While the winter school programme flowed as a normal yearly activity for most Ikamva Youth Branches, in Ikageng it was a whole new glamorous adventure. Kicking off for the very first time, the first week was a learning environment for all players (the IY staff, Volunteers, learners and other bodies involved). Day one started with Tutor training facilitated by Joy Oliver, the main objective being to install rules, knowledge and guidelines on how best to facilitate tutoring achieving positive results.
Meanwhile learners were watching real life motivational videos, followed by setting up of rules and regulations governing the whole winter school operations. Learners were grouped into nine groups and a tutor delegated on each group so they would work together. The afternoon stream was hosted by Mmbane Art and Culture with Aerobics experiences, sharing with learners on how to stay fit and healthy through exercises.
Day two saw the morning session starting with an ice breaker, registering and moving on into English Fundamentals led by Lewis Mash. The activity involved an English exercise where learners were given question papers to answer and engage into revision and discussion to improve their understanding on the subject. Tutoring in all subjects followed with all learners actively studying with the help of tutors from North West University (NWU), Potchefstroom Campus and other volunteers to ensure maximum understanding.
The afternoon sessions went well with Berrie Stoop from the SA Business and Training Academy having come to address the learners interested in Engineering and Business studies on life skills and how they can fit into the respective departments after they matriculate. The North West School of Design was also there to share experience and skills as well as guidance to the learners interested in the same field.
Each day brought new surprises and adventures for Ikageng Ikamvanites with day three and four starting on a new impressive note into Math and English Fundamentals with interesting facilitation by the Maths and English legible tutors and high participation from learners. The continued tutoring sessions captured liking from learners every step forward with the afternoon streams involving a video skype presentation by Thapelo Legkowa, a Journalist from the Daily Maverick for learners interested in Media and Journalism and life skills presentation from FAMSA.
Having successfully completed the first week of its first winter school, Ikageng started the second week on a higher note with much activities taking place throughout the week. Continued Maths and English exercises and intensive tutoring on all subjects throughout the four days of week two greatly benefited the learners. Career guidance workshops proceeded with more presentations from FAMSA and SA BTA continuing. The NWU Department of Social Studies represented by Dr. Goodrich also came in to present on the social history, advantages, chances and requirements of getting into Social Studies. Victor Boqo, a photographer and journalist from the Potchefstroom Herald and Gazette also came in to guide learners into Media and Mr Ramotale Ramasimong from the Potchefstroom Health and Wellness Centre Presented on HIV/AIDS and health issues.
Friday the 5th of July was the last day of winter school, filled with fun, talent and expression. Innovative Ikamvanites presented their skills in Speech delivery, Drama, Poetry, Talk Show, Comedy, Singing and dancing, celebrating success in the most exquisite winter school as IkamvaYouth celebrates 10years of existence.
This year’s Winter School in Gauteng was one with a difference, with the theme 10 Years- My IkamvaYouth, My Future!! Not only were we celebrating IkamvaYouth at 10 years but we were also celebrating all the plans and hopes that we had for this Winter School. For the Winter School 2013 ‘official opening’, we were graced by Anastasia Peters Francis, from the Absa CSI department. Anastasia elaborated on Absa’s commitment to youth empowerment, among other CSI initiatives. She encouraged the learners to give their best, even as Absa believes the IkamvaYouth learners across the country are well able to pass. Absa funded Winter School costs for six IkamvaYouth branches across the country. Concluding with Susan Boyle’s YouTube video, and sharing her story of fighting cancer, she charged the learners not to lose hope, but to become the best that they could be during this Winter School. Excitement filled the hall as learners paid attention to every single word spoken by the Absa representative. Pankie Rapholo, an Ikamvanite who matriculated in 2012, and who is now studying a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Johannesburg told his story on how such programmes as the Winter School had made it possible for him to pass. “Anything is possible,” were the words that came out from both speakers.
The next ten days were managed in an orderly manner with learners starting off their day with either compulsory Maths or English fundamentals. There was a huge presence of tutors who came to support and help the learners. Tutoring took place right until lunch-time and those who were eager to continue after that were given the room to do so whilst food was being served. One of the tutors, Mbali Dlamini, had this to say; “I would rather spend my university vacation with the learners than spend my time sitting on my couch watching TV.”
We were visited by Love Life from the Tembisa Region every afternoon and these representatives would take all the learners through fun youth-minded building activities such as HIV/AIDS Awareness, Body Awareness, Identity, Life Skills, Singing and Dancing. LoveLife’s Making My Move Programme was an action-oriented, personal discovery programme which the learners quickly got hooked to. Making My Move was a young people’s call to action for personal growth and development. The programme took young people through a process of identifying and pursuing opportunities for their own personal growth and development.
We were also visited by Standard Bank on Wednesday the 26th of June as they came to give all our tutors a financial literacy workshop. Financial literacy is the ability to understand how money works in the world: how someone manages to earn or make it, how that person manages it, how he/she invests it and how that person donates it to help others. More specifically, it refers to the set of skills and knowledge that allows an individual to make informed and effective decisions with all of their financial resources. Raising interest in personal finance is now a focus of Standard Bank and this was a little way of appreciating our tutors- by availing free personal financial management training.
Our Career Expo was a huge success with many exhibitors spending the day with the Ikamvanites as well as the community at large. Workshops were held out throughout the day and were open to anyone and everyone who was interested in knowing more. Many tertiary institutions availed learners with information on their requirements, and the various study fields. Companies present availed information on what it will take for the learner to be working with them in the years ahead. Absa had a mobile bank to help learners to open bank accounts.
Capitec bank came through on Wednesday the 3rd of July to conduct Financial Skills Workshops with all our Grade 11s and 12s. The learners were exposed to a world that they had never been to before. This information was further pressed onto the learners by Tzu Chi who brought in their representative, Shelton Chadya, who spoke to the learners about saving for tertiary and planning for their educational future. It is evident that IkamvaYouth is a great place to gain knowledge and our learners are more informed to make decisions that will impact the rest of their lives.
The 5th of July was the day the learners all went out for the much awaited for excursion. The day was filled with much fun and excitement as most of the learners had never been outside of Midrand. Freedom Park in Pretoria was the first destination for the day, where the Tour Guides told us that, ” The mandate of Freedom Park was the creation of a memorial and monument that will narrate a story spanning a period of 3.6 billion years through the following seven epochs: Earth, Ancestors, Peopling, Resistance and Colonisation, Industrialisation and Urbanisation, Nationalism and Struggle, Nation Building and Continent Building; as well as the Garden of Remembrance to acknowledge those that contributed to the freedom of the country.” It is also home to the Wall of names – an awe-inspiring structure (697m), inscribed with the names of those who died during eight conflicts within South Africa’s history.
Our last stop of the day was Union Buildings which form the official seat of the South African Government and also houses the offices of the president of South Africa. They have a beautiful park on the premises and that is where we had lunch and gave out our certificates of appreciation and collages to all the tutors.
We want to continue to appreciate all the hard work put into this year’s Winter School. The learners are all very thankful for being given such awesome experiences, and are so grateful to our sponsors, staff and tutors. We look forward to next year!
The last day of winter school is usually a day where everyone is breathing a sigh of relief that everything went well, surpassed the minor challenges that go with winter school and having survived the 2weeks however for the KZN region we had to give it one last push. Last year we hosted a sports day in collaboration with ABI and this year it was decided that we would take it up a notch and have a Health Awareness Day. Once again, ABI came on board and participated on the day, by providing the sporting equipment, drinks, as well as joining in the day’s activities.
The Durban weather was close enough to disappointing everybody involved as the rain had us biting our nails, the hours went on and as we waited for the rain to clear, we decided to have an impromptu talent show and learners began showcasing their talents through artwork presentations, comedy skit, music and poetry all in relation to the winter school theme (My future is my hands) they had been given in their MIE programme they had participated in throughout the 2weeks.
The health awareness day had various organisations come in and provide support, providing information and screening opportunities for various health issues. Sexual health information and HIV testing and counseling was provided by CAPRISA, and general health assessments (blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, and BMI) were done by Old Mutual, while eye testing was done by Spec Savers. The learners showed interest and eagerly participated in all of these different services.
The sports aspect of the day was really the big moment for everyone; all learners had been divided into 6 groups, made up by the rainbow colours…well most. Each group was given a plain white t-shirt to design and come up with a war cry that they felt would represent their teams and show excellent team spirit and indeed the war cry’s showcased exactly that. All 6 teams raised the bar each time they were on stage and left us, who were watching, wanting more.
Passion and excitement filled the netball and soccer fields as the different teams all played for a win. Volunteers, ABI staff and learners all cheered their respective teams on. The sports was not only limited to netball and soccer, traditional township games such as amagende, magalobhe and shumpu that the learners grew up playing in the passages of their townships were accommodated for. In the end, irrespective of only one team being winners we all celebrated and danced like winners. The day proved to everybody that come rain or sunshine IY always achieves its objective through partnership and collaboration from everybody involved and that is what team work looks like!
Entering the second week of Winter School 2013 was exciting for all KZN Ikamvanites, we had gotten the hang of things. The first week had been exciting, challenging and a lot of fun. Learners were looking forward with anticipation to what was in store for them for week two.
Tutoring continued as usual, in the mornings with activities and talks planned for the afternoon sessions. In this the second week, the Love Life Mpintshis continued to give valuable life lessons to learners, while DSW came in to speak about waste management and gave away prizes to those learners who participated actively in the waste management talk. Media, Image and Expression workshops were held where we saw learners learning to express themselves in ways they knew how, ranging from poetry to acting, singing and dressing up in a way that represented their personalities.
The last group of learners did the amazing race, this was the best group by far. They complained, they cried, they argued but they kept going at it. This race taught many of life’s lessons which I don’t think the learners noticed at the time but there were lessons to be learnt like working as a team, persevering and accountability just to mention a few.
The matrics were fortunate to be afforded a chance to watch the movies of the set books they are reading in English. We had Shakespeare’s Othello, Nothing But The Truth and Animal Farm playing for the learners. This was aimed at assisting them to get a better understanding of the books through a visual medium. The English lecturers were also there to assist them with any questions they may have had. For those who don’t do any of the above mentioned books we entertained them with a movie “My Name is Khan”. The lessons in this movie ranged from perseverance to going after what you believe in to kindness being rewarded and the truth being able to set you free. Again the matrics were taken through a financial literacy workshop by Capitec. This was seen as a very important tool for them as they would not only be equipped academically for the “big bad world” but they would also have financial health knowledge. Grade 11 learners had the opportunity to write a Maths Test also supplied by Capitec to gauge their levels of literacy in Maths.
We were also graced by the visit of our National Coordinator, Zamo Shongwe, who came in for two days in the second week. She really just reminded us of why we were there as staff and volunteers and encouraged us to continue pressing on. She also firmly reminded us that we should carry ourselves in a way that is admirable and that the learners can take a pattern from with regards to behavior, the way we speak to each other and to learners, dress code (no caps indoors) and drawing the line between learner and adult.
When we came to the end of week 2, we were tired and drained but content, our goal had been achieved. There were no major setbacks and we all took something away from this experience.
After the wonderful first week of Masiphumelele Winter School, both learners and tutors were expecting more from our colorful workshops for the second week. We have had some new workshops this week covering interesting topics as Environmental Protection, Sexual Violence, Academic Writing, Debate, and more. On Thursday, learners wowed the tutors with their ability to craft intelligent arguments in a short amount of time during the Debate workshop. In Academic Writing, we learned about Plagiarism and how to correctly cite sources in our writing.
We were lucky to have Black Sash, an organization works to advance equality, social justice and human rights to give a special workshop on some key social problems. Wire Works with Frederick gave learners an opportunity to use wires and beads to create works of art. Other learners went to Fish Hoek beach to clean and recycle garbage.
Beyond these sessions, learners also participated in some workshops more focused on their own future. CPUT Engineering Department and Stellenbosch University came to our Winter School to introduce their academic programs and encourage some learners to apply. Capitec Bank held a whole-morning session on Tuesday to give career guidance, CV skills and financial knowledge to our young learners. And on Wednesday, Inspired Inc gave a very passionate speech on having a vision and dream for one’s life. Learners tried to project their vision and their plan to reach that vision. We love these sessions, because Winter School is not only about academic progress, but also about equipping our learners for the future and empowering them to reach their dreams.
Learners also concluded the week by taking time to write thank you notes to those who have helped make this week possible, including Pick n Pay (who provided our lunches!) and False Bay College (who provided the venue for our Winter School!). As we look forward to our Talent Show with the other Ikamva Youth branches tomorrow, we are grateful and happy for a great two weeks of learning and growing alongside one another. One of our tutors, Lauren, put it well when she said,
“Winter School is designed not only to inspire the kids but also to inspire tutors to continue our work to put them on a path towards a better life. If one of these students can succeed in that task, I’ll know that I’ve done my job.”