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!!
In the past two months, the Nyanga branch has had the pleasure of hosting Lindsay Vogelzang; a research student from the Netherlands. In her first couple of days at the branch, the learners were surprised to see the unfamiliar face at the office. In just a few days, they were greeting each other like old friends. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Lindsay. Over this short period she has become part of the Nyanga branch and a friendly face around the Zolani Centre. She was often heard greeting passersby by in IsiXhosa. The toddlers from the neighbouring educare centre were always surprised and enthused to hear her greet them with ‘Molo’ (Hello). Although her research was conducted mainly with the learners and tutors, we as staff also got to know her well during this period. We are grateful for the helping hand she always offered and we will surely miss her friendly smile.
On Friday, 31 March, Lindsay hosted a farewell session for the learners who participated in her research during her stay at the Nyanga branch. The session was in the form of a surprise pancake party for the learners. The group spent time listening to music, nibbling on snacks and enjoying home-made pancakes made by Lindsay. We as branch staff also took this time to present her with a small gift from the Nyanga branch; an IY hoodie and diary. She has earned it as an “honorary staff member”.
The volunteers she worked with had the following to say about their experience with Lindsay:
“So – working with Lindsay was at first a bit of a challenge for me because I have never encountered someone with so much energy, especially around people that she’s just met. As time passed and the more time I spent with her, I realized that she just generally has a positive attitude and a mindset that exudes nothing but intelligence and positive energy in every space that she’s in. I loved getting to know more about her adventurous mindset and how she finds our country as an interesting and fun place to be in. I also enjoyed telling her my story and sharing my experiences as a South African citizen. One of the things that I have learnt from her is the importance of listening attentively and to not judge the other people’s backgrounds, but rather to encourage them to become bigger and better in the future.“
“Today our Nyanga team is becoming smaller. We will miss your sense of humour and your humble soul. I had a great time working with you and I learnt a lot from you in this short time. May all your dreams come true!”
“From my experience working with Lindsay, I would say she is a lovely, humble and good to work with kind of person. She is dedicated and ambitious, and I’ve learnt a lot from working with her. I am now proud to say there’s something I know about her country, and I appreciate her enthusiasm and trust towards me. I wish her well on her journey and all the success in her future endeavors. I’d like to tell her that she will be always be welcome and our doors will always be open for her. “
We asked Lindsay to say a few words about her research and her short journey with IkamvaYouth:
“Hi there! This is Lindsay, I am a student from the Netherlands and I had the pleasure and honour to join the Nyanga branch for a period of 8 weeks. What am I doing exactly? I have to conduct research for my studies in Cultural Anthropology in order to graduate. The topic of my study is about the youth in the townships of Cape Town; the way they live their lives and how they identify with South Africa. To be at the Nyanga branch I got the opportunity to get to know the staff, tutors and learners for a longer period of time. I listened to their stories during interviews and did group activities to gain an in-depth view of their lives and neighbourhoods. As I said, it was a great honour and pleasure to meet all the different and inspiring people, listen to their stories and experience their way of life. They were really welcoming, and the family vibes are all over the branch. They take care of each other and help each other succeed with education as the key for a brighter future.“
Lindsay has generously donated 14 English dictionaries to the Nyanga branch. We are incredibly grateful for this gift. This gift means a lot to the Nyanga branch and will definitely be a closely cherished asset. We know that our learners and tutors will put them to good use.
The Nyanga branch wishes her all the best with her studies, we hope she enjoyed her stay with us as much as we all did. We would like to thank her once again for the generous donation. We would like to send her off with the following quote:
“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.”
[Lindsay with the 2017 Nyanga Branch Committee at the Nyanga SPW]
[Lindsay and her learners after the Pancake Party]
[Lindsay pictured with Nyanga learners and tutors]
[Nyanga Branch staff members and Lindsay]
On Saturday the 11th of March, the Nyanga branch had a strategic planning day. The aim of this day was to plan for the year. The event was attended by the newly elected and eager Branch Committee. The group of learners, tutors and staff travelled to the Cape Town Company’s Gardens for the day. The idea was to have a relaxed picnic-style planning day out in the sun.
In true Ikamvanite style, the day started off with an ice-breaker. The agenda for the day included explaining the purpose of the Branch Committee; going through the Nyanga branch strategic goals for 2017; strategic planning for 2017 and assigning roles and responsibilities. The group was split into two in order to draft a monthly plan of branch events for the duration of 2017. The groups then came together to merge their calendars, this calendar will be used by the branch for the duration of the year.
After a full afternoon of planning, the group headed out to a ‘secret’ location for a late lunch. It was a great way to end off the day.
The Nyanga branch looks forward to all the great events we have planned for 2017!
[Nyanga Branch Committee 2017]
[Strategic Planning in action]
[Strategic Planning in action]
[The Branch Committee enjoys lunch]
On the 28th of January and the 4th of February, the Nyanga Branch launched its Mentoring Programme for the Matric cohort of 2017. Invited to the event were mentors, mentees and the parents of the mentees. The mentors were given two dates to choose from in order to accommodate their work schedules.
The programme of the day started with a quick ice-breaker of Human Bingo. Mentors and mentees were paired up to play the game in order to get the group more relaxed. After the fun ice-breaker, the group went back into the classroom to continue with the formal part of the programme. The formal part of the programme included a background on IkamvaYouth as an organsation; a breakdown of the mentoring programme and the important milestones in the matric year. The branch was also proud to introduce the Mentoring Passport which will guide the mentoring relationship for the duration of the year.
The mentor launch counted as the first mentoring session of the year. The mentors were paired with their mentees for the year who then went off to sit outside in their pairs to start their mentoring journey. The main aim of this first session was for mentors and mentees to get to know each other. The session also focused on the mentor getting to know the goals and aspirations of their mentee.
The session was closed off with refreshments and a group photograph.
IkamvaYouth Nyanga Branch looks forward to seeing the mentoring relationships grow during the course of 2017.
[Mentor and Mentee Group photograph]
[Mentors and Mentees playing Human Bingo]
[First session in action]
[Mentor, mentee and parent trio]
[Mentor and Mentee during their first session]
On Saturday the 21st of January, the Nyanga branch hosted a Matric Orientation Day for all 2017 Matric Parents and Learners. The purpose of this event was to welcome the Matric Class of 2017 and to orientate both parents and learners about how the Matric year looks for an Ikamvanite. The programme for the day started with a Parent Information Session: This session included a discussion of the 2016 Matric Challenges; an introduction to the mentoring programme and important milestones such as tertiary applications and NBT’s (National Benchmark Tests). The 2017 Matric Calendar was also shared and explained to the parents and learners. The parents were given a copy of the calendar to take home and use as a reference during the course of the year.
After the Parent Information Session, the branch introduced its motivational speaker for the day: Kamvalethu Willie. Kamvalethu Willie is an Ikamvanite from the Matric Class of 2016. He shared his journey with IY and how the programme has benefited him. Kamvalethu also shared that he is the first person in his family to pass Matric and the first to go to University. He has been accepted at UCT (University of Cape Town) to study B.Comm Financial Accounting with a full bursary. He advised the Class of 2017 to stay focused and to set clear goals for the future. He also shared a vision board he used in 2016 to keep himself motivated and to not lose sight of his goals. Kamvalethu’s speech left some parents with tears in their eyes. Kamvalethu plans to return to the branch as a volunteer in 2017. The Nyanga branch wishes him all the best in his studies.
[Kamvalethu Willie addressing the meeting]
Head Tutor in 2016, Sihle Sosanti, also addressed the Matric parents and learners. She addressed the parents and learners from the perspective of a tutor at the branch; outlining what is required from learners in their matric year. She also stressed the importance of parental support at home for learners. She completed her address by requesting that parents, tutors, branch staff and learners work together in order to make this year a success.
The session with the parents was then closed and the learners stayed behind for a meeting with the branch staff and tutors. The aim of this meeting was to discuss the tutoring schedule for Matric learners and to find out the needs of the learners, such as extra resources or extended tutoring hours. The learners were shy at first, but they gradually started to voice their opinions. The meeting was the beginning of paving a way forward for 2017.
[Nyanga Branch staff, tutors and learners]
[Gifts for Matric 2017 Learners]
We are grateful to all those who attended this first event for the Nyanga Branch in 2017! We look forward to many more successful events.
Western Cape learners & tutors at the close of our two-week intensive tutoring during June holidays (Winter School).
IkamvaYouth branches in the Western Cape Province achieved a matric pass rate of 77%, of which 37% are Bachelor passes, and 27% are Diploma passes. 102 learners were enrolled in three branches.
The Nyanga branch came out tops this year with a 90% matric pass rate. A whopping 52% of those who passed also obtained Bachelor passes, while 29% obtained Diploma passes.
The top learner at the Nyanga branch is Kamvalethu Willie who obtained an average of 73%. He also received a distinction for Economics and will be studying towards a BCom in financial accounting at UCT with a full bursary from SAICA. Kamvalethu has been attending tutoring sessions at the branch for five years and had this to say when asked how he managed to keep coming for all those years: “I realised that the help I get is really important and Ikamva is a really nice place to be. It’s nice for me because whenever I achieve something they encourage me. I feel welcome here and it’s like a second home.”
Kamvalethu Willie from Nyanga
The Masiphumelele community lives up to its name, which means “let us succeed”. In the December of 2015 yet another fire ripped through the community leaving many people homeless. Four months into 2016, the community was still trying to recover from the losses and rebuild their lives. Furthermore protests in the community, against crime, had a significant impact on learners’ attendance at school and tutoring. It’s under these circumstances that the Masiphumelele cohort of Matrics started their year. Regardless of all this, Ikamvanites in Masiphumelele were able to achieve an 80% Matric pass rate with 33% of the learners achieving Bachelor passes and 30% with Diploma passes.
Nicolas Commeignes, the Branch Coordinator in Masiphumelele had this to say about the results,“It is an absolute delight to celebrate learners’ successes, especially since we have been overcoming hurdles together and sharing great achievements for almost 4 years now. Through the programme, learners gain maturity and feel more equipped to leave the location and community they grew up in. What has struck me time and time again is that they never forget IkamvaYouth as they always come back to visit; support their families and inspire the younger generation”
One of the top achievers at the Masiphumelele branch is Samkele Hokwana who obtained a Bachelor pass and would like to pursue a degree in Medicine or Mechanical Engineering and says “It’s a matter of days for me to take a new step in life”. On how he achieved his success, Samkele had this to say, “In order to succeed, you have to capitalise on the resources available to you. For example, if I acquired more knowledge while working within a group of classmates, I would focus on that.”
Samkele Hokwana from Masihumelele
Makhaza is home to IkamvaYouth’s largest branch, with 41 learners who sat for the 2016 Matric exams. For the 2016 Matric exams the branch achieved a 66% Matric pass rate where 29% of the learners obtained Bachelor passes and 24% with Diploma passes.
Aphaphame Mzayiya is one of this years top achievers at Makhaza and he will be studying filming and video technology at CPUT. He obtained two distinctions in Geography and History and had this to say about his results,“Finally getting my results has been a relief; it’s been one long holiday anticipating what the future holds. Now I know for sure I will flourish in my field” Aphaphame has come to be known as the resident poet and entertainer and is excited about the field of study he has chosen, “I learnt about IkamvaYouth through a video on YouTube. I then immediately visited the branch. That has been the best decision I made.”
Aphaphame’s advice to the upcoming Grade 12 class is to “just study while others are sleeping.”
The Makhaza branch didn’t perform as well as expected, given its impressive track record of results over the last 11 years. Thankfully, most of the learners who failed are eligible for supplementary exams, and will be receiving intensive support in the lead-up to these second-chance exams. Access to learners has been a major challenge for the branch this year, as learners have had to attend compulsory extra classes at school. IkamvaYouth is hoping to forge a partnership with schools and districts similar to that in the North West Province, where collaboration between the government and the NGO maximises scarce resources in serving learners’ individual needs,and yielded a 90% matric pass rate for Ikamvanites in the region.
IkamvaYouth had matrics writing in ten townships across five Provinces, and learners achieved an overall 85% pass rate; 69% of which are either Bachelor or Diploma passes, ensuring their eligibility for tertiary studies.
IkamvaYouth is a non-profit organisation, enabling disadvantaged youth to pull themselves and each other out of poverty through education. The organisation provides free after-school tutoring, career guidance, mentoring, computer literacy training and extra-curricular engagement to learners in grades 8-12. The organisation is currently operating in 16 townships in 5 provinces across South Africa. To find out more, go to www.ikamvayouth.org or call Hetile on 062 105 1707