On the 28th and 29th of April 2021, Africa Unite hosted their Africa Unite School Leadership camp for the school club in KwaZulu-Natal with 19 learners 12 females and 7 males. The camp took place at Hilltop Manor in Durban North. We hosted school club members, 8 from Ikusasalentsha High School (Inanda), 10 from Lamontville High School (Lamontville), and 1 from Northlands Girls High School (Durban North) in Durban, KwaZulu Natal province. These schools are located in communities that are plagued by the high rate of teenage pregnancy, bullying, substance abuse, and lack of proper schooling infrastructure, poverty, and poor basic service delivery; from textbooks delivery to water and electricity, and even lack of proper sanitation. These factors create an overall low academic performance and in some instances lead to school violence.
Succinctly, the main objective of the school camp was to capacitate the club’s cabinets to improve their leadership skills and effectiveness as agents of change. Moreover, it opened a space for young leaders to engage on issues they are battling with at school and in their communities. In addition, the learners were capacitated to understand their roles and responsibilities as cabinet members and parliamentarians. The camp in KwaZulu Natal was facilitated by one of our peer educators, Blessing Nyuswa, and the camp learners to be innovative, critical thinking, and how to take action to drive social change in their respective schools.
The learners were given the “what’s my why” worksheet to fill out for them to better understand what they are bringing to the group as they journey together to start an inspired team. From these, some learners highlighted that it was their first time to be exposed to such leadership platforms as the exercise helped them to clearly define and understand the value they were bringing into the group and what they can learn from each other. In addition, they elucidated the challenges they had in schools which intrigued them to pursue addressing them.
The learners had an opportunity to learn more about the origins of Africa Unite and the School program to understand the work AU does and how they can link their initiatives to the objectives of the school club program. The learners had the opportunity to identify the current school climate and they had to role-play the issues. The issues displayed included drug abuse, verbal abuse by teachers, littering, bullying, lack of sporting activities, to mention a few. In mapping their communities, the learners identified assets that can be used to address the issues faced by the school, which included sports grounds, community halls, libraries, and schools. They also went on to identify the hotspots in the community which includes, crime and substance abuse hotspots. Finally, they identified stakeholders which included, Department of Social Development, South African Police Service, Department of Education, Ward Councillors, teachers, learners, and the community at large.
The learners also came up with various projects they were to do in their respective schools to address the challenges they were facing. From these, they indicated that they wanted to start with a combined anti-substance abuse sports day (focusing on ball games like netball, soccer, cricket, etc). On a sporting day, they will also have a short dialogue and presentations to raise awareness of substance abuse. The other initiatives they are looking forward to doing included having programs focusing on promoting African cultures to learn more about other African countries, clean-up programs and capacity building on minute and report writing, and on how to plan an activity.
On another note, the learners were shown the presentation on good leadership which outlined the typologies and styles of leadership. This opened a discussion on how learners understood good leadership where they defined leadership and what it entails. Following this, to further expand their understanding of the structure of the school club, the learners played a game called guess who. The functions and responsibilities of the cabinet and for the rest of the ministers were presented to the learners so that they can well understand what is expected from them. This activity allowed them to understand the structure of the cabinet, their functions, and how they worked together. After the capacitation on their portfolios, there was a discussion held on how they can curb the social ills they face in their schools and communities. They come up with possible solutions to creating awareness campaigns and events to address these issues, having educational distributional materials, inviting different stakeholders.
In concluding the training, learners outlined how they were going to execute their projects in schools and those who will be responsible for each process. Both Lamontville and Ikusasalentsha decided to do a talent show which will embrace and expose youth talent while also fundraising for the school club. The Minister of Sport, Art, and Culture, and entertainment will be responsible for this project working together with the Minister of Finance, the Principal, and the RCL. They are planning to have this talent show on the 18th of June 2021 at the Lamontville High School Sports Ground. The activity will open a platform for young people to showcase their talent, and invite well-known artists, Department of Education, Department of Social Development, Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, other schools and raise funds for the school club. Posters and school Facebook pages will be used to invite people. In closing, learners were awarded certificates of completing the AU leadership camp of 2021.