SWD Youth Camp Promotes Principle of Ubuntu
“Umntu ngumtu ngabantu” (a person is a person because of other people). This was the most important lesson learned by young people from South Western Districts (SWD) who attended the regional youth camp at Lake Brenton, Knysna, from 30 August to 1 September 2013.
About 81 youths between the ages of 14 and 25 and eight young volunteers participated in the camp led by the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS), in partnership with Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA). The event is the first in a series of four regional camps to explore themes of social inclusion, leadership, nation building and personal character development.
The programme’s emphasis on the importance of human kindness, trust and teamwork had a positive impact on many participants. “We learned many lessons at this camp, most importantly, that ubuntu must start with oneself before it can have an impact on others,” said Luntu Madikane (17) of George.
Juanita Allies (16) of Beaufort West said she found the workshops and sport and recreational activities very interesting. “This brought out the best in us, as well as building trust among team members in the various groups. I’ve made many friends and will definitely apply these lessons in my life and share them with my community.”
Chrishane Fortuin (21) from Oudtshoorn who studies at University of the Western Cape (UWC) said he didn’t expect the camp to have such an impact on him. “I thought it was going to be about sport activities. The highlight for me was the discussions our groups had about sex, teenage pregnancy and HIV/Aids.” The facilitator, Dr Randall Raubenheimer, encouraged the youths to dream big and be open to broadening their horizons. “Most importantly, you must be thankful for what you have.”
DCAS SWD youth camp co-ordinator Mr Armien White complimented participants and volunteers for their enthusiastic participation in the programme, which included exercise sessions, learning the national anthem and participating in a talent show based on the themes of the programme. He said that, because participants enjoyed the experience, the lessons they learned have the potential to affect lives in their communities too.
“Have open discussions about the topics you debated here. Share these with others and practice the teachings of ubuntu,” he told participants. White added that participants should use the skills that they learned at the camp to contribute practically to social inclusion in their communities.
The SWD and Boland regional camp (Grabouw, 30 August – 1 September 2013) were the first regional events. Camps will be held for the Cape Metropole region (Grabouw, 6 – 8 September) and the West Coast region (Riebeek West, 6 – 8 September 2013). A total of 300 youths will then be selected from the four regional camps to participate in the provincial camp to take place at Waterval in Tulbagh from 23 to 27 September 2013.
DCAS made it possible for SWD youths to leave the camp with valuable life lessons, while potentially strengthening communities through the principle of ubuntu. This fits closely with the Western Cape Government’s slogan of “better together”.