This year’s Africa Unite School Club Camps were different from the previous years because of Covid-19 restriction, but it didn’t deprive us from having fun and enjoying a fulfilling experience. From Friday 23rd April to Sunday 9th May, the Africa Unite School Club team hosted three Leadership camps at Tshisimani Bertha House in Mowbray, Cape Town followed by our final camp at Ashton Public Combined School, a rural town two hours outside of Cape Town. 

Instead of hosting one big leadership camp for all WC schools, the team had to shorten the 4-day program to a two day capacitation workshop without an overnight stay, to avoid having super spreader events. Each “camp” brought together cabinet members from three different schools to keep the overall number of participants below 25. With this strategy, AU was able to successfully capacitate 60 learners from all our partner schools.

1. Camp: Gardens Commercial High School, Princeton Secondary School (Mitchells Plain), and Dr. Nelson Mandela High School (Nyanga) 

2. Camp: Rosendaal Secondary School (Delft), Hector Peterson FET College (Kraaifontein), and Salt River Secondary School

3. Camp: Masibambane Secondary School (Kraaifontein), Heideveld Secondary School and Portland High School (Mitchells Plain)

4. Camp: Ashton Combined Public School (Zolani, Langeberg District)

Leadership and teambuilding

The objective of the annual School Club camps is to sharpen learners’ leadership and communication skills. It is also a space for learners to discuss important issues in their schools and communities, and collectively come up with solutions that help them drive positive changes in their surroundings. Furthermore, they get to know and to different strategizing tools they can use to organise their projects and events. We were amazed by inspiring groups of young leaders!

Learners from Portland High School presenting their Community Map.

First day: learners getting to know each other, their communities and Africa Unite

When arriving, the learners were given the “What’s my Why” worksheet to fill out before doing some getting to know each other’s games and explaining why they individually chose to join AUSC. The following activity was “What’s Our Why”, for them to reflect on their purpose as a team. After that, Akhona Madikane, School Club facilitator, explained what Africa Unite is and why it exists which helped to connect their involvement in AUSC to a bigger vision. Akhona also addressed the issue of bullying at schools and the learners thought of reasons, consequences and solutions for this. Subsequently, they did an activity to identify the current school climate at their respective schools. It started with a mental walkthrough of a typical school day, after which they had to grade different areas of their schools such as Support of Diversity, Teaching Quality, Student-student / Student-Adult / Adult-Adult Relationships as well as physical and psychological safety. As a team, they then had to determine the most favorable and least favorable areas at their school to get an idea of what were the most urgent things to change. 

After lunch, the learners were invited to express their creativity by developing a role play on one to three priority areas they wanted to change in their school as well as read out their mission statement to everyone. Then it was time for some Community Mapping where learners had to geolocate the stakeholders and hot spots near their schools. Day 1 ended with an activity called the Africa Unite Idea Bank, where learners got tasked to gather at least twenty ideas for possible projects, without any limit on feasibility. This activity stimulated creativity and prepared everyone for the next day.  

Second day: precising an action plan for each Africa Unite School Clubs

During the second day, learners were given practical tools on Project Planning Basic, including how to organise a successful event, how to raise money and how to recruit more members. After receiving the theoretical input, it was then their turn to put this knowledge into practice and consider at least five projects from their AU Idea Bank that they want to organise for 2021. Each school club got tasked to develop an Action Plan for their first project and present it to the group to receive feedback. After lunch, each school club drafted a Year Plan summarizing the name of each event, the person responsible, the possible stakeholders and the date. Feedback was given after each presentation. Some really interesting and innovative projects came out of this, such as giving talks in different classes on the importance of using LGBTQI sensitive personal pronouns such as they/them. Others saw the need to fundraise and visit local orphanages to show the kids some love and attention. Day 2 was also the occasion to present AUSC’ other Programs such as the Youth Reporters Program, Career Guidance and the Social Emotional Learning Forum. 

Learners from Masibambane Secondary School presenting their Year Plan.

Highlights: role playing, engaging debates & special visitors

Since different camps were held, some particularities emerged from each one. For example, during the first camp learners had the opportunity to watch a play on immigration and during the third camp engaging debates on feminism and the use of gender pronouns arose. We also welcomed special visitors throughout the different camps, such as Mr. Mavovane, Principal of Hector Peterson High School, Mr. Zoe Nkongolo, director of Africa Unite, and Qureisha Nagdee, SA Local Programme Coordinator for Dreikonigsaktion (DKA), one of Africa Unite’s funders.

Learners were able to give feedback at the end of each camp. They enjoyed the combination of educational and physical games. Indeed, the camps were driven by activities which were always related to leadership and communication skills (La Diligence, Spot the difference, Leadership qualities, Think outside the box…). Some of the learners told us that they have learned a lot in terms of leadership, stating in particular that a leader must lead but is not a boss, that a person must also know how to delegate the work and have a good support system. They liked working as teams, even if it can by time be challenging it is something that they will encounter in other social interactions in the future. 

Proactive groups with large horizons

All in all, those young leaders formed dynamic and preemptive groups who are now ready to endorse the motto ”be the change you want to see” in their schools and communities. They are creative, engaged and full of ideas. We are awaiting with pleasure the implementation of all their projects.

Thank you to all the learners who were part of Africa Unite School Clubs Camps of 2021, and congratulations, keep up the good work! Those are the future leaders of South Africa! We are looking forward to seeing them at our future events and follow up on the progress of their projects.

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