Talking, laughing, cheers and celebrations of over a 150 people, combined with background music, filled the Cape Town City Hall on the evening of the 28th of November, which was the venue for the 3rd Annual Africa Unite School Club Red Carpet Awards 2018. Learners from different schools greeted each other like their long-lost friends, and used their time before the ceremony starts to catch up with each other. As the night went by, you could feel the tension rising… Who is going to win the prestigious title of best ‘School Club of the Year 2018’?
The Annual Red-Carpet Awards were held in order to honour and acknowledge the learners who are part of the Africa Unite school clubs. In 2014, Africa Unite initiated School Club programmes with the slogan ‘My School is my Community’ with three focus themes – School, Environment and Community. The main objective is to capacitate and challenge learners to design and undertake their own activities in fostering a culture of learning and active leadership in their schools and communities. The awards are held to encourage and motivate our young change makers to continue their outstanding work in building safer and inclusive schools!
This year the Clubs have been established in 8 previously disadvantaged schools as follows: 6 in the Western Cape Province: Dr. Nelson Mandela High School (Nyanga), Rosendaal Secondary School (Delft), Masibambane Secondary School (Kraaifontein), Heideveld High School (Heideveld) and Portland High School (Mitchells Plain), 1 in the Rural areas: Ashton Public Combined School (Ashton), and 2 schools in Johannesburg: Fons Luminis Secondary School (Soweto) and Newgate College (Hillbrow). This year 7 cabinet leaders, 3 parliamentarians, matron/patron of the school club and parents of the children were invited from each school club in the Western Cape. Unfortunately, Ashton Public Combined School failed to attend at the last minute. From the two Johannesburg school clubs, both presidents flew in the morning to join and represent their school clubs.
During the course of the year, the school clubs undertook many activities, such as gender-based violence campaigns, anti-bullying campaigns, anti-xenophobia campaigns,
access to clean water and sanitation campaigns, extra classes, school and community clean-up campaigns, fundraising initiatives, soup kitchen for the needy learners and community members, old age and children’s home reach outs etc. Although each school club did many activities during the year, all the schools present on the night were tasked to present one best highlight of the year to the guests and other schools. The highlights picked by the schools varied from outreaches to children- and old age homes, girl empowerment campaigns, environmental activities and initiating an effective school feeding scheme.
After the presentations, the guests were shaken up by the young opera singer and Africa Unite Human Rights Peer Educator Mteto Maphoyi, who electrified them with three songs, and even got all the guests singing along
with him! Before announcing the awards, a guest speech was given by the 2017 Africa Unite school club best President from Masibambane who gave a word of encouragement to all the learners.
The most important part of the evening were the awards, which were given in 21 categories. First there were the individual awards for the best minister of environment, won by Portland High School – best minister of sports, culture and entertainment, won by Heideveld High School – best
minister of information and public relations, donated by the Department of Communication, and won by Rosendaal High School – best minister of finance, won by Masibambane Secondary School – best minister of education, won by Heideveld High School – best minister of social development , won by Rosendaal High School – best parliamentarian, won by Nelson Mandela High School, and of course best president, which was won by Masibambane Secondary School. The last category was ‘outstanding leader of the year 2018’, which had two winners this year, from Nelson Mandela High School and Portland High School.
The ceremony was attended by different stakeholders, partners and guests from various sectors, (government, NGOs, schools, private companies and churches) who were actively involved during the ceremony, by announcing the different awards. This contributed to the vibe becoming more enthusiastic and made the guests feel as if they are part of the programme also.
After that, we went to group awards in different categories: most diverse school club, won by Rosendaal High School – best fundraising school club, won by Masibambane Secondary School – best networking school club, won by Rosendaal High School – and last but not least, the most improved school club, won by Fons Luminis Secondary School.
Learners constantly got on their feet to cheer, shout, acclaim and applaud their own winning school club members, as they did for the other school club members. Sometimes they got emotional by the stories told, sometimes they took their moments of fame, and supported each other throughout the whole evening.
This year a couple of new awards were introduced, created to acknowledge some outstanding activities. The first category was ‘community support’ which was won by Nandi Dlamini of the Institute for Contemporary Research Africa ICRA, for her ongoing support for the school clubs especially in accessing old age homes. Then there was the award for ‘strengthening social cohesion’, won by Newgate College for their work in fighting xenophobia during the recent 2018 xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg. The last category was the ‘Africa Unite and UNESCO MGIEP act of kindness’ award, which was won by a special young learner from Rosendaal High School, who dedicates his time to support his friend on a wheelchair and is a cabinet minister.
The last category of awards were the donated awards from stakeholders and partners that have worked with the school clubs as follows: i. Public education & outreach’ award, donated by the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, and won by Nelson Mandela High School ii. ‘good governance and democracy’ award donated by the Independent Electoral Commission IEC, won by Masibambane Secondary School iii. the ‘community health care’ award, donated by Students’ Health and Welfare Centres Organisation SHAWCO, and won by Portland High School iv. Humanitarian of the year’ award, donated by the Red Cross of South Africa, won by the president of Fons Luminis Secondary School v. the Government Communication and Information Systems GCIS, donated a trophy for the partnership they had with the school club in rolling out various gender-based violence initiatives in the Western Cape. All teachers and principals received awards for their support and dedication in making the school club function in their respective schools
But then, last but not least, the most important question of the night: who took away the title of ‘best school club of 2018’? This was a hard one, since all the schools were nominees in this category. However, the second runner up was Nelson Mandela High School and the first runner up went to Rosendaal High School. After adding up all the activities, outcomes and reports, the title for the ‘best school club 2018’ was brought home, for the second time in a row, by Masibambane Secondary School! After all was done the night was closed with a sumptuous networking dinner which everyone
Africa Unite and the guests were extremely impressed by the work done by our young leaders in the school clubs. We are humbled by the overwhelming responses and enthusiasm shown by our learners, partners, stakeholders and guests! Through our school club programme we are beginning to witness a movement of young learners from underprivileged schools that are critically engaging and actively involved in the development and upliftment of their schools and communities.
Africa Unite would like to thank all our sponsors for the awards and Mrs Bantjes of Mergence Investment Managers , Jim Ritzen and Anne Wouters together with their friends in Netherlands for contributing donations for the event logistics.
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