Ikamvanites got an opportunity to participate in one of the greatest conferences in Canada which deals with increasing learner achievement. The conference was packed with a vast amount of information on how we can engage learners in the 21st Century. The conference was well attended (900 people!) and sold out. It had people from the York Region and across Canada as well as other countries – everyone from Government officials to teachers and students. We also got an opportunity to present our great Ikamva Youth to many people at the conference and some South African government officials from South Africa.
We were welcomed by wonderful people in Toronto: Stephen Rensink and Scott Milne invited us to stay with their awesome families and they gave us a chance to see the beautiful country of Canada. First we went to see one of world’s greatest land marks, Niagara falls, which was an amazing experience. We also went to see the CN tower which is the 4th tallest free-standing structure on land.
We have had enriching experience learning about Canada, the education system, and got new insights into our own work. Meeting with people from the Gauteng legislature, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Foundation and the York Region District School Board has been great for our organisation. It’s been great sharing our work with people from around the world, and we leave this place filled with new experiences, insights and contacts that will help us to build a better Ikamva.
S’bonelo Cele, aka Blstk Joe Banker is a new volunteer to IkamvaYouth KZN who joined us in the third term of the school year. I met him on my trip to Grahamstown where we were part of a production from the BAT Centre in Durban. Blstk was a regular rapper, as far as I could see. To the extent that when he asked if he could volunteer after I had spoken to him about Ikamva, I thought, “Great another rapper who can only tutor English”.
When he arrived (on time) on the first Saturday, he told me how excited he was because he had not touched High School Physics in some time. Needless to say, I was taken back. A rapper who is good at Physics. Those are very hard to come by.
On his first day, I explained to Blstk how Ikamva works and he took over from there. When I walked into his class I was surprised that the learners were all quiet listening to this tiny figure teaching them about Physics and where it applies in the real world. To this day, the learners ask for Blstk to tutor Physics because he is able to make it relatable to their lives. He encourages learners to see Physics at work in their everyday lives, which makes it easier for them to understand it as a subject. I dare say, even I’m starting to see the work of physics around me… As someone who is not studying and is currently unemployed, he gave his time to teaching the Grade 12s during the teacher strike in September. This made a huge difference in the learners confidence in themselves as they had given up, because the preliminary examinations were close, while their striking teacher had not yet finished teaching them the Physics curriculum.
Blstk has had a huge impact on Ikamva, but volunteering has also changed his outlook on life. According to Blstk, volunteering has shown him that are more important things in life that most people overlook. The opportunity to help others and empower the future generation has proved to be very fulfilling. The idea of helping learners realise their full potential and succeed at school has given him drive and passion which resonates in other aspects of his life. He was able to find meaning for his life and this has enabled him to push himself to achieve more with his rap career. The determination, sense of initiative and hard work ethic which he hopes to impart to learners has seen Blstk take on projects that he thought would be insurmountable a few months ago.
The returns on volunteering are not always tangible, yet sometimes the biggest gains for individuals are the intangible lessons and ways of seeing oneself and the world, that make a difference. Blstk not only encourages his learners to be more and do more, but he has also learned to believe in himself by practising what he preaches.
Sikelelwa is 16 years old. She has always struggled with her home situation; her mother lives in Durban and her father left the family when Siki was a child. She has lived with her aunt in Masi and her cousin who is also in the programme. A feeling of abandonment and not belonging coupled with resentment and anger has had a detrimental affect on her academic work as well as her personal development. However, she continues to show an admirable dedication and determination.
She has participated in IkamvaYouth’s tutoring programme at Masi Library since its inception, is an active member of the Branch Committee, and was one of the learners who completed the Philosophy Course. The impact upon her personal development has been profound; making dramatic progress in her language, communication, listening and academic skills. The Careers Indaba has been a highlight of her winter holidays for the past 2 years; ‘it brought youth together, challenged my confidence and taught me so much to think about – it has shown me the light’. The Indaba also gave her access to activities to satisfy her creative side that is often stifled by her situation.
Siki has a unique personality, which evoked bullying in her younger years and knocked her self-confidence. Through her participation in IkamvaYouth she has learned that she can be her and achieve for herself:
‘I work hard for myself and I want to get to a new height. I’ve learnt that when I want to achieve something I must do it for no one but myself’
Siki is a perfect example of how through IkamvaYouth’s academic and personal support, learners can flourish and believe in their futures. Furthermore it shows how role models are created through the programme. Siki has an aptitude for mathematics and accounting, but her personal goal is to be involved in PR and marketing – a career well suited to her special energy!
Polly Saul came flying in to Masi 3 months ago to engage Ikamvanites in philosophy. With the assistance of Zoe Mann they delivered a course on the love of thought. Pondering expressions and inquisitive questions became the order of the day for the 11 participants on Thrusday afternoons. The sessions encouraged the learners to discuss questions, develop concepts and delve deeper into subjects they have never before given the time to.
The discussions were enthralling. Questions like; ‘what is certain in life?’; ‘What is evil?’; And ‘If we have a choice are we free?’ were generated throughout the last few months. As well as heated discussions about the Information Bill, Zuma’s many wives, and the value of culture in today’s society. A mind-blowing amount was discussed and many topics and ideas arose. Along with this many quotes were posed to the learners to get their philosophical juices bubbling in their minds. The favourite seemed to be ‘Nobody can be made to feel inferior without their permission’.
It has no doubt broadened their minds and started to provoke philosophical questions in everyday life. Their participation has improved their English skills, self-esteem, vocabulary, and the sense of self-belief is through the roof. We hope that we can continue this programme next year with a new group to crack open more young minds!
The Status of Youth Report 2010 aims to provide comprehensive information on the socio-economic and demographic circumstances of young people in South Africa. The NYDA act specify under section 6(1) that “ The agency must, every three years, submit to the President a report on the status of youth” and subsection 3 of section 6, state that “The President must table the report in Parliament within a reasonable time.
Tumi “Stumza” Thoka (IvoryPark Branch Exco member) was caught right-hand on camera, networking for IkamvaYouth with Laurein Graham(a PHD student at University of Johannesburg). The consultative forum ensures that the status of youth report provides accurate primary and secondary information on: Who are the youth? Where are they? What do they do? What are their key challenges? What opportunities are available for them? What interventions are necessary to support the youth and create opportunities for them?
You are welcome to voice out your views on these issues, the vocal IkamvaYouth delegates will voice them at the forum for the attention of the president.
By Lizile Hams
IY Makhaza branch conducted pre-exam grade 10 English literacy assessments on Saturday, 30 October. The objective for the evaluation was to gauge each learner’s ability to read, spell and write and to test individual comprehension and reasoning process levels. Since their enrolment at the beginning of the year, the grade 10s demonstrated keen interest in improving their individual abilities to speak, write and read the English language. Credit to a number of interventions from IY volunteers and other visiting professionals, the learners are a least five steps better than they were when they started at IkamvaYouth. More importantly, publicly available research indicates that an improvement in the English language for second language speakers is sure to have a positive impact on how they progress in other learning areas.
The evaluation took a fun and interactive format and learners enjoyed it thoroughly. To encourage dedicated participation and a spirit of winning, the branch organised prizes for two best performing learners. Branch co-ordinator Mr. Winile Mabhoko could not contain his excitement, “This is not just another grand opportunity for our learners but a great platform for us to prepare them for the final exams in their respective schools,” he said. The evaluation process was moderated by visiting volunteer Mrs. Ayanda Nyoka. With a strong academic background in Communications and Political Science and experience in working with children, she developed an immediate connection with the learners. “IkamvaYouth is doing a sterling job in developing these young minds and I can’t help but feel obliged to come back and contribute more,” she said.