Youth Engage the Community of De Doorns in dialogue

On the 7th of September 2019, Africa Unite in partnership with Jesuits South Africa held a community dialogue in the small farming community of De Doorns at Nomthandazo Creche.

The dialogue was attended by community leaders, farmworkers, the youth and foreign nationals. De Doorns is under Breede Valley district municipality and it is 139 km away from Cape Town City. It is the centre of export grape growing region surrounded by over 200 table grape farms, and therefore the main source of income of the community is farming.

The farmworkers who form part of the community are drawn from the coloured, IsiXhosa speaking people, foreign nationals mainly from Lesotho and Zimbabwe.  In the past, the area has had several protests by the farmworkers for wages and working conditions which was followed by looting of shops owned by foreign nationals.

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Human Rights Facilitators in conversation with the youth and other stakeholders of De Doorns

The purpose of the youth-led dialogue was to get insight into the issues of the community and recommendations that can be used to address the challenges faced by this community.  This dialogue is part of our community conflict mediation process, which is based on building the grassroots capacity of a community in conflict, building tolerance and inclusive communities. Furthermore, this dialogue took place at the backdrop of the current Gender-Based Violence, Xenophobic Attacks and looting against foreign nationals in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Richards bay which has so far claimed 12 reported deaths.

Our youth human rights peer educators already conducted numerous human rights information sessions in the area followed by a community assessment.

During the dialogue, the community raised several issues of concern.

Below are their concerns according to different categories and some of the proposed solutions:

HEALTH ISSUES: Most of the people recognised that the clinic environment is not friendly especially if you are not Afrikaans speaking. There is one doctor who treats all the community members who often does not run medical tests to diagnose patients instead, he diagnoses patients by looking at them and informs them to go back to work. To complicate matters, the nurses call the patients according to their sickness or chronic illnesses in front of everyone.

Proposed solutions

  • a community member present who is already part of the concerned group will have a meeting with the clinic management on Monday, 9th of September 2019. Based on the outcome of the meeting she will report to the current structures so that further engagement can commence with various stakeholders.
  • The community must set up a community health forum to monitor and address community challenges with the clinic

LABOUR ISSUES: The recruitment process is based on the supervisor’s nationality, race or group e.g. If the supervisor is from Zimbabwe, he will only recruit workers from Zimbabwe or if it’s a coloured person who is the supervisor, they will only recruit workers from the coloured community etc. A person who is not part of the community of the supervisor will then need to bribe the supervisor to be able to get work. This issue has previously created serious unrest in the community.

Majority of the farmworkers do not know their rights and there is no labour union in the area. The farm owners take UIF from the migrant workers which they know they will never claim it.

Proposed solutions:

  • Africa Unite will liaise with Trust for Community Outreach and Education (TCOE) to bring Commercial Stevedore Agricultural and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU) so that they can start to work with farmworkers in the area. Furthermore, Africa Unite will also liaise with Women on Farm.
  • Africa Unite will intensify its work on human rights awareness in the area with different groups.
  • The current department of labour office in the area is inactive, Africa Unite needs to explore how to engage with the different stakeholders.
  • Africa Unite needs to follow up with Deputy Minister of Land and Rural Development as per last engagement with the community which he had with the community of De Doorns.
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Youth listening to their peer voicing youth issues

YOUTH ISSUES: If a child turns the age of 18, he/ she is asked to leave the farm. However, if they want to remain they are obliged to work on the farm. On choosing to stay they are required to pay rent the same as their parents. A young person who chooses to leave then has to find their own material to build a shack for him/ herself outside the farm. The consequences of this are that these young people are then exposed to numerous social ills such as teenage pregnancy, crime and substance abuse. However, it is important to note that 70% of the community is comprised of young people. There are no job opportunities and farming remains their only option. Furthermore, there is a lack of infrastructure for young people to carry out any other activities.

Proposed solutions:

  • This structure must engage the relevant authorities at the municipality to explore ideas of building a Youth centre in the area.
  • Africa Unite needs to continue with human rights education with the Youth in De Doorns
  • This forum must explore the possibility of establishing a strong youth forum elected from the grassroots.
  • Africa Unite needs to extend its parenting skills workshops with the parents of the youth.
  • The community needs to liaise with the councillor so that he can use his authority to look at ways to engage with Shebeen owners about the time to open and close their shebeens.
  • This forum must engage other stakeholders to establish a community policing forum.

SERVICE DELIVERY: Community members do not know the role of the ward councillor and the councillor is always unavailable therefore community seem not to know what the ward councillor is busy doing. During different protests, the community always turn their anger in looting foreign nationals owned shops.

Proposed solutions:

  • The community need to be taught socio-political navigation to understand the roles of the local government structures.
  • Africa Unite needs to continue its work of human rights especially on the rights of migrants and refugees

COMMUNITY RELATIONS: although the different groups are living in one community, there is no social interaction amongst them. Furthermore, there was a complaint from the community that foreign nationals within the community often isolates themselves from the rest of the community. The migrant community is not well organised to ensure that they are able to interact with the rest of the community stakeholders.

Proposed solutions:

  • Foreign nationals need to be motivated so that they can actively be part of the community
  • In order to build relations among the different groups, the community must identify common activities they can do together such as sporting and cultural activities etc.
  • The migrant community must organise themselves into an organised structure

Everyone present was thankful for the dialogue, the former counsellor said that this dialogue comes at the right time where the country is in crisis and it also opens a way of following up on the previous engagement with different stakeholders that was held during the last farmworker’s strike.

CONCLUSION

In order to follow up on the above issues and proposed solutions raised, an interim committee of seven people was formed to work closely with Africa Unite.

De Doorns Community

De Doorns Community dialogue group picture

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BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER MOVES MOUNTAINS.

Heritage Day Hike

Heritage Day is a holiday celebrated in South Africa on the 28th September to celebrate the rich history, culture and diversity in the country. The aim of the day is to unite and motivate the citizens of South Africa to remember their roots and embrace their heritage. 

Africa Unite celebrated this auspicious occasion with the Africa Unite School Club (CPT) by hosting a Heritage Day hike which started from Newlands forest to Rhodes memorial in Rondebosch, Cape Town.  On the day we had 42 learners from Masibambane Secondary School, Heideveld High School, Dr. Nelson Mandela High School and Hector Petersen High School, who were accompanied by 10 Africa Unite team members and volunteers. We had the assistance of Andile Nqoko from South African Education Project (SAEP) who advised on the best routes to go through and lead the hike for us on the day.

The purpose of the hike was to enable the learners to gain exposure to the different sites in Cape Town and to enjoy the beauty of the city that they were not often exposed or provided the opportunity to. A hike was chosen, as hiking tests an individual’s strength and self-persistence, while simultaneously enabling them a moment to meditate on their perspective of the world and themselves. Many of the learners had never been on a hike before and they did not know what to expect or how to come accurately prepared, this was seen through the attire some the learners came to hike in such as jeans and skirts.

AUSC 2019 at Newlands Forest

Newlands Forest is a conservancy area on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, beside the suburb of Newlands, Cape Town. It is owned and maintained by the Table Mountain National Parks Board, along with the City Parks Department of Cape Town. The route we chose to take was from Newlands forest, up to blockhouse and down to Rhodes memorial. The hike took approximately 4 hours due to the short breaks we had to take in between to allow the learners to catch their breath, take pictures and enjoy the scenery.

The hike was a challenge mentally and physically for many of the learners, due to their lack of consistent exercise and experience in hiking. In fact, many of the learners were struggling to continue moving forward, and were constantly inferring about how much longer it would take to get to the top. A few learners were struggling a bit more than others but with the moral support of their peers and the marshals motivating them to push forward, every learner managed to make it to the top at Blockhouse and to the end of the hike at Rhodes memorial.

AUSC member with new AUSC friend, Ruby.

The most memorable moments during the hike started in the taxi on the way to the hiking spot where the learners were harmoniously singing together in unison. It was incredible to witness how talented the school club learners are and how beautiful they were able to sing together. Additionally, regardless of how tired the learners were during the hike, once they got to the top they were all really excited to see the views of the city and also to see how far they had hiked up. They all spread around and started taking multiple pictures together and many even tried going further up despite how tired they appeared before arriving to the top. It was a pleasure to see how difficult it was for the marshals to get the learners to agree to go back down due to their desire to stay longer and enjoy the view and taking pictures of themselves and the scenery.

The feedback we got from the learners was very positive, despite the length on the hike and at times the difficulty of the route, learners commented that they enjoyed the hike and wanted hiking to be a consistent activity in the program. They stated that it was great exposure as they had never been to Newlands forest before and it was a great experience for team building.

AUSC 2019 Leaners hiking to the Block House.

Recommendations

  • Make hiking a monthly or perhaps bi-monthly event with the kids.
  • Future hiking trips should be shorter in length and match the level of fitness of the learners.
  • Learners need to be fully explained the way in which to prepare accurately for a hike, such as the right clothes to wear and the importance of bringing enough water.
  • AU should hold other team building activities outside of the office that permits the school club members to be outside as well as learning and experiencing new things.
  • The learners need to be constantly reminded to take advantage of their surroundings and enjoy the moment instead of focusing on the end destination.
Heritage Day Hike with AUSC and AU volunteers.

Thank you to the schools and parents who allowed our club members to join us on the hike, as well as to Andile Nqoko lead the hike.

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Global Climate Change Strike pioneered by the Youth!!

On the 21st of September 2019, Africa Unite participated in a global strike on Climate Change. The strike took place around the world, including participation from 15 our countries in the African continent with strike action from Nigeria, South Africa, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Mauritius, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Reunion, Madagascar, Namibia, Rwanda, Niger, Djibouti to even Kenya. This was the 3rd Global strike on climate change following the first strike which was inspired by a Swedish student who started striking solo each Friday in 2018. Since then there have been many marches and strikes, but none as big as this one. Vox declared that there were 2500 climate change events in over 150 countries. On the 20th of September, many marched to Cape Town parliament for the Climate Change strike, including the high school children from Africa Unite’s School Club program. The kids seemed to have enjoyed it for the most part and it was a great way to get the youth motivated to make a change within their community as there were discussions and artistic acts on the issue.

Western Cape Climate Change Protest.

In preparation for the climate change strike, our Africa Unite School Club’s partnered with hosted Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) to conduct sessions that aimed to inform AU’s high school students of the current environmental crisis. It covered topics such as those who are major contributors to global warming, the impacts of global heating, what global heating is, the injustices of climate change and what the youth can do to disrupt this current climate catastrophe. The students responded positively to the sessions and many felt empowered to place their energy in bringing the change they wish to in their future.

The purpose of the sessions was to work with teenagers from diversified schools to capacitate the youth on becoming leaders in the movement against climate change. Climate change affects the most vulnerable, and the youth living in the townships whose voices are often marginalised need to be heard regarding the topic. The solution needs to eliminate the inequalities that affect the most vulnerable.  Therefore, creating a space for participation from students in these areas will increase the diversity of the movement, meaning the solution will be more inclusive and acknowledging.

After the release of the 2018 Inter Governmental Panel of Climate Change, a report from the leading climate scientists stated that we only have 11 years to make urgent changes to the current way we participate in a society that is not considerate of the enviroment. If we continue at this rate, burning fossil fuels, the world is on its way to a disastrous increase of temperature at 3 degrees Celsius. According to the Climate Home News the reports summary is as follows:

  1. “The world has already warmed by 1 degree Celsius since pre-industrial times due to human activity. On current trends, it is likely to pass the 1.5 mark between 2030 and 2052. Earth is warming faster than the oceans and the Arctic is warming at 2–3 times the global average rate.
  2. There is a time lag between greenhouse gas emissions and their effect on the climate. This means the world is warming and the sea level is rising.
  3. We will only see more heatwaves, drought and flooding.
  4. Sea levels are expected to rise 10cm higher this century. This exposes an extra 10 million people to climate change effects like coastal flooding which causes saltwater to contaminate drinking water supplies.
  5. Those who will be most affected are unfortunately not part of the major greenhouse gas emitters. Meaning global heating creates injustice as those unable to resourcefully deal with the impacts are ones who experience the most damage.
  6. The global heating also expands the range of disease carrying mosquitoes which means more people could potentially get infected by malaria.

The anticipated catastrophe of climate is a threat to all vulnerable communities as there will be more climate-change refugees, scarce resources, food insecurity, droughts and increased natural disasters.

Recommendations:

Just a few years back, Cape Town experienced one of its most severe droughts. An inequality of resources we further embedded as only those were money could afford Jo Jo tanks and could put in the infrastructure to deal with the water crisis. Not engaging with the pending climate emergency would be neglectful to human rights. Therefore, recommendations are:

  • To empower the youth with continued education and opportunities to engage with the topic of Climate Change.
  • To support students in supporting sustainable solutions in their schools and communities such as initiatives where more Jo Jo tanks, solar panels, trees and community gardens are installed.  
  • To get the youth more involved in activism that addresses the Climate Change issue as well as raise awareness around the severity of it and the injustices of Climate Change.
Some of the AUSC learners after the protest at South Africa National Parliament.

We would like to thank AIDC’s for the multiple lectures they delivered to our AUSC’s and we are hoping to see various climate change awareness campaigns from our learners.

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Women’s Month Turns into a Time of Mourning

Press Release                                                                                                                                            For Immediate Release

On the 9th of August every year, South Africa commemorates the thousands of fearless women who marched in protest to the Union buildings in 1956. Historically, South Africa has designated the month of August to honouring all women who fought against the Apartheid regime. Over the years this month signifies the role of women in the struggle for freedom and society at large. Sadly, this month has been far from what it’s supposed to signify – “the fight for freedom by and for women.”

Minister of Women, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane stated that this August 30 women alone have died at the hands of their partners. Following all the violence against women, there has been an outcry over the devastatingly high levels of femicide. It is unclear whether the government really considers this a grave concern due to their long period of silence surrounding the public outcry. Nkoana-Mashabane said that the current violence against women reflected a society where there is a lack of respect, on part of men when it comes to treating women as equals.  Gender activists have asked the State to declare a state of emergency.

The widespread anger started with Meghan Cremer, 30 years old, who went missing on the 3rd of August when she left her place and was later found dumped in a sand mine with a rope around her neck. Following her death social media became active grounds for women to come forward, unite and speak of their experiences regarding gender-based violence. A Facebook group was created “SA Women Fight Back” which currently has 139 855 members. After the murder and rape of University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrhwetyana who went missing more than a week ago and was bludgeoned to death with a scale in Claremont’s post office, citizens have called for renewed calls of stricter action to be taken against perpetrators.

Other victims who got a lot of news coverage were Jesse Hess, 19 year old who was killed and raped alongside her grandfather in their home, Leighandre Jegels, 25 year old boxer who was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend, Janika Mallo, 14 years old, who was raped and found with her head bashed in her grandmother’s backyard, Lynette Volschenk, 32 years old, murdered and found with her body dismembered and Ayakha Jiyane, who was 16 years old and hanged from a tree allegedly by her stepfather. Her three younger siblings were also hanged that day.

The first week of September has been nothing but depressing. Thousands and thousands of women and men marched to Parliament on 4th and 5th of September 2019 to protest and raise awareness to government of the severe levels of gender-based violence South Africa has been facing. Activists are no longer tolerating the current state of affairs. The Commissioner for Gender Equality, Mbuyiselo Botha, emphasised that men need to be careful of the language they use around issues of women’s abuse. He stated, “The men must talk to other men, it is the men who will say ‘I will not socialise with you and I will not be part of your sexist jokes’.” This is necessary considering that the burden of gender-based violence has often been placed on the women victims and not the perpetrators. We as the youth of Africa Unite do not tolerate any form of violence, yet alone violence against women and children and believe that men need to be held more accountable for violating the rights of women in South Africa.

As an organization centered on raising awareness in communities on human rights as well as advocating for youth empowerment, our Africa Unite School Club Learners and Youth Human Rights Peer Educators in Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng have been actively taking a stand against the ongoing Gender Based Violence in South Africa. They have launched various Anti-Gender Based Violence Campaigns.  

Moreover, we demand that action is taken beyond President Ramaphosa merely adding his voice to what public outcries have been. We have heard many voices raised on the death penalty however we as the youth believe that is not going to solve the issue. Society needs to be educated from an early age on how to treat women with respect and dignity.

We as a country must remember that this form of violence did not end in August and has been endemic to our society for many years. Starting off the first week of September, we have already witnessed reports of women being violently killed and raped. South Africa is considered to have the highest rate of sexual violence cases in the world. Therefore, we as a youth empowerment and human rights organisation urge our government to take this matter seriously.

Date of release: 11 September 2019

Nthati Lesaoana                                                                                                                                      Phone: 081 333 7665  | Email: nthati@africaunite.org.za

 

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CALL TO THE PRESIDENT AND GOVERNMENT ON AFROPHOBIA

03 September 2019
Press Statement
Immediate release

We have been watching the violence and looting of foreign owned-businesses over the past few weeks across South Africa, first in KwaZulu Natal, Pretoria and now in Johannesburg with despair. We write as concerned Civil Society Organisation’s, (the African Diaspora and Africa Unite), about the state of affairs in the country and the absence of a voice that stands out conspicuously amongst the rest especially from government and the Head of State.

Mr President, it is our view that if the nation is not assured that the government and not criminals are in charge, a lot will be sacrificed. The continued unabated attacks on the lives and property of migrant communities without decisive action and guidance from the government and particularly the Head of State, is not only seen in mala fides, it is perceived to be sending a message that says let the people continue and accomplish that which government could not accomplish through its own hand.

We have seen over the years that xenophobic incidents and looting are often preceded by utterances by political leaders who say South Africa is flooded with migrants and blame foreign nationals for crimes and other illegal activities. These attacks Mr. President will destabilize the last hope of Africa, this is not what we want at all. We do not see that committed approach from this administration to deal with these Afrophobic attacks. We are further worried about the loss of lives with figures rising every day and more chaos with the looting of property belonging to migrants including the destabilisation of businesses and the whole economic system.

We are humbly asking Mr. President to help ensure that migrant lives matter like any other life.

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Africa Unite School Club Gauteng tackles Xenophobia during Anti-Xenophobia School Summit.

On Friday 23rd August 2019, the Africa Unite School Club in Gauteng hosted an Anti-Xenophobia School Summit in Midas building, Noordgesig, Orlando-Soweto. The summit was curated for the youth to share their thoughts on the ongoing xenophobia attacks which are crippling our nation and continent. The summit had participants from schools from Johanesburg; New Gate College & Fons Luminis Secondary School and Ekhululeni; Sjabulile High School; Eketsang High School; Vumbeni School, Poneng High School; Phumelela Combined School in Gauteng.

From the engagements of the day and fruitful discussion raised by the learners, the participants collaborated and drafted a press statement sharing their stance on the ongoing xenophobia attacks in South Africa which is as followers:

COMMUNIQUE: SOCIAL COHESION & ANTI XENOPHOBIA SCHOOL SUMMIT- SOWETO

On Friday 23rd August 2019, we learners of the seven schools in Johannesburg and Ekhululeni in the Gauteng Province were invited by Africa Unite and Crystal Horizons Youth Centre for a dialogue on Xenophobic activities taking place in our beautiful country. The summit took place at Midas building, Noordgesig, Orlando-Soweto.

  • Though we came to the summit with little information on migration but with a strong desire to learn as Human Rights promoters.
  • Prior to the summit, many of us  had some misconceptions, stereotypes and myths on foreign nationals living in our country such as that they are draining our public services and taking our parents and family members jobs; they are here to enjoy our democracy; they bring drugs and sell them as well as other criminal activities such as human trafficking.
  • After a extensive debates, training, work into groups and panel discussions with expert from IOM, Africa Unite, Amnesty International, CORMSA, South African Congress of Non-Profit Organisations- (SACONO) and together with a wonderful key note speech from Ms Lebo Chaka, CEO of Afro Visionaries who have travelled in more than 15 African countries and have experienced wonderful welcome from other African Countries; Mr Jay Eseyoma, a Nigerian businessman who left a good job in London to come and invest in South Africa with his South African wife.
  • We are glad that now we understand a little bit of human rights, reasons why people migrate and contribution of migrants to our country
  • Firstly we wish to categorically condemn act of violence and xenophobia against foreign nationals and mainly black. We say NO to Xenophobia in our country.
  • We are deeply concerned that we have been told lies all along about foreign national and it is so shocking that information such as those we received in this summit is lacking in the communities where we come from.
  • We are asking ourselves why the information such as this is not in our school curriculum (such as how African countries contributed to the liberation of our country from Apartheid; how many freedom fighters were hosted well and educated in other countries; how they travelled using other country passport)
  • We are so concerned that many people still believe that migrants hugely impact on their lives in a negative way as we were thinking before this summit.

In our discussions we all agreed that the way migrants are being treated in our communities is not fair and it is completely inhumane; it is against our constitution which envisions a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights. We have seen an increase in xenophobia and acts of hostility toward black Africans. For some their shops are looted repeatedly and this is done while police is watching; others are refused medical care and end up dying; others have to wait for months to get access to refugee centres and they are denied documentation by the Department of Home Affairs and they end up being deported to their country where they fled because of wars and other dangers.

We call for Migrants &Refugees’ human rights, including their economic, social, cultural, health rights need to be protected, promoted and fulfilled.

  • We thank organizers of this summit; this summit has changed us forever.  But we agree that we need more education on these topics such as social cohesion and peace building because one afternoon was too short. Nerveless that it was short, it provided us with some beneficial information which will help us to make a contribution at our schools and communities in raising awareness, providing an accurate understanding and knowledge to our families, classmate and communities where we come from; the message we got here need to be held by others as well.
  • We demand from political leaders and government that they move urgently to ensure human rights for all who are in the country is respected; we also demand political leaders to desist making speeches that fuel xenophobia and most case Afrophobia.
  • We call upon our politicians  to address social-economic  issues in our communities and stop blaming migrants for our problems of corruption, lack of service delivery.
  • We appeal to organizers of this summit that this project be  expanded  to other schools and townships.
  • We have agreed to form a coalition of young learners to promote human rights and social cohesion
  • We ask organizers to help us organize events at our schools and communities that promote Ubuntu such as sport with foreign nationals, debate clubs on the issues of migration and cultural events
  • We have resolved to use September as a heritage month to start activities that promote Ubuntu  and a peaceful march against xenophobia

Thank you to all the schools that participated; New Gate College, Fons Luminis, Sjabulile High School, Eketsnag High School, Vumbeni School, Poneng High School and Phumelela Combined school.

For more Information contact Mr Tebogo Maleke (Africa Unite Human Rights Peer Educator Johanessburg)

Cell: 0817000899

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KwaZulu-Natal Africa Unite School Club excel’s at Annual Leadership camp.

On the weekend of the 2nd to 4th of August, Africa Unite hosted their Africa Unite School Leadership camp for the school club in KwaZulu-Natal. The camp took place at Vuleka Trust Centre in Hillcrest, Pine Town.

During the weekend, we hosted our club members from Ikusasalentsha High School (Inanda), Kwadinabakubo High School (Molweni-Pinetown) and Lamontville High School (Lamontville) in KwaZulu Natal. Our school clubs are based in communities which are plagued by poverty, gangsterism, high rate of teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, lack of proper schooling infrastructure and poor basic service delivery; from textbooks delivery to water and electricity. These factors create an overall low academic work performance.

Africa Unite brought our young leaders together at Vuleka Trust Centre in Hillcrest Pinetown with a staff that ensured a successful training by providing a conducive and comfortable learning environment. The purpose of the camp was to provide a space for the youth to sit and engage with the issues which they are battling with at school and in their surrounding communities. They were also capacitated to understand their roles and responsibilities as cabinet members and parliamentarians of their respective clubs. After the training, the learners were tasked to come up with solutions to eradicate the social issues they are facing.

Africa Unite Facilitator welcoming the learners.

Moreover, the students hosted were those with passion to drive change at high school level, engage with the content that is geared towards problem solving, expand their knowledge of Africa Unite as well as Africa Unite School Club and to expand their Leadership skills. The aim is to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge so as to create change in their respective schools and communities.

Additionally, the camp exposed the learners to innovation, design thinking and how to apply action as a social change driver.

The training was facilitated and co-facilitated by a team that was active in their respective communities, who gave great insight, a combination of both expertise and lived experiences, who gracefully commanded respect and interactions from the students       

One the first day, the participants were warmly welcomed by Zenani and Hlengiwe from Vuleka Trust Centre, who offered great service and assured the participants of having a great stay at the centre.  

The training geared off in a showstopper of an ice breaker for driving critical thinking and emphasized the importance of participants to make effective use of listening as a skill to interpret the given instructions also provoking cognitive development.

Africa Unite Facilitator engages with the learners on Social Emotional Learning

After leaving the participants breathless with an interactive ice breaker, there was a dialogue pivoting around how we can shift our perspectives. Participants were then paired and asked to introduce themselves to the person they were paired with. They shared what they like about themselves, what they don’t like and what they believe people think of them. Following this, participants went back in the circle, where at random participants were asked to share what they know about the person being paired with.

Moreover, the learners were educated on the origins of Africa Unite and the School Club, so they could understand the work in which the organisation is focused on and the School Club program in greater detail. Following this, the learners broke into groups and worked on their problem tree, where the learners identified the hotspots they have in their schooling environment. The presidents of each clubs shared this with the rest of the learners and thereafter, day one was wrapped up.

Day two kicked started with a workout 6am in the morning for the learners to feel energised and get ready for the day. The official proceedings of the day began at 9am where the learners were showed a presentation on Good Leadership. The presentation outlined leadership characteristics and different leadership styles (democratic, autocratic, strategic etc). The learners were highly engaged during this, with the learners understanding that within their cabinet positions in the school club, they are of the same value as the cabinet members within the South African Government. When asked of what they understood about leadership after the presentation ,their responses were given as positively approaching problems, influencing others while knowing when and how to follow, considering doing things differently, and nurturing effective working relationships, contribute to a spirit of team work and cooperation and making appropriate decisions even under pressure. This activity tapped into understanding the different leadership styles; being autocratic-making decisions without consulting others. Following this, to further expand their understanding of the structure of the school club, the learners played a game called guess who. Participants were given the opportunity to read a card describing the functions of the cabinet and for the rest of them to guess which minister it is. This game allowed them to understand the structure of the cabinet, their functions and how they worked together.

Moreover, following their capacitation on their portfolios, there was a discussion held on how them as cabinet members and parliamentarians can curb the social ills they face in their schools and communities. Solution were thrown right in, from creating awareness campaigns and events to address these issues, having educational distributional materials, inviting different stage holders etc. More innovative or outside the script ideas ranged from having smoke detectors at school to alert school authorities on those who smoke on school grounds, random police raids during school for drug searches, having feeding schemes so those selling drugs to afford lunch. This was an inkling of the many innovative ideas which would help combat the social ills faced in schools and communities in KwaZulu-Natal.

In addition, to gage the knowledge the learners had acquired during a long day of training, the learners were separated into their schools and asked to present what they had learnt in the camp so far. The learners were highly innovative in their delivery, as some performed a poem and others a skit which depicted everything Africa Unite and the School Club program is dedicated to eradicating. At the end of the night, our participants from KwaDinakwakubo won the performances with an outstanding depiction of all they had learnt throughout the weekend.

Winners: KwaDinakwakubo High School

On the final day, our invited guest, Brian Mhlongo from Health Systems Trust who educated our members on public health care systems. He touched on the lack of privacy in public clinics and the lack of passion from the nurses which strips one from their right and dignity. To tackle this, health systems has developed the Chronic Central Medical Dispense, which is to aid chronic patients; especially the elderly, to collect their medication at Dischem, Clicks, Churches and local councillors. This is a system that the learners are going to educate their family members and community members about through their work within the school club. Thereafter, the learners then broke into their respective schools and drafted their year plan outlining the following: identifying the problem, plan an event/activity, identify month of event/activity, delegating the minister responsible and resources. 

Overall, the camp was successful, the learners were adequately capacitated and left highly educated on their roles and responsibilities of cabinet members and parliamentarians. Our leaders are now ready to tackle the social ills they have identified to be crippling their school.  

2019 KwaZulu-Natal Africa Unite School Club.

Africa Unite would like to thank Vuleka Trust Centre for their warm hospitality, as well as all the schools and parents who allowed us to work with such driven and bright learners.

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