positive change in their own community. One of the community leaders also spoke and thanked Africa Unite for organizing the event and acknowledged that the youth must take initiative in order to continue developing the community. Finally, Africa Unite staff gave the community a word of encouragement urging them to be active and not only to wait for Mandela Day in order to do something good for their community or fight for their rights. We expressed our willingness to develop the relationship with the community of

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Some of the Marikana community members and Africa Unite team taking a group photo next to a hip of waste bags full of trash they collected.

Marikana, however they also were encouraged to challenge service delivery institutions especially on water and sanitation because the people are living in dire conditions.

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