By: Bongiwe Nkambule
GIRLIGNITE Africa Academy is a youthful brand that uses education for social impact and positive social change. The Academy strives to solve Africa’s challenges by bringing together dynamic and driven African teen girls from across the country to an intensive weekend-away. From Friday the 22nd to Sunday the 24th of September 2017, Girlignite Africa hosted their 3rd Annual Summit at the Sediba Kwele Adventure Lodge, and this year, IkamvaYouth female learners from the Gauteng and North-West Region were invited to be part of this event. The Ikamvanite learners from the Ivory Park, Ikageng and Mamelodi branches attended the Summit and played a part in finding ideas that would sustainably create socio-economic change in their communities, and in turn, help shape Africa’s future.
The 3 day Summit featured interactive workshops, engaging speakers, networking opportunities, outdoor activities and a final round of the Girlignite Africa challenge, whereby groups of girls are given 10 minutes each to pitch their business ideas. GirlIgnite conducts entrepreneurship modules for girls to teach them about the basics of conducting a business and help them to develop a business concept, a business model and a business plan. GirlIgnite also raises funds so that the participants can see their business models come to life. The aim of the annual Summit is to skill the participants and equip them with the necessary tools they will need in life, whether they are employed in corporate, running a business unit or become entrepreneurs.
Our learners were exposed to the topics of entrepreneurship, globalization, team building, project management, leadership and working within a culturally diverse environment.
The Guest speakers: Mr Gabriel Chapara, founder and MD of Mantis Africa P/L Zimbabwe, educated the girls on financial literacy and Miss Naledi Mashego, founder of BlackCherry Media gave a talk on the importance of digital marketing (Social Media) in the advertising of a business.
health and wellness program
The IKAMVAYOUTH tutors were also invited to be trained and assist with the health awareness program by the Directorate of Health and Wellness of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) for 3 days (14th -16th August), the total number of tutors that partook in the program were 10 from the Mamelodi Branch.
The key duties and responsibilities that were performed during the program by the tutors include:
- Condom distribution to the students within the institute of learning (TUT)
- Encouraging the students to visit the health and wellness stands to:
- Check their pulses
- Receive guidance on the importance of why one needs to learn why they must use protection during intercourse, and the mechanics involved in the process
- Visit the testing stations to test for HIV/AIDS, and all the various infections and illnesses pertaining to sexual intimacy
During the week whilst assisting with the health and wellness program, an IkamvaYouth exhibition stand was also put in place to market the organization, the tutors were wearing the IkamvaYouth regalia (shirts and hoodies) as part of the marketing initiative. The marketing was not only for the Mamelodi branch, but for IkamvaYouth as a whole, at its various other branches. Approximately 60 student volunteers were recruited from their respective fields of study, we believe this recruitment will add immensely to the volunteers we currently have, and to the organization at large. Since these recruited tutors are students we believe they will add value critically when it comes to bridging the gaps between highschool and university for our current grade 12 learners and even those in lower grades, as they can offer knowledge and mentorship to the various avenues that the learners may take post matric. Career mentorship is one critical aspect of the organization; we thus pride ourselves in having the right academic tutors who can help lessen the stresses of the learners having to look for information, but having information come to them.
The program was a good initiative in growing the organization, both in marketing for volunteers, and building a relationship with the Directorate of Health and Wellness in the Tshwane University of Technology, with the hope of creating a long partnership which will be mutually beneficial to the two organizations in future.
By: Naledi Mokopakgosi
SUBSTANCE ABUSE SEMINAR & FIRST THINGS FIRST PROGRAM: TSHWANE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, DIRECTORATE OF HEALTH AND WELLNESS
The IKAMVAYOUTH Mamelodi tutors attended a Substance Abuse Seminar held at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) on 20th August, organized by the Directorate of Health and Wellness, as means to open up a panel to discuss this issues which most commonly affects young people. The Seminar was attended by more than 200 students and various organizations. It began at around 10:00 whereby the attendees were first treated to breakfast, the guests were formally welcomed by the event organizers. The key reasons for the substance abuse seminar include the following:
- To define in detail what substance abuse is
- To engage and comprehend about the punishments for various uses of illegal drugs
- To get in detail the symptoms of substance abuse
- To address the causes leading to substance abuse
- To formulate solutions to gunner the issue, especially amongst youth, those in academics
- To give information on how and where to receive help for the issue
‘’I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so badly indulge, it has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason, it has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom” Edgar Allan one of the keynote speakers.
Summary of the key information gleaned from the Seminar
Substance abuse, also referred to as drug abuse, is a patterned utilization of drugs in which the user consumes the substance in large quantities, or with methods that may be harmful to them or those around them. Some of the commonly abused substances / drugs are; heroin, cocaine, crack, alcohol, hallucinogens, and marijuana, and they respectively have their various punishment methodologies by law according to whether you are a user or distributor (sellers). Young people are the common victims of substance abuse. In order to help the sick we first must go back in time and recover their medical history, and begin to try and thoroughly fathom what is causing the chaos / dilemma, and this too must be applied to the subject matter in hand, before we begin to lambaste, criticize, or even attempt to help those that are victims of this issue we need to first find the roots of the matter, the causes behind why one is abusing drugs.
There are certain life circumstances more especially in young people, or young users which are the leading factors of substance abuse. Drug abuse is often said to be related to peer pressure, but it is important to note one fundamental factor which is prominent in drug abuse, far more brutal than peer pressure, the fact that drugs are utilized to serve as an escape from the world of reality, trying to escape from the reality of an abusive parent, an abusive spouse, financial burdens, the perceived world of lack of success, an unstable household and many more. Of scientific evidence that probably leads to drug abuse there is so far insufficient information to raise or make a concrete case that neuroscience, or genetics somehow have a role to play.
Our surroundings have a huge impact on the kinds of people we become, it influences our codes of conduct, and what we perceive as a prosperous or the ideal life, media hence being one of the platforms in which we acquire most of our information has too added fuel to the subject matter, young people often model what they see on TV, from their role models, and quite often our media promotes the use of drugs both directly and indirectly, be it through music and or through movies / TV Series. So, media has been spotted as one of the factors contributing to this social ill.
In order to tackle the issue of drug abuse we thus need to contemplate and thoroughly comprehend the above mentioned causes and those not mentioned, the leading indicators leading to substance abuse. There are various organizations that have a mandate of helping those that are going through the challenge of substance abuse.
Amongst some of the speakers we had:
- Tshwane Metropolitan: who supplied information on the various forms of illegal drugs which are commonly used in society; the types of punishment that is associated with each respective form of illegal drug, and the judicial process which partakes when one is found using drugs, in possession, or selling them. Information and examples were given on some of the cases the metropolitans have had to deal with or are dealing with. They further stretched why engaging in drugs is dangerous and often joins with other forms of crimes.
- Howard Zondo (motivational speaker and IKAMVAYOUTH Grade 12 Learner): Howard being a grade 12 learner and an author gave a talk about drug abuse from a viewpoint of not only of a learner, not only a young person, but that of a leader in society. He incorporated the effects of drug abuse to a variety of elements in our society, more especially in poor communities, such being the issue of unemployment, lack of knowledge pertaining the subject matter, and he further communicated to the students that, as academics they have a pivotal role in society in curbing the issue of drug abuse amongst the many social ills that society is faced with, that they need to take a leadership role in making our communities a desirable place to reside in.
Some of the key questions asked during the Question and Answers session:
- What are the common symptoms of drug abuse?
- Do women and men have the same alcohol tolerance?
- How do we de-associate fun with alcohol?
- How do certain cultural practices lead to drug abuse amongst youth?
- Which organizations help those with drug abuse problems?
- How much alcohol consumption is allowable for someone to drive after drinking?
A great deal of knowledge was spread amongst the attendees pertaining to the issue of drug abuse, amongst the many things that stood out from the event was the talk and motivation bestowed to the attendees by Howard Zondo, he left the crowd amused as to what it means to walk the walk and talk the talk, to be a leader, a change in perception resulted from the event for most of the attendees. A great deal of social norms and perceptions were brought to demise by the seminar.
tutor training/ team building
On the 16th of September 2017 IkamvaYouth Mamelodi branch held a team building session/ tutor training. The team building was facilitated by Zoe Mann, it started at 09:30 to 14:00, the session consisted of the volunteer tutors and the branch staff, in total there were 42 participants.
The purpose of the team building/ tutor training was for the volunteers to familiarise themselves with one another, with the leadership/ staff of the branch, to discuss some of the challenges pertaining to the various programs offered, and more importantly to get to thoroughly comprehend what Ikamva is, what it stands for, its values and the organizational culture.
The day began with a brief introduction of each individual in attendance through an icebreaker, then each member articulated briefly their expectations for the day.
The first activity of the day, participants were given a task of walking around and briefly engaging with the next person on how their journey to Ikamva began, be it starting from their home on that day to Ikamva, be it starting from the day they became alumni, be it the day they became part of the branch staff and many more.
The participants were put into groups of 5 people, and instructed to articulate some of the greatest challenges they face pertaining tutoring in whatever aspect, and some of the things that frustrate them within the organisation on a daily basis, and in their respective groups they were given an opportunity to present their observations, what they had written down, and to motivate where clarity was imperative, so a dialogue was in place for the activity.
Some of the burning issues were:
- Learners expecting tutors to do their work instead of helping them understand
- How to deal with ill discipline
- Punctuality challenges, both for learners and tutors
- The loitering of tutors during tutoring
- Tutors not being truthful about their reimbursement money
- Lack of communication between tutors and the branch staff
Upon completion of the first task the follow up task was to articulate solutions to the given challenges, so the groups convened yet again to discuss how the above mentioned challenges and more can be solved, and what can be some of the innovative ways of moving the organisation forward.
Over and above, the purpose of the team building session and expectations were met, out of the challenges, innovative ways and strategies of solving the challenges were put in place, and the relevant people( portfolio heads) together with the branch staff given a mandate of ensuring that the strategies be implemented going forward. We thoroughly comprehend that transformation takes time, thus it was agreed that five strategies out of the articulated be chosen for implementation this year, given the fact that we have new staff members, the fact that the solutions/ strategies are many and implementing them all at once will be chaotic, and lastly given the fact that the year is almost over.
A morning of fun, hard work and victory
On Saturday, 30 September, the Nyanga tutors and staff embarked on a journey to hike up Lion’s Head in Cape Town. The Lion’s Head mountain peak is best known for its rocky and somewhat steep hiking trail. It also overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and provides great views of Cape Town. The group was armed with water, Powerade and fruit for the journey ahead. At 7am, the hike began just as the morning sun was starting to warm up. There were both feelings of excitement and anxiety amongst the group. The trail started off on a very steep note and it soon became clear that things were getting serious.
It did not take long to separate the ‘A’ team from the ‘B’ team. The ‘A’ team maintained a steady lead from the beginning until the end. On the other hand, the ‘B’ team made sure to take regular breaks and to soak in the beautiful Cape Town scenery. It was also quite a busy morning on the trail, with many groups going up and coming down. This was a source of inspiration for the team; especially when the journey seemed to be getting tougher.
One of the biggest challenges of the day was overcoming one’s own fears. It was the will to continue pushing yourself even when your legs were telling you to give up. If you were not able to push yourself, team members stepped in to motivate you to continue going forward, no matter how hard it seemed.
We are proud to announce that every Ikamvanite made it to the summit. The hike itself was mentally and physically challenging, more so for those of us who do not exercise on a regular basis. It was through teamwork, mutual support and guidance that each of us were able to make it all the way to the top. The moment of victory was indeed sweet.
After basking in our individual and group victory, it was time to head down again. For most of the team, going down the peak was even more challenging than going up. However, with continued support from each other, we all made it safely down. No member was left behind or left to fend for themselves at any point.
As a teambuilding activity, the hike achieved and surpassed all the expected outcomes. The Ikamvanites started and finished as a team. One of the tutors used a quote by Nelson Mandela to describe their journey: “It always seems impossible until it’s done”. This is indeed true for all of us who accepted the challenge. The Nyanga branch challenges other branch tutors to take this journey!!