By: Micheal Thema
When the school holidays approach, most high school learners are excited to go home to the homelands to visit grandparents and relatives. School holidays help students take some much needed time off to relax and relieve the stress of schooling. This is not the case with IkamvaYouth learners. IkamvaYouth learners are required to attend an annual winter school during the school winter holidays, to brush up on basics they may have missed during normal school days and offer additional support for the subjects they are struggling.
The IkamvaYouth winter school covers concepts that might have been unclear to learners, tutors assist with simplifying complex concepts and topics, and consolidate basics. Furthermore, the programme is not all academically focused, this year we had more fun than ever. The Agora Talent show, Love Life games and many more activities were implemented in this year’s winter school.
Our 2018 winter school theme, created by the learner representative was ‘Be Bold’. The ‘Be Bold’ campaign revolves around people being able to speak for themselves; showing a willingness to take risks; being confident and courageous; it’s believing in your ability and knowing who you are and what you stand for. Furthermore, learners were encouraged to think out of their comfort space and being able to take steps academically to achieve better marks.
The branch welcomed students from the University of Johannesburg, University of the Witwatersrand, Pearson institute, University of Pretoria and UNISA who came in their droves to tutor. The first week of winter school mainly focused on mathematics, two more core subject from each stream and English basics. The branch conducted more one-on-one sessions to better assist learners and also helped them create goals for the particular subject. Grade 9 & 10s had an online career assessment to determine the career prospects of each learner. The career assessment was to look into each learners qualities and recommend career options to suit the learner’s gifts and talents. After the assessment, the learners where give a report on the possible career options they can pursue.
“I always knew I wanted to become an engineer, and now I know what kind of engineering I will do“, said Koketso Manyama after receiving her assessment report.
The branch also had a visit from Love Life who facilitated dialogues on teenage pregnancy and safe sex practices. The organization also had a number of outdoor activities which promote teamwork and leadership amongst the IkamvaYouth learners. This act helped learners socialize, connect and have fun together. The branch finished the week with the Agora Talent Show organized by the learner representatives of the branch. The first week of winter school concluded with an entertaining treasure hunt. The young talent of Ebony Park showcased their magic to the crowds and tutors treated the audience with a play by the “Mraka Acting Gang” and a performance by Musa the poet.
The second week of winter school was a buildup from the first week, the branch dedicated the second week to tests and assessments of the content covered in week one. The branch covered tests from all subjects with the aim of generating a report to learners. The branch organized a debate and public speaking contest where learners were given topics to challenge their thinking and help them engage with high-level thinking. The branch had a reading club which was aimed at improving learners reading abilities as literacy and reading was a major concern during the first week of winter school. The branch focused on the novel, 1984 by George Orwell and the Sherlock Holmes stories, this was an initiative from tutors to aid reading skills and literacy among the learners. The key objective was to promote reading for meaning which is a major academic problem identified at the branch. There was a resolution to carry on with the reading club and continue advancing reading skills throughout the year.
The week was brought to a close with outdoor games, such as the egg on a spoon race, 30 Seconds, Monopoly and many more.
With the support of Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa; who have been supporting the branch for many years, the Ebony Park branch will continue to address some of the identified challenges our education system is currently facing through volunteerism, hard work, and perseverance to ensure that our future leaders achieved their goals.
Mahikeng Winter School 2017
This year, IkamvaYouth Mahikeng once again hosted a Winter School holiday tutoring program for 60 learners and 18 tutors which was all funded by our partner Coca Cola Beverages South Africa and made successful through the vigorous efforts of a highly motivated group of tutors and the IkamvaYouth learners who earnestly wanted to improve their academics and also enthusiastically engage with their fellow Ikamvanites thorough support programs offered.
The successful Winter School program complimented the core IkamvaYouth programmes that run throughout the year by providing a 2-week opportunity of intensive concentration of academic and non-academic interventions from the 3rd of July to the 14th of July. The highlights of this year’s programme included: focused tutoring sessions in all school subjects for a maximum of 44 hours in the 2 weeks; career guidance and mentoring; life-skills workshops, HIV testing (with the consent of the parents); aerobics (facilitated in house) and the Talent Show to end of the holiday program. The learners are looking forward to attending a CCBSA plant tour and Career Day on the 24th of July 2017 (when the schools re-open).
Every morning before tutoring sessions began; we held an assembly and conducted various energizers and icebreakers. The essential component of IkamvaYouth’s Winter School is the academic component. Tutors offered the learners assistance in their school work, past exam papers and homework to enable the learners to focus on areas and subjects they struggle with. Tutoring sessions also help learners improve their confidence in speaking English while improving their grades. Learners also received an hour of one-on-one tutoring sessions. Each subject had an assigned tutor who was assisting the learners, and the tutor sat with the group for the entire Winter School duration to ensure maximum impact as they get to finish the conversations they started with the same tutor the next day. This does not normally happen at the branch on normal tutoring days, as the learners sit with different tutors on different days for the same subject.
A few workshops focused mainly around themes relating to life skills, HIV/Aids awareness and voluntary testing, career guidance, and physical activities were held throughout the two week period. Different stakeholders (such as Lifeline Mafikeng, Families South Africa (FAMSA), (South African National Tuberculosis Association (SANTA) and South African Police Services- Mahikeng (SAPS), came to present to the learners and tutors on various aspects they specialize in.
- Lifeline Mahikeng
The Lifeline facilitators came to the branch to discuss the importance of family and how to respect one another. They emphasized that the one cannot live without a family and that the learners should abstain to avoid unwanted pregnancies. The learners enjoyed the session and related to it by speaking about how they see some of their families living in difficult situations and they do not want to put themselves in such a tight corner.
- Lifeline Mahikeng (Voluntary HIV Testing and Counseling)
The organisation came in to the branch to conduct voluntary HIV testing. Before the testing began, learners were taken into the hall for encouragement to participate and pre-counseling. They facilitated a highly interactive and engaging session on managing one’s personal health, particularly with regards to HIV/Aids. About 55 of the learners including tutors took the opportunity for voluntary counseling and testing. This was done so that learners and tutors know their HIV status and encouraged to live healthy lives.
SANTA explained to the learners how HIV and Aids inter-link with each other. They also highlighted that for one person to get TB, it does not mean that you contract it from a person with it, and mentioned that anyone can get TB from anywhere.
FAMSA brought professional social workers to facilitate a session on the issues of peer-pressure. They explained to the learners that anyone, at any age can feel the pressure.
On the 14th of July, the last day of the Winter School programme learners came to showcase their talents. With the theme being “The future is in your hands” the learners entertained their fellow Ikamvanites and parents/guardians with different performances. What a day! This was a fantastic opportunity for the learners to unwind for a day and enjoy some great performances as well as see another side of the tutors and IY staff who were also participating in the talent show.
The Mahikeng tutor who won “best tutor” of the 2017 Winter School with the most learner votes was Thapelo Mulutsi, a 3rd year Wits student studying Electrical Engineering who is originally from Mafikeng. Thapelo was the guest tutor for Winter School period and has assured the branch staff that he will dedicate more of his time at the Gauteng branches as he is residing there now while at tertiary.
After having spent a week in their respective high schools, the Matrics spent 3 days at the branch practicing together.
Thursday was the time to relax and breathe. Discovering about weather forecast, sea rescue, maritime maps and careers ensuring the operation of a lighthouse.
IY would like to particularly thank Mvumekazi Sogcwayi, Celeste Helm and Jacques Dondo for their precious support to the learners.
IkamvaYouth has started the year with a flurry of training activities. So far we have trained:
• 43 Branch and Programme Coordinators in Facilitating Learning Methodologies
• 8 Branch and Programme Coordinators in Meaningful Mentoring in Gauteng;
• 88 tutors in Western Cape (from 5 IkamvaYouth branches, and 6 partner organisations); and
• 92 tutors in Gauteng from 14 organisations (21 Wits, 37 IY Tutor Training, 34 Partner Tutor Training)
This is just the start to strengthening our vision!
The year ahead will be packed with exciting workshops and short courses, such as:
To view the 2017 training schedule and course outlines got to: http://www.ikamvayouthzone.org/resource/
Please note that the dates are subject to change, so please contact us to confirm dates.
If you have any ideas of training that you, your tutors, or learners need, get in touch with Pepe or Zoe at
firstname.lastname@example.org (062 097 2805) or email@example.com (074 476 7965) respectively.
We are whole-heartedly committed to impact in the after-school sector. We aim to increase the
reach of our activities so that more learners have access to high quality tutoring programmes.
This necessitates the deepening of our impact and ensuring that all interactions that IkamvaYouth,
our partners and the growing numbers of dedicated tutors have with the learners are rich, meaningful
We should constantly ask ourselves: ‘Are we doing the best that we can for our learners?’
It is through questioning and being open to learning that we can adapt to the real needs of the people
that we serve and ultimately have the lasting impact that we seek.
Achieving Vision 2030 is only possible with this mind-set of evolution and growth!
You are welcome to come and learn with us!
Please join us in our quest to bring learners out of poverty!
I’m so proud to be a part of the Umlazi branch. We have tutors who arevolunteering their time to help our dedicated learners who have decided that they want better futures and are willing to start now to work towards it. The committed staff always go above and beyond their payroll. I would like to send a vote of thanks to everyone.
We are a family at Umlazi branch, from our sponser CCBSA (through representative Sam Nkosi) to the parents who helped us and donated netball and soccer kits for our Winter school sports day. Winter school was a success learners attended in their numbers, so much so that we didn’t have any kick-outs.
“Sport’s day was fantastic and let’s not forget our matric camp which was fabulous. We were so excited about everything and are now waiting to write our final exams so that we can also give back and be tutors.” Asanda Gumede
We had a matric camp this year, with World changers Academy. There we were able to learn and interact a whole lot more with our matric learners and the tutors. Our matrics did a leadership course that covered vision, leadership, team building, goal setting, relationships and healing of the past.
“IY and world changers has helped us so much in developing the skills we need to become the progressive leaders we want to be” Zekhethelo Ngcobo
The Mahikeng Branch in the North West is fortunate to have tutors who are committed to playing a vital role in the lives of Ikamvanites. These passionate tutors take time from their busy study schedules to help learners increase their chances of accessing a dignified living. What is exciting about our diverse team of tutors is the fact that it also includes students who are very close to completing their tertiary studies, which serves to further inspire our learners. Tutors not only dedicate their time, but also their knowledge and understanding of the different subjects they did in high school. They also ensure that by the time the learners leave the sessions they have a clearer understanding of their school work. The greatest thing about our tutoring sessions would be that learners show dedication to their work and reaching their life goals. While our learners focus on improving their performance, they also continuously inspire one another. Those learners who are performing fairly well use the tutoring space to assist one another through collaboration and peer-to-peer support. In the end the hard work the Ikamvanites put in pays off.
The tutors see a lot of potential in the learners and believe that they can obtain the results they need to help themselves out of poverty through education. Learners in townships are faced with challenging problems such as having to drop out of school and having to resort to other choices which they believe they can improve their lives.One of the IkamvaYouth values is openness and integrity and it is well practiced in our branch as most of our learners are open about the challenges they face and are in an environment where they can access different information on how to find solutions.
Hearing some of our tutor’s views:
Quinta NAWEJI Yombi from Taletso FET College has been part of the branch since September 2015 and this is what he had to say about our learners and the tutoring space as a whole. “Our ikamvanites show respect to the tutors, and each other even though they hail from different schools. They all want to see themselves with a bright future, they show openness and are able to show commitment to improve their marks by working together as one. Their openness is so much that that they allow us do our work as tutors and this impact will certainly lead them to a bright future, as they will also be able to give back to the community the kind of knowledge they have achieved. We believe that as tutors and ikamvanites, to serve tomorrow’s new generation is through-education. Nelson Mandela said “Education is a very powerful weapon that we can use to change the world”.
Selorm Awudestey is a tutor in Geography, English, History and help with other subjects. She started volunteering at IkamvaYouth last year.My experience so far with the learners has been interesting. As these learners are all unique and each have different or similar approaches towards their studies. There are some learners who are shy to ask for assistance while others are talkative and don’t mind asking a lot of questions of which benefits the entire group. I try my best to implement a need for studying and encourage them to read as much as possible, not just their school books but various books to help them think better, analyze different subjects from all perspectives and generally to learn how to think out of the box.
A view from our Ikamvanites:
Joese’ Mentoor a learner from Danville Secondary School outlined that his experience is so unbelievable because he has never achieved any high marks in his school work until he joined IkamvaYouth. “I am so grateful to IkamvaYouth for giving me the opportunity to make my parents and this organisation-proud.”
Omphemetse Serapelo Learner from Leteane Secondary School mentioned that she loves IkamvaYouth as it helped her to improve her marks, “to learn communication skills between different peers around me and to be a better person as a whole. Sis B and Ausi Bonolo are the best, they give us the kind of support we need to be comfortable and have confidence in ourselves. We are grateful to have tutors who are able to explain the work in full to us and have the patience to explain it more than 5 times without being annoyed about it.” She said
Our organisation is truly fortunate to work with these amazing Ikamvanites
For more information about IkamvaYouth Mahikeng please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org