SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION DRIVEN BY SOUTH AFRICA’S EMERGING, SERVANT LEADERS

 

SAWIP inspires, develops and supports annual teams of interns and its whole alumni body to bring about community development through social projects amongst the most disadvantaged and marginalised South Africans.

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Panel on Sport In Fostering Unity

by Safa Naraghi
Safa Naraghi
Safa Naraghi is currently completing his final year of a BSc in Mechanical Engin
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on Thursday, 23 July 2015
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On the 18th of July, the SAWIP team participated in Mandela Day celebrations at Frederick Collage. In honor of Nelson Mandela, the collage had organised panels discussing his legacy. I was chosen to speak on sport in Fostering Unity and how it related to my experiences. The following are my opening remarks on the day:

 

"Good morning ladies and Gentlemen,

 

My name is Safa Naraghi; I am here representing the South African Washington International Program, abbreviated as SAWIP.

 

When I was asked to speak on my experiences in sport today, I sat down with a pen and paper to jot down some key points. The first three things that came to mind were, why am I sitting down? Why do I have a pen in my hand? Why I am writing this in English… Surely there is a universal language understood by all that requires no defined form of speech… And of course there is one. It’s sport. However, I have been given a mic today and not a soccer ball so I will do my best to speak on this topic using the english language.

 

Sport in fostering unity… Well to start off, Unity  is a complex topic. I mean its multifacited and it would take more than my life time to tackle it all. However, I believe that it starts from the bottom. It starts from the little things that happen in our day-to-day lives that help us understand each other better.

 

My story starts when I was a little boy, I had just started grade two at a new school in my hometown of Mafikeng in the North West Province of South Africa. It is quite common for South African schools to have morning assemblies every Monday. But there was something special that stood out to me every time I walked into the assembly. It was this picture(Show picture of Mandela shaking Francois Pienaars hand at the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final - picture below). This picture hung over the large wooden stage at the top of the hall where we conducted our morning assemblies. For those of you that don’t know or can’t see this is Nelson Mandela and this here is Francois Pienaar. Francois Pienaar was the captain of the 1995 South African national rugby team that won the rugby world cup final in South Africa that year. Many people say this was the turning point for the country. It was 80 minutes that the country forgot their recent past and stood behind one team. They stood behind the National Rugby Team, They stood behind the Bokke. Even though rugby was seen as a white mans sport, the sport of the oppressor, the spirit of unity overcome that all. Even my father, who is the least sport conscious and least athletic person I have even met, watched the game. The depths to which it penetrated were simply amazing.

 

Now, I can’t say I experienced that. I was a mere 3 years old on that cold 24th of July 1995. But the story of that day sparked my love for the game. I played rugby throughout primary and high school days. What I distinctly remember is my grade 11 year playing rugby. This was the first year that I had a true chance of making the provincial rugby team. I played rugby for a nearby school (with mostly Afrikaans students) as my school didn’t offer rugby. It was a Tuesday afternoon at one of our rugby practices when my principal  came to watch the practice session. At this session I heard my coach telling him that I was one of the promising candidates for the provincial team that year… in replying, I overheard the principal saying that he didn’t believe that I would make it… You see, I was out of place to some extent being an Indian looking Persian boy in an Afrikaans dominated team. Let alone a rugby team, rugby being Afrikaans dominated sport in South Africa. I don't hold it against my principal for not believing that I would make it that year, however his comments did stick with me. They really motivated me to challenge that profiling barrier that still existed.

 

Sure enough, that year I made the provincial team. I vividly remember our first game together as a team. It was a really close game and I think that it was my best performance on the rugby field. After the game we huddled together and had a mini debrief on what happened on the field that day. Before we started speaking about the game, the captain, Gordon said he had something to say. These words have stuck in my head ever since, “Can everybody admit” he said, “that they have never seen an Indian play rugby like Safa did today”…

 

Now, that statement has had so much meaning to me throughout my life. It primarily draws on the issue of prejudice within our communities that still exsists. I was reminded of this statement  a week ago at one of our SAWIP sessions with Dr/Mr Enos Banda. The SAWIP team knows what I am about to speak on very well as we all grappled with the sentiments Dr/Mr Banda shared with us on that day. He said Prejudice is a result of laziness. When one is lazy, it is easy for us to box the other and associate certain stereotypes with them. Of course it is in our human nature to be lazy. We are happy in our comfort zones and we don’t see the need to extend out of them, to learn things about other people. Other people who do not look like us, enjoy the food we like, understand the language we speak or even think our taste in music is pretty strange… It is this laziness that paralyzes us, limiting us to remain within the confines of what we fear to unlearn.

 

I would like to believe that Gordon had a realization that day. A realization that he had boxed me as an “Indian” who probably didn’t know how to play rugby… I feel that there are many instances where sport highlighted prejudices and realigned our thoughts about the “other”. Furthermore it does so without us even knowing it. It's like bridging out of the comfort zone and we don't even realize it. This for me is one of the most powerful tools sport offers in unity,, the ability to transcend the apparent differences between us and highlight similarities that we are simply often not aware of.

 

Thank you"

Tags: race, unity, sport
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The Booklet

by Safa Naraghi
Safa Naraghi
Safa Naraghi is currently completing his final year of a BSc in Mechanical Engin
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on Wednesday, 22 July 2015
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There’s this funny things that students do… I don’t know if it happens at all universities but it’s pretty common at UCT. All you have to do is lend a keen ear to the conversations that take place around you at the start of a new semester (or after vac as it’s commonly known amongst students). It always goes something like this, “Hey bru, how are you doing?? How was vac??”… Of course answering this question honestly, and with enough detail so as not to come across as rude, gets pretty tiresome… But you do find a few that soldier on past the 1st week answering this question to the best of their ability.

 

As you can imagine, this question is even more of a headache for me than it is for most people.  There is so much to the amazing summer (American Summer that is) experience that is SAWIP and it can never be covered over an encounter in the hallways of the Menzies Building or just before our Industrial Ecology lecture. Sometimes I wish I had made a booklet. A booklet that would outline my entire trip. I imagine what it would look like sometimes… It would have a cover page with some of the teams most epic photos (like the one in front of the White House), a table of contents listing my experiences in chronological order and an album section with pictures of all the fun times. It would also have a few links to a collection of YouTube videos and sound clips we produced over our time in DC and NYC.

 

But stepping out of dreamland and back into reality, I am faced with actually summarising my trip in just a few minutes. I think I have come to learn how to do a good job of it of late. Practice makes perfect, and I have had a lot of practice. I just wish it didn’t have to be so rushed all the time… There’s just so much to tell. Everyday I am persuaded a little more that making the booklet is the only way. Maybe I will make it one day…

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Farewell Speech

by Abongile Mjokozeli
Abongile Mjokozeli
Open minded. Open Hearted, Lover of Things, Occasional realist and full time dre
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on Wednesday, 22 July 2015
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Good Evening ladies and Gentleman,

 

Tonight I want to give you a glimpse into my past, present and future. I want to share a bit of my hopes and dreams with you.

 

You see, self-doubt, self-destruction, unworthiness, identity crisis, rejection are the feelings and emotional roller coasters I know far too well but most importantly are the reason I stand before you this evening.

 

Applying to be part of the SAWIP program, my goal was to be an agent of change, an advocate of purpose driven living, a true inspiration and living proof of achieving personal growth against all odds and fundamentally to also tell every African child that their dreams are valid.

 

I believe that no matter who you are, your life circumstances and background has been created for a specific purpose and life can never be over until that purpose is realised, lived and accomplished.

 

Being a black, Mormon, Queer, growing up in impoverished communities, missing out on opportunities because of lack of information, inconvenient access to opportunities, are just some of the conditions that many like myself live through and are also the reason a lot of people give up on their dreams and never get to experience life outside of their imposed conditions.

 

Ladies and Gentleman, I also know the victory and fulfilment that comes from making it against all odds and living your best life, the life we were rightfully born and free to have. I strongly reckon that positive personal beliefs, attitude, values and actions that a person practices, by far outweigh the negative perceptions and treatment of another person.

 

I have learned that SAWIP is underpinned by a group of people that give tirelessly of their time and expertise. We have interacted with a pool of people who are doing incredible things and in so many ways giving back to Society. For that, I want to say to everyone who has hand in the success of this year’s group, our team values the opportunities that we have been exposed to, thank you.

 

I now know and understand what it takes to run an organisation such as SAWIP, the strategic and financial planning that is required, while at the same time keeping everyone happy with engagements, maintaining the honour and integrity of SAWIP, while still being open to innovative change.

 

To my host family…thank you for your generosity, love and care. Words fail me in articulating what you all mean to me.

 

It has been a significant learning curve for me and one which I undoubtedly learned a great deal.

 

I also just need to acknowledge just how much I have been shaped by my colleagues and friends in this team. I have so many different experiences that have impacted on my life in a memorable and meaningful way.

 

It is a result of all of these experiences that my personal journey and that of being part of SAWIP, I have committed my life to empowering young people to overcome personal limitations that deprive them the opportunity of living purposeful, productive and fruitful lives.

 

So…for the next coming years, I hope the SAWIP team of 2015 will actively be involved in facilitating the empowerment of human beings be it in the Corporate or Community context and help people realise their dreams and aspirations whether personal, relationships, career, business or spiritual.

 

Thank You.

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Dear Minky

by Jabulile Mpanza
Jabulile Mpanza
Jabulile is currently studying towards a master’s degree in Economic Development
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on Tuesday, 21 July 2015
Experience 6 Comments

 

An open letter to my late sister Gugulethu ‘Minky’ Mpanza

 

Imagine if I told you that all my dreams came true? Imagine if I said that I cut all my hair off, just to grow it and dread it? Well dread it in the literal sense… I still remain as witty as ever.

 

Suppose I say to you that by 24 I have travelled overseas by myself more than twice and suddenly see myself temporarily living outside of SA and her comfort? Imagine I said to you that I actually liked the whole school thing and have even decided to pursue my masters? Well that might not surprise you much. But, can you conceive a time when I am finally comfortable with being called ‘Jabu’ and quite like it actually? Is it possible for you to fathom that my conception of beauty, blackness and skin have completely changed? Are you able to understand that others outside our family see me as a worthy investment: be it in time, money or even encouragement? Is it comprehendible to you that I get to enter places like the World Bank and casually walk the streets of New York?

 

Minky it happens. All of it actually happens. I am not where I thought I would be, neither am I where I ultimately dream to be, but thank God I am not where or who I used to be.

 

You have been gone a long time, but not a week goes by without me thinking of you, where you would be now and what we would be doing together. Now I know you would not approve of me writing a letter, never mind an open letter (it’s this thing that people do a lot these days when they want to critically address people, but want everyone to know about) to you because you would be disappointed that I suddenly think that the deceased can exercise physical human senses. Moreover, you would be disappointed that I took a pen and wrote about feelings and stuff. Well I think I am becoming a feelings kinda girl, hugs are still weird though.

 

So I write this knowing full well that you will never be able to read it, but instead I write it because I never want to forget you and I want the world to know. To know me, through a glimpse of the woman you inspired me to become. I write it because I want our siblings to continue to celebrate you and remember that you inspired us to dream. It is for them who never knew you and those who did to be able to look back and see how even the darkest times in our lives are a part of the build up to our destinies. You might have never had the opportunity to live out all your dreams, but the beauty is that you had them. University, opportunity, SAWIP have shown me that sometimes to just have them, to believe in them, visualize them, is on its own a path worth traveling.

 

You would be proud to know that I have walked this journey, all of it over the last ten years in the company of good people. As uGogo still says “do not be deceived. Bad company corrupts good character”. It is therefore the character of the people around me that has allowed me to thrive for greatness and dare to dream. By surrounding myself with people that have aspirations as crazy as mine, I have found my normal.

 

Your legacy has inspired me.

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Ubuntu Awards

by Faith Pienaar
Faith Pienaar
Faith Pienaar is qualified winemaker and viticulturist. She is currently pursui
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on Thursday, 16 July 2015
Experience 1 Comment

The SAWIP community recognized two remarkable individuals namely Senator Richard Lugar and Congressman James Clyburn by honoring them with an Ubuntu Award for their servant leadership. In a previous blog entry, I wrote about the value of inter-generational conversation and interaction that young people need more of in our society. This celebration provided just that, a reflection on leadership in a different context (or generation) to inspire a new generation of thought leaders.

 

I had the privilege of honoring Senator Lugar at the awards, below is my address for the occasion:

 

“Recently the team engaged in a conversation on democracy, governance and the socio-economic challenges facing South Africa. One of my team members expressed gratitude to the many countries, organizations and individuals around the world who took on the anti-Apartheid struggle in the midst of their own societal challenges.  What she expressed made me wonder where South Africa would be today had it not been for the intentional involvement by the international community. Tonight, the SAWIP community recognizes one such individual: Senator Richard Green Lugar for his bold leadership against the South African Apartheid regime. His life in the Senate spans a remarkable 35 years. He has previously served on the Foreign Relations, Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry committees. In November of 2013, he was awarded the Presidential medal for Freedom by President Obama.

 

Senator Lugar represented Indiana in the Senate and headed the committee that urged President Reagan, at the time, to put more pressure on the government of South Africa.  This led to the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, a law enacted by the United States Congress that imposed sanctions against South Africa. The Act triggered sanctions in Europe and Japan and resulted in the loss of confidence by the global banking community in the economy of South Africa. The Senator himself sites his work in this regard as one of the brightest moments in his public service career.

 

Our concept of Ubuntu as we know as South Africans is  “I am because you are.” Ubuntu speaks particularly to the fact that we cannot exist as a human beings in isolation, and further we cannot only think of ourselves but must strive to take a global response to meet the shared global challenges we face. South Africa now enjoys political freedom, and a robust democracy because of the collective works done by our own liberation movements together with many international partners around the globe who valued and continue to value justice, human rights and equality.

 

As a young South African leader I am inspired by the steadfast commitment displayed by Senator Lugar. As a participant of the South African Washington International Program I am moved to be a driver of social and economic transformation for my country and my continent.

 

American business management writer Tom Peters once said that

 

“Organizations exist to serve. Leaders exist to serve and servant leaders transform society”

 

To honor a life of servant leadership we present Senator Richard Lugar an Ubuntu award for his moral and political leadership in the fight against apartheid and for setting a standard of courageous public service that continues to inspire a diverse new generation of international leaders.”

 

I am a huge fan of celebrating people, in fact I think that we don’t do it enough. I am glad that I am part a community that not only develops young emerging leaders but also acknowledge those who have impacted society in a big way.

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BOY MEETS GIRL

by Nadia Gava
Nadia Gava
For a small girl, Nadia has a big mouth and big opinions. She enjoys the occasio
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on Wednesday, 15 July 2015
Experience 3 Comments

I know I’m 23. I know that means I’m supposed to be hip and trendy and ‘down with the technology’, but I’m not…and here’s the bigger shock, I’m not even ashamed of it. I like paging through a book and smelling the stale secondhand smell, as opposed to pretentiously sliding my finger across the screen of my Kindle. I am an avid user of Twitter and I dabble in the pretenses of Facebook every now and then. I don’t even have (wait for it) Instagram anymore (pause for gasps and sounds of shock). Despite being your grandmother stuck in your friend’s body, I am well aware of the importance and power of social media. It is imperative for the success of every business, organisation, social movement, political campaign (one word: Obama) to leverage the social media marketing for growth. Jamie Lee Wallace wrote an interesting piece on social media a while ago, and it’s this piece that got me thinking (which is rarely a good thing, but in this case, I considered a few things differently…)

 

Whether you’re already fully engaged in conversations in the bar that is social media or still the wallflower standing at the side awkwardly bobbing your head to the music, you need to realise the power of social media. Your ideal target market is that cute girl with the dimples standing at the bar and you’re social media presence is the guy trying to get her number. Now the question is, what kind of guy are you?

 

1.)    The big talker: remember that the key in social media is “social” – people need to be able to openly and comfortably engage with your different platforms; they’re not just interested in how great you are or what you can offer them, they want to exchange ideas. Stop pushing promotional emails into their inboxes and jamming your account details into their palms. No phone number for you.

2.)    The wallflower: don’t be a lurker, don’t expect to set up accounts and trust the followers will join en masse. Yes, I know it’s difficult to put yourself out there, but that perfect girl isn’t just going to walk up to you and hand you her number (unless you live in a Weezer song) – you need to spark interesting conversations and find a common interest. No phone number for you.

3.)    The Boytjie: we know it’s lekke to chill with the oaks and laugh at that time at the game when someone did something idiotic, but constantly communicating with the same accounts might give the impression that you are not approachable or that you don’t pay attention to others. You need to involve accounts and people from all walks of life; get out of your comfort zone. Sorry tjom, go back to the gym, no phone number for you.

 

So, let me, Nadia Gava, the guru of the bar scene (as I am typing this it is virtually impossible to keep a straight face) tell you how to catch the eye of that cute girl. Firstly, you need to provide value. In other words, make sure that you engage your followers with relevant, interesting and useful information. Listen to others, observe what they are doing and connect them with good resources; share tips from your own experiences. And, I know this is difficult guys (emphasis on the abovementioned guys), but you need to offer a service that has no strings attached!

 

Secondly, you need to listen. This is not all about you; create the opportunity for your followers to share stories and experiences from their side and you’ll see how much you can learn from others. You need to pay attention to any feedback you receive, regardless of whether it strokes or strikes your ego.

 

Thirdly, be yourself. Yes, as throughout history, mom is proven to be right again: it is always best to be yourself. Here, I need to add a caveat: you represent a brand on social media and thus can’t use the typical language or attitude you would in a conversation with your oaks at the gym, clean it up a bit guys.

 

So it’s easy right? Be interesting, be attentive and be authentic. You’ll get that number. And when you do, don’t wait three days before calling her.

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We Have Good Stories To Tell

by Daniël Eloff
Daniël Eloff
Daniël Eloff is currently a third year undergraduate student at the University o
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on Wednesday, 15 July 2015
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How the media reports and writes stories is often a controversial and heated topic. Press freedom has a chequered history in South Africa. In general our media has played a key part in the fall of Apartheid. Our often critical and engaging media has resulted in the it fulfilling its role as a watchdog in our young democracy. This characteristic of our media has ensured that 21 years into democracy our government, private sector and population at large are all checked up on.

 

Recently we had the privilege of meeting South African officials at the South African Consulate for the United Nations. Here we met and engaged with figures who actively work to better South Africa’s position within the United Nations.

 

Sitting down for the session I prepared my questions and I was ready to go in with all my figurative guns blazing, hoping to get an answer on why the Department of International Relations and Cooperation has not pushed for much needed reform within the United Nations, in particular the UN Security Council and how has the consulate tried to secure more foreign investment.

 

What struck me out of their answer was how much of their work and efforts go unnoticed as well as how little we hear and read about their successes. Secondly it was interesting to note how difficult it is to enact change from within the United Nations and to hear how these problems are actively being dealt with.

 

Without discussing anything they mentioned in particular, I found it quite refreshing to engage with South Africans who have a frank and very pragmatic opinion on the problems faced by the intergovernmental organization itself as well as South Africa as a country within this context. Furthermore their plans are not formed from nicely written rhetoric but rather from experience and a practical approach which really gives a sense of how big an active global actor South Africa really is.

 

My thoughts after this insightful session was why do we as South Africans not hear more about these efforts and successes?

 

One could argue that it is the responsibility of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to showcase what has been achieved by them. Yet surely something more should be published by our private media in South Africa. If our media has the social responsibility to expose issues they should have the same responsibility to report on what does get done and what has been successful.

 

Obviously this anecdote is based on my personal experience and limited to purely what happened and was said that evening at the consulate, but I do strongly believe that our media has to fulfill its role to a much greater extent.

 

The spirit of the South African media of being critical and keeping government and businesses on their toes should always remain and never change, but it would not hurt asking the Adriaan Bassons’ and Chris Roper’s of South Africa to write about some insightful good stories now and then.

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The Grind

by Leroy Nyarhi
Leroy Nyarhi
Young African man. Raised by women. Brother to many. Student of the honest and i
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on Wednesday, 15 July 2015
Experience 2 Comments

Part of the Sawip experience in Washington DC is the professional exposure received through the work placements at various organisations. Each team member is placed to work in a firm, be it for profit or a non-governmental organisation. More often than not, the placements are aligned with the student’s career field of interest or academic background.

The placements were enriching. We each received different types of experiences and through conversations exchanged the value of what we were learning at our placements. This is a brief description of my experience.

One of the senior staff at the Corporate Council on Africa, where I was working as throughout the 5 weeks in DC ran an informal series of lessons in which he monitored my execution of tasks and where necessary shows me how things are done “in the US.” Through this I learnt new corporate etiquette and skills, but also realised that Africa isn’t far off from the way things are done in leading economies such as in the states.

I was able to attend a trade mission session with a business delegation from Zimbabwe which had travelled to the United Kingdom and the United States in a bid to attract investment into the country. The experience was surreal. Here were business leaders of multi-million dollar operations pitching a country’s economy to foreign investors at the Corporate Council on Africa’s boardroom. As a business science student, I was able to witness first-hand the manner in which foreign direct investment is sought after, the interactions of business owners and investors, what political risk means for investor relations, the importance of collaboration and the effect of reign exchange risk. These were all areas I have engaged during my studies.

I have left the Corporate Council with a broader perspective about business in Africa. I have a greater understanding of the continent, the landscape, politics and leading businesses in different African countries. The experience has given me an opportunity to combine my studies with real life exposure.

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"Nilikuonyesha nyota na uliangalia kidole tu"

by Cyan Brown
Cyan Brown
Cyan Brown- University of Pretoria Cyan is a fourth year medical student with a
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on Tuesday, 14 July 2015
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"Nilikuonyesha nyota na uliangalia kidole tu"

This beautiful Swahilian proverb translates into : I pointed to the stars, yet all you saw was the tip of my finger
The above quote speaks to the subject of potential and perhaps the very essence of what SAWIP has meant to me. For many in society choose to only see the tip of their finger, the reality of their circumstance and don't dare to look further on to the stars, but SAWIP is a program that has taught me to see possibility and potential that exceeds my current reality.
SAWIP has taken me on a journey of discovery, not only for where I am headed but also where I am from. Discussions on identity, race, culture and heritage have prompted me to reevaluate my own context and the roots in which I am embedded.

My South African story is one that has been enriched with cultural diversity and shaped by a mother who believed in becoming the product of choice not circumstance. Throughout my childhood, I was encouraged to connect with others I would have not ordinarily interacted with, through sport, and so would spend Saturdays running cross-country in our local townships of Soweto, Orange farm and Attridgeville, Sundays competing in biathlon events with the Sentraal Gauteng Tweekamp Span (the local biathlon team) while living in a home where a diverse and interesting group of people seemed to permanently revolve through our doors. A few of these people included my mother’s running partner, a spirited local Xhosa man who taught me about the value of community and our local mechanic who insisted I learn the value of hard work from a young age.

The beauty of getting to acknowledge your roots in a team comes with the opportunity to understand another's. From the individuals in the team, to management and all the Americans that we get to interact with on this journey, it's been so incredibly powerful to understand another persons journey through actually getting to experience their context. For me, SAWIP has really created a space for the meeting of worlds that allows for necessary but uncomfortable conversations about ourselves, our countries past and what the future  of South Africa looks like through the eyes of Its citizens as well as those looking on from the outside.

 

 

 

The chance to live and work, and not just have a holiday, in the United States has expanded my views of the world in so many ways. I had arrived in America with many perceptions and ideas of what this country was all about, but many of them have been shattered. Getting to visit Arlington cemetery, the 9/11 memorial, and hear people speak of how war has personally devastated them, allowed me to understand the sacrifices and contributions this country has made to the world. Exploring the racial relations, history of slavery and economic inequality that exists has allowed me to better understand today's American people. Conversations on American and South African ties have allowed me to evaluate the many forces that craft the interaction of these two countries and insight into American   History has given me a far better understanding of the world as it is today and allowed me to see beyond the tip of my finger by just understanding South Africa, but rather to understand South Africa in the context of the world.

 

 

 

The most meaningful part of my SAWIP adventure has certainly been the people. A lot of what I've learnt on this journey are concepts that books are unable to teach. Getting to spend time with people who are passionate about South Africa and the core values of SAWIP  and service has been incredibly enriching. I've learnt so much from the conversations, the attitude, the opinions and the habits of those around me that I consider golden strains of wisdom I will certainly treasure.

 

 

 

Some of the most important people on this journey are certainly the host parents. The kindness of the individuals and families who let strangers into their homes is overwhelming. They say in Africa it takes a village to raise a child, and through this experience you have become part of a South African village seeking to raise children with a sense of purpose and elicit their potential. Thank you for your care, for the conversations and for your selfless willingness to be a part of a program that will benefit our beloved South Africa in the years to come.

 

 

 

SAWIP has forever changed me, it's encouraged me to spend more time outside of my comfort zone than I ever thought I could handle and its shown me not just the potential of looking to the stars, but rather the whole universe. It's given me an extended family and reaffirmed my passion and vision for the place I call home. And so regardless of your nationality or role in SAWIP I would like to thank you for being a part of a program to change legacies, lives and nations for the better. For after all in the wise words of  Margaret mead we should  Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has


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Host family appreciation dinner speech

by Kgosietsile Tsintsing
Kgosietsile Tsintsing
Kgosietsile Tsintsing has not set their biography yet
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on Tuesday, 14 July 2015
Experience 2 Comments

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, my speech today will be themed  new perspectives.


I would like you to think about your viewpoint on sports. What is the most widely viewed sporting event in the world?


The Fifa World Cup is the world’s most widely viewed sporting event, with an estimated 715 million people who watched the final match of the 2006 Fifa World Cup held in Germany. In 2010 the event in South African was broadcasted to 204 countries over 245 different channels. To bring these figures into perspective, the number of viewers of the Super Bowl in 2014 was 111.5 million. The number of viewers who at least watched one minute of the World Cup final in 2010 was 910 million. I am sure you are wondering what relevance this has to my speech, it all begins with my journey, my South African journey.

My Mother is originally from the Eastern Cape and my father from the Free State province. I am of Setwana and Xhosa decent. I spent the developmental stages of my life in the Soweto. I was exposed to various areas within the townships because I had family members spread out within the community. Soweto is diverse with its culture and the way of living. Walking the streets of the township you would be able to hear just how diverse it was. It was highly possible to walk in the streets and hear eight to ten different languages. One could, and still can, learn various languages from interacting in the streets of Soweto. Everything was colourful. People embraced their cultures through their traditional attires. It is a beautiful place to grow up in. I was exposed to African cuisine with different type of dishes, families living in the township could not always afford even that which was necessary; however sharing was a huge concept to live by. It was then that I learnt how to appreciate the simple things in life.
I would play soccer with the other children from dawn to dusk. This was the one activity that kept me on the streets but out of trouble. With this beautiful game I will describe my Leadership Journey.

The different attire that I would see in the in township represent the different teams. The different types of cuisine represent the different style of football that would be adopted by different teams due to different philosophies. I would like to thank the host families for adopting a different style of football. We are grateful for the efforts that were made to tailor your grocery shopping and budgets to meet our dietary requirements. Lee, Mark and Ashley Schneider my host family. I would love to thank you for allowing me to invade your fridge and polish what food there was, it has truly been a great pleasure. Ladies and gentlemen now that you have got your soccer boots on let me proceed with my journey.

My father was offered an opportunity to work in Bryanston which is in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. I witnessed goal driven individuals who were highly ambitious and great achievers. Individuals in this community could afford whatever they wanted due to their successful careers. I had no idea that a concept of play dates existed, growing up in the township I would walk over to my friend’s house and invite him out to play. I remember there was a time I wanted to play with my friend Daniel but his mother came to the door and told me her son was unable to come out and play because he was busy with his schoolwork. Like with football once a team is promoted to a higher division, teams will generally have greater financial resources  at their disposal due to the teams being well established and these teams are afforded greater exposure through sponsorships and support.


The best of teams can never do it alone. Host families you have been staunch supporters of this program and of the team .We would like to thank for the efforts that have been made to make our stay in DC memorable. We are grateful for making us feel like rock-stars at times if not all the time with the chauffeuring services. We thank you for the World class hospitality that football stars would receive at 5 star hotels. This trip would have not been possible without all of you wonderful people in this room.

SAWIP Scouts who took me for trails and liked what I had to offer the team. Making the SAWIP team was promotion to top the flight football league. Such as the English Premier League, the Spanish La liga and Bundesalega which are regarded as the most competitive leagues in the world. Making a debut appearance in top flight football SAWIP has exposed me to valuable insights and knowledge. My SAWIP journey has been a blessing filled with great advancements in my personal development. The program has stretched me beyond my limits and revealed facets within me that I never knew existed. SAWIP has taken me deep within myself, which would have not been possible to find without the help of SAWIP management and the program curriculum.  The Sir Alex Fergusons, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola’s of this club have to be thanked as well.


In closing hosts families you are regarded as Barcelona, arguably the greatest team of our generation. The reason they have achieved great success is due to their philosophy, the style of play the team has adopted is called tiki-taka. This style of football is characterised by short passing movement, working the ball through various channels, and maintaining possession. Each player feeds off the next player’s energy. Host families your spirt of Ubuntu, coming together and working with us is symbolic of this style of play. We are who we are because of you and the sacrifices you have made . reya leboga, Thank you!
.

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New York

by Kgosietsile Tsintsing
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On my arrival to New York I could not help but stand in awe at the significantly high raised building. This occurred just as I got off the bus, everything froze for a minute I was consumed by the sheer height of the buildings. A women snapped me out of my trance as she asked me to get out the way. Now that I was back to my senses I briskly made my way towards the side of the pathway so that I was out of the way of people. As my senses slowly came back to me, I realised some of the senses were very familiar. The noise from all the construction that was going , the cars that were hooting and people having conversations as they walked past. The smell of the city and the latter mentioned reminded of the CBD in Johannesburg. The only difference was that I had laid foot on one of the biggest concrete jungles in the world. I got to witness the infamous fast paced environment New York is know for in person. The SAWIP program did not allow us to settle in. From the bus stop we rushed to the Jazz on the Park hostel, on arrival we had limited time to get ready for our first event at the South African consulate.

 

We were greeted with gloomy weather on our walk to the South African consulate, it began pouring before we reached our destination. On arrival to the consulate we were all damp from the showers from above. This did not dampen the mood as we were received by eager and enthusiastic officials from the consulate. The session started off with a briefing which was facilitated by some of the staff at the consulate such as, Sipho Seakamela who is a Senior Adviser from the Office of the President of the 69th session of the general Assembly at the United Nations . Brigadier General Mongezi Kweta who represents the permanent mission of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations and Lebogang Mokwena who  is the Consul and businesswomen . As a team we were informed about the mandate of the the South African Consulate in New York. I did not know that the consulate was a responsible for economic promotion and seeking business opportunities that would be beneficial for South Africa. The SAWIP team was then granted an opportunity to ask questions about the state and the development of South Africa. The answers to the questions were stimulating leaving the team members with a better understanding of South Africa from a global perspective.

 

To end off the evening we had an opportunity to meet with fellow South Africans at the reception which was hosted at the consulate. We were provided the opportunity  to network and share our  South African journeys with the guest at the reception . This was the best way to spend my first few hours in New York

 

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Annapolis part 2

by Kgosietsile Tsintsing
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My trip to Highland Beach has undoubtedly been the highlight of my SAWIP Experience thus far. I have been favoured with the experiences I have been able to encounter in the USA. I was granted the privilege of sending the day with Claude Roxborough III and Enos Banda who are both SAWIP board members. Claude has family in Highlands beach and had invited Enos ,Abongile, Leroy, Sibahle and I to spend the day with him and his family. There were a few three things that stood out for me during the visit to Highland Beach. Firstly the conversations, the food and the watermelon race.

The open discussion we had amongst the individuals in the house were stimulating. The topics ranged from law, to the economy, relationships and the list goes on. The most interesting aspect for me during this discussion was the story Claude’s father told of him being a soldier and fighting in a war. He brought to our attention how involved the African American community was during the Zulu British War. The African community voiced their opinions through press, they ensured that their viewpoints on the attempt of oppression were condemned by the African American community. The biggest shock came when he explained how the African American soldiers tried to send messages to the Zulu Kingdom about the plans of the British in order to aid them in strategizing for the war that they eventual lost. This was the first time I heard that the African American soldiers tried to assist in the Zulu British and had their intelligence made it to the Zulu Kingdom without being intercepted. I cannot help but think how the landscape of South Africa would have been different today.

 

On the 5th of July every year the community of Highland Beach have a traditional American barbeque. Individuals from the community would contribute food and meet at the picnic spot where the main barbeque took. The sight was magical with the lake at our peripheral I was able to absorb the scenic beauty of the Highlands beach from where I sat. There must have been over 80 people who were dispersed around the picnic area. I had always longed to taste food from an African American and I was not disappointed at all. The food satisfied every single taste bud of mine.

Finally the watermelon race. The community members enter into an annual sailing competition, where competitors raced throughout during day. The prize ceremony was conducted during the picnic. The prize winners were presented watermelons as prizes. I enjoyed the interaction of community, it was not about the prize but all about having a good time and spending it with people close to you.

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Small acts of Kindness and Love

by Mulanga Sinyosi
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The New York Experience

by Abongile Mjokozeli
Abongile Mjokozeli
Open minded. Open Hearted, Lover of Things, Occasional realist and full time dre
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I visited New York City for the first time in my life this summer. Prior to this visit, I had only seen NYC on the big screen (usually on New Year’s Eve), but even then, I had high hopes and BIG expectations.

 

Larger than Life

 

As Alicia Keys says in one of her songs, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” On that very first afternoon, I got a strong taste of what makes NYC so special, reminded me of my first visit to Johannesburg. I arrived in Manhattan on a Wednesday afternoon, and was instantly blown away by the sheer number of people and skyscrapers that engulfed me. We lived in Manhattan with over 1.6 million people living in it! Not forgetting all the tourists and visitors (like us) that pack the streets every single day.

 

So, if you want to stand out from the sea of masses, you had better bring something extraordinary to the table. There is talent to be found EVERYWHERE! Whether you’re trying to break into Broadway, or Wall Street, or even if you’re simply hustlin’ on the subways (from amateur musicians to hip hop dancers), if you want to do it, chances are, many, many other people are already attempting it. If you snooze here, you’ll definitely be left in the dust. They say competition brings out the best in a person… and NYC has got that in spades. I really did feel like a ridiculously small fish in a giant ocean…

 

Dream Massive!

 

If you don’t aspire for much out of life, you really don’t have any business being here. NYC is a place for the dreamers. When you look around, it’s hard not to get inspired and motivated. From the Statue of Liberty, to the Empire State Building, to the new One World Trade Center, there is never a shortage of iconic symbols that represent the best that mankind has to offer. It almost feels as though each new impressive structure that gets built is a way for the dreamers’ to say, “You think what you’ve done is impressive? Try topping this!” And if all that is somehow not enough to impress you, stop by Times Square at night and get lost in the bright lights. Even though I was on a SAWIP trip, in my mind I was thinking, “OK, what’s next? What’s the next remarkable thing I’m going to accomplish in my life?”

 

 

If there’s one thing you can’t label NYC, it’s the word: boring. If you can’t find something to do here, well, you probably won’t find it anywhere else. Good food, music, shows, sports… you name it, NYC has got it. The city never sleeps, so there’s always something going on. NYC offers amazing amenities (except good weather!). And people from all over the world want to live here because of that… These same folks are also willing to pay top dollar for that type of lifestyle.

 

New York City is a most special place, and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to visit and sightsee. I know that if I ever want (or need) to be inspired, I just need to step foot here again. NYC is a place for the dreamers who want to take on life by the horns. Unfortunately, life also moves at the speed of light out here, so if you’re already burnt, it’s probably not the best place to go for pure rest and relaxation. Nevertheless, I had a wonderful time, and am certain that I will want to come back and visit again in the future.

 

“Make your mark in New York and you are a made man.” -Mark Twain

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Blog 10: My American Bag-end

by Anesu Mbizvo
Anesu Mbizvo
Anesu Mbizvo is a lover of all things wonderful; delicious food, great music, fr
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For those of you who may not be Hobbit or Lord of the Rings enthusiasts, Bag-end is the cozy home of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

 

As a similarly inquisitive and travelling little hobbit, my American Bag-end equates to my much-loved (and self-named) “Schneider Chalet” in McLean, Virginia.

 

As part of the Washington aspect of the SAWIP experience, individual students are allocated to American host families with whom they stay for the duration of their time in Washington D.C.

 

I was fortunate enough to be placed with the Schneider family during my stay in Washington. The Schneider family is made up of married couple Lee and Mark Schneider and their 27year old daughter Ashley. The Schneider’s all live together in their lovely home in McLean, Virginia along with their cat Lexi who is also a proud and important member of the family.

 

During the 5 weeks that I have been away from home the Schneiders have become my family. From consoling me after long days of work to spoiling me to delicious Vietnamese cuisine, I felt at home and welcome every day.

 

Not only has the Schneider family taken me in but they have also taught me a great deal. Living with them has (an American family) has really added to my understanding of American life and culture and ,in addition to this, by setting a great example, my host family has taught me about self-less compassion and service. They have opened up their home to me (a stranger) for no other reason other than a desire to help and make a positive difference to the South African story. I believe that their selflessness has illustrated the vital principle of service leadership to me, as I now finally understand that a true leader serves for the purpose of helping others and not in order to receive acknowledgements or rewards in return.

 

From living with my new family I have begun to think more laterally about the ways in which I can serve others. I believe that sharing ones home/lessons/story/culture is a form of leadership and service and after living with the Schneiders I have resolved to ensure that I offer my self and my experiences to others in a form of service once I return to South Africa.

 

There are no words to describe the gratitude I feel towards the Schneiders. As Lee Schneider mentioned at our host appreciation dinner in Washington when discussing her reason for having hosted 4 groups of SAWIP students over the past 4 years, “I do it because I am paying it forward”. It is my hope that one day I can emulate the Schneider family and pay forward the gift of welcome, love, friendship, care and kindness that they extended to me, to others in my own life back in South Africa.

 

After more than a month of living with my family I believe we have developed a bond that is uniquely beautiful. In order to ensure that we stay in touch I have already invited my host family to my graduation in Cape Town at the end of this year and my family is already making plans to show them our wonderful country during their trip. I am sure that these visits will not be the last and I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for us.

 

Dear Lee, Mark and Ashley, I have absolutely loved my stay with you. I know I will miss you all so much and will sincerely miss my new American Bag-end. If only I could take my new home and you (my new family) back to South Africa with me.

 


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My South African story and SAWIP journey: Speech delivered at the South African consulate

by Lehlohonolo Moche
Lehlohonolo Moche
Lehlohonolo is a third year Industrial and Systems Engineering student at the Un
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The Road Less Traveled

by Abongile Mjokozeli
Abongile Mjokozeli
Open minded. Open Hearted, Lover of Things, Occasional realist and full time dre
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On our recent trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, i made an investment on an Anne Frank book titled "The Diary of A Young Girl".

 

Eleanor Roosevelt introduces the book as one of the wisest and most moving commentaries on war and its impact on human beings that she has ever read. She goes on to say that this is an appropriate monument to her fine spirit and to the spirits of those who have worked and are still working for peace.

 

Much like the Museum itself, the book shows a vivid portrait of living in constant fear and isolation, imprisoned not only by the terrible outward circumstances of war but inwardly themselves and ourselves. I cant help but to think of a few wars around the world today, more so the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. Without even taking sides, my interaction with the NSL students, the BDS campaign and many other interactions i have had on the middle east conflict has made me intimately and shockingly aware of wars greatest evil, the degradation of the human spirit.

 

On July 4th, while watching the lights on the Lincoln Memorial stairs, a friend encouraged i closed my eyes and imagined i was in a war field. It was the most terrifying experience of my life. I can never truly know how it feels like to be really in the middle of these kinds of situations or be in Anna situation. However i feel for everyone and with all conviction condemn and pray for a better world.

 

I hope that we all will work tirelessly towards peace, that we all will one day see each other as humans, equal in all senses.

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Concrete jungle

by Jabulile Mpanza
Jabulile Mpanza
Jabulile is currently studying towards a master’s degree in Economic Development
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Buildings everywhere. All of them wrestling towards the sky as though they are attempting to outdo one another. Inside these buildings are thriving industries, from retail to finance. Down below that are people. Dozens, tons, a pool of people. In the gaps around these people are cars and streets and dogs (walked by more people) and bikes (used by even more people). Further below the surface of the earth is a transportation system that transports even more… yes you guessed it… people. It is perhaps even busier and nosier down below as people rush from one side of the platform to another.

 

This in a nutshell is New York. It is only at Soccer City Stadium when Orlando Pirates is playing Kaiser Chiefs do I find myself in a sea of people moving so aggressively from one side to another. That is the daily occurrence in New York, as people living in the Big Apple rush up the stairs of the subway, into a yellow taxi, to jump right out of it, because of the traffic and race up 26 floors in what is considered a medium sized building in New York terms. So no, it is not a movie. The little glimpse of the city that we so often seen in a television series or films is in actual fact a slice of the ambiance found in the city as I have come to discover.

 

It’s a concrete jungle like no other, and the air is thick with the spirit of ‘hustle’. I felt it throughout the city. The desires of people to ‘make it ‘in whatever industry they may be in is core to the vibe of the city. Whether you are in Chinatown, Little Italy, Brooklyn or Manhattan, New York is buzzing everywhere with people looking and investigating their next big break. With so many people, all with countless aspirations, the city never sleeps and its people seem to never give up on the hustle.

 

Therein lies the beauty of the city.

 

More than its infrastructure, its place in history and all the leisure it has to offer, it is its people and their dreams that has made it so attractive. They all seem to know where they are going and how to get there. There is certainty on the emphasis of brisk walking done by the people of New York. They seem to approach life with the ease of knowing that what they want or truly dream of is right around the corner. New York is not for the faint-hearted or those easily intimidated. It is for the fierce, the hungry and determined.

Oh what a WOW of a place!

 

To sum up, l leave you with the chorus lyrics of Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys.

New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of

There's nothin' you can't do

Now you're in New York

These streets will make you feel brand new

The lights will inspire you Let's hear it for New York, New York, New York


Could not have said it better myself.

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PAST EXPERIENCES, CURRENT REALITIES, FUTURE POSSIBILITIES

by Wayde Groep
Wayde Groep
Wayde Groep is currently a BSc Human Life Sciences student at Stellenbosch Unive
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Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests and the SAWIP family

 

This evening I have titled my short address,

 

PAST EXPERIENCES, CURRENT REALITIES, FUTURE POSSIBILITIES:

A reflection of my SAWIP journey


I have always been passionate about stories, pretty much for as long as I can remember. I believe there is something profound that one experiences when stories are shared. We are often always impacted by the intersectionality of who we are and we soon become more aware of the beauty and complexity of all the facets that make up our identities.

 

Each individual story forms a pivotal part of the South African book that many read each day; From the migrant labourer at a platinum mine, to the CEO of a big multinational; from the stay-at-home mother in the leafy suburbs of Constantia to the young scholar at the local school in Gugulethu. Each story has value and a place in our melting pot of diversity.

 

About a year and a half ago I had the privilege of meeting the renowned author Zakes Mda. His work which has focused on fictional writing, continues to dissect the landscape that has become the South Africa we know today. His simple writing has allowed many to fill the roles of characters that vie around issues of ethics and morality, social justice and the conflict of individual upward mobility – sentiments shared by Dr. Thiven Reddy at a previous SAWIP encounter on South Africa and the state of our nation.

 

It is Mda who once said, “Storytelling is life itself, we are all stories.”


Allow me to tell you briefly about a few individuals whose stories have been captured and shared with South Africans on what is known as the 21 Icons project. These stories resonated with me as they are the embodiment of how seemingly ordinary South African citizens have done extraordinary things. For some these names may ring a bell fore others they are names that may be encountered for the first time.

 

Sophia Williams de Bruyn

Sophia Williams De Bruyn took her place at the head of 20 000 women and made a stand. Arm in arm, defiant, Williams De Bruyn marched at the head of the throng with the other leaders – Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph and Rahima Moosa. Williams De Bruyn was barely 18.


“I remember that – as we the women who were sitting there, were positioning ourselves – I felt a lump in my throat. I looked at this large army of women. Dignified women. Courageous women. And I felt so humbled to be a part of such bravery, an act that encouraged the greater struggle. The song we sang that day, Bathindi Bafasi, it warned that if you strike a woman, you strike a rock.”


Zubeida Jaffer

In 1980, while working as a reporter for the Cape Times, she was arrested for the first time. Protestors had been shot and killed by police on the Cape Flats. The newspaper was having trouble gaining information about the incident. Jaffer was tasked with identifying the victims and their families.


On foot she trekked from house to house, shack to shack, asking families for the names of the men and women who had been killed. “I eventually found 26 families – I think I had 42 names all together,” Jaffer says. A few days later it appeared in the paper as a full-page story.


“I was detained in the middle of the night. And of course, then I really saw horror. I went into the belly of the beast. They said they would keep me for a week, but they wouldn’t tell my parents for what or why.” Jaffer was held for six weeks in solitary confinement under the terms of the terrorism act.


These are but two South Africans who have through sacrifice, and for a firm belief that South Africa is a place where all South Africans should enjoy its beauty equally have dedicated their lives to their cause.

 

The SAWIP experience and my story

Let me to share my story. Wayde Groep was born and raised in a homogenous coloured community in Port Elizabeth in a small family of 4 members. It is a community filled with potential but also the victim to teenage pregnancy, unemployment and drug use - a story not unfamiliar to those who know the current landscape of South Africa. I do not want to make you lose the optimism. Because from this very same community, South Africa has seen sport stars, academics and politicians rise above circumstance.

 

My story continues to the last few interesting years spent at Stellenbosch University as a BSc. Human Life Sciences student. It has forced me to confront the stereotypes of being a coloured male, from a different province, who speaks differently, and a self and heightened awareness of my skin colour. My confrontation with this reality has seen me get involved in many projects related to multicultural education and diversity awareness training. There is some beauty in this that I think not many parts of the world are ready to experience.

 

The willingness to confront as Mr. Enos Banda (SAWIP Board Member) puts it laziness or moreover its manifestation: prejudice. I have been the victim of unjust stereotyping but I too have been biased and prejudiced towards others.

 

The SAWIP journey has been instrumental in me shrugging off any form of laziness and encouraged others to do the same. Through its vision and mission it has over the last few months afforded me the opportunity to expand my world view, challenged pre-conceived notions and most importantly helped equip me to become a bridge builder.

 

Many will attest that SAWIP has been a key learning opportunity In their leadership and developmental journey but there are two significant highlights for me.

 

The immersion and excursion component (travelling to the USA). There is something powerful and magical about this. Many people in the US will never have the opportunity to visit South Africa but through encounters with us they are able to experience a little bit of the richness and beauty that is Mzansi

 

Promotion of social consciousness and agency. We have arrived in the US at a time where many exciting stories have occurred, whether it’s about the impact of the trade vote in Senate, The rulings on ObamaCare or the legalization of Gay Marriage in all States. Of course there have also been the debates around the Confederate flag in South Carolina and the tragic shooting in Charleston. But it is this that has evoked within myself and the rest of the team a strong sense of agency to go back and contribute to our own country’s development and leave a meaningful mark.


Our country is filled with past stories, an array of current realities, and is also one filled with future possibilities.

 

So like my story there are many both young and old who continue to help shape a new narrative. Many young South Africans are challenged to think differently about how we engage with differences and impact the future. Whether it is,

 

Anesu and Cyan, two young females who will change the healthcare arena of our country.


Ebrahim, Nadia, Abongile and Daniel, whose passion for social justice, human rights and the law will impact and strengthen the judiciary and ensure that equality and upholding the dignity of all South Africans will be never be compromised.

 

Mulanga, Mpho, Lee and Safa who through science and engineering will revolutionize their respective industries

 

Nehna whose love for the arts and education will be a catalyst for shaping how we engage in spaces of learning.

 

Jabu, Lutho and William will contribute to the social, enconomic and political landscape of South Africa

 

Faith, Kgosi, Leroy and Alwin who will transform the business and financial sector.

 

These are individuals who continue to inspire me and give me hope that for as long as they continue to merge their academic backgrounds, passion for our country and its progress, we need not be concerned of our nation’s future. It is the actions of today that will indeed impact the story told and heard tomorrow. It is my hope that the individual stories you are writing will continue to be stories worth reading.

Thank you.

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White Chess

by Safa Naraghi
Safa Naraghi
Safa Naraghi is currently completing his final year of a BSc in Mechanical Engin
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The visit this week to New York cannot be expressed in words. I tried to think of ways of summarizing the whole trip, but short of writing a novel, nothing was sufficient. Although I have faith that my novel will be a real hit once I release it, for now I have decided to highlight one event that touched me.

 

On Friday afternoon we visited MOMA (The Museum of Modern Art). I am by no stretch of the imagination an artsy person, so I was pleasantly surprized with my MOMA experience. One exhibition that stood out the most was a special exhibition by Yoko Ono. There was a piece in this exhibition named “play it by trust”. The ideals of this piece and what it aimed to expressed really touched me and so I thought I would share it.

 

Below is a description of the piece and a few pictures:

 

“Yoko Ono’s “Play it by trust” (1966) is an all-white, interactive chessboard that functions as a metaphor for the futility of war and extends the artist’s interest in the expressive potential of chance.  By eliminating the colour-based opposition of one side versus another, Ono dooms any attempt to successfully “play” the game beyond a series of initial moves to ultimate failure.  She thus encourages us to consider the aspects of humanity that unite rather than divide.  “Play it by Trust” joins the many conceptual, musical, and performative works that Ono has created for over 40 years that evoke her dedication to the promotion of peace in our society.   It was first exhibited in 1966 at the Indica Gallery in London and since then it has been re-presented in various sizes and for numerous different occasions.  This presentation of Play it by Trust has been developed in cooperation with the opening of the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis this fall.”

 

 

 

Source: http://camstl.org/exhibitions/front-room/yoko-ono-play-it-by-trust/

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