Bambisanani Partnership July 2013 South Africa visit is a Great Success
South Africa Visit July 2013 photo gallery (850 photos)
This summer, fourteen Sixth Form students, three members of staff and a business sponsor, visited Mnyakanya School in the deprived Nkandla region of KwaZulu-Natal to develop the collaborative work between the two schools and wider community, which is referred to as the Bambisanani Partnership (Bambisanani being the Zulu word for ‘working hand in hand’). The Bambisanani Partnership uses sport as a catalyst to promote education, leadership, health and global understanding.
This visit was led by Assistant Headteacher and founder of the partnership David Geldart, supported by Martin Green and Amanda Murphy from St. Mary’s and Kevin Emsley, Chairman of law firm Lupton, Fawcett, Lee and Priestley.
The students were:
- Elizabeth Banks
- Ryan Clarke
- Kavindu Appuhamy
- Patrick Connolly
- Emily Fieldhouse
- Elizabeth Garnett
- Michael Jones
- Freya O’Connor
- Jade Rigby-Williams
- James Riley
- Hannah Smith
- Chloe Tindale
- Madeline Tysoe
- Charles Walker
The Nkandla region is in the heart of Zululand and is extremely deprived with 90% unemployment, 60% adult illiteracy and one of the highest HIV/Aids rates in the world with one in three adults infected. Mnyakanya School is relatively poorly resourced with classes of sixty plus. Yet despite this, the school offers an oasis of hope for which many students walk two hours to attend.
An important aspect of this year’s visit was to develop a relationship with the well-resourced and highly successful Eshowe High School, situated approximately an hour away from Mnyakanya. To that end, four students from Eshowe were invited to join the Bambisanani Leadership Programme for the week with St. Mary’s and Mnyakanya students. Nobantu Zondi, Sphesihle Zungu, Mangaliso Tembe and Prince Heahector consequently joined the team and added significantly to the project.
During the visit, St. Mary’s students, supported by Eshowe students, mentored twenty Mnyakanya students through the Bambisanani Leadership Course. An aspect of the course was for students from all three schools to jointly organise and deliver a cricket and rugby themed Sports Festival and a Reading Festival for ninety two children from Ntolwane Primary School. These events, planned and delivered by students, were a remarkable success at every possible level.
The intention is that the young leaders from Mnyakanya will continue to work with Ntolwane and the other Primary Schools, thus building leadership capacity in the community. Earlier this year, previously trained Mnyakanya leaders became the first in South Africa to gain the prestigious Diana Award for their outstanding work in the community, delivering an Aids Awareness Programme that they devised themselves.
Mnyakanya students valued the programme highly:
The impact of the experience on the Eshowe students was also interesting and significant.
Whilst at Mnyakanya, St. Mary’s students also taught a range of subjects and activities to students including: Maths, Science, History, Chess, Dance, Football, Rounders and Netball. The St. Mary’s team brought with them much needed equipment for Mnyakanya School including books for the Bambisanani Library (opened three years ago), and resources for art, science and sport.
The final day culminated not only in the Festivals but also in a remarkable celebration event at Mnyakanya. At this event the following twenty Mnyakanya students proudly received the Bambisanani Leadership Award in recognition of successfully completing the course: Bhengu Ntuthuko, Mncedisi Cwele, Sanelisiwe Dlamini, Thandokuhle Dludla, Noxolo Dube, Celiwe Hadebe, Nokwethemba Magwaza, Siyabonga Mbambo, Menzi Mbambo, Nomcebo Mchunu, Ayanda Mkhize, Cebisile Mkhize, Nonkululeko Nala, Nokuthobeka Ngcobo, Banele Ntombela, Msizi Nzuza, Sifiso Shabalala, Mluleki Sibiya, Xolani Vilakazi, Sithembile Zuma.
A number of very special annual awards were also presented in memory of two young men that have died in recent years. Three years ago, Laurie McCauley from Otley sadly died. Laurie was passionate about sport and literature and his family donated two special awards in these areas to be presented annually at Mnyakanya School to support the partnership. The awards are referred to as Laurie’s Legacy and this year the Most Improved Footballer Award was won by Mbuyiseni Ndlovu and the Creative Writing Award by Hlengiwe Zuma. At the ceremony Mbuyiseni said “It is a great honour to win this special award. Laurie’s awards inspire learners at Mnyakanya. I am further inspired because I have won it.”
Another annual award was also presented in memory of Sbonelo Magwaza, a Mnyakanya student who also died three years ago. Sbonelo was an outstanding young leader who, a year before his death, had successfully completed the Bambisanani Leadership Award. In tribute to Sbonelo, each school now present an annual Sbonelo Magwaza Award for Outstanding Leadership. The award this year was won by Zinhle Zondi and presented by Sbonelo’s uncle Bernard Mawaza who is the Security Guard and Football Coach at the school. At St. Marys, the award was won by Brogan O’Connor and was presented earlier in the year.
The St. Mary’s team spent time working at the Zulufadder Orphanage Day Care Centre. Zulufadder is an organization that supports and cares for HIV/Aids orphans and vulnerable children throughout KwaZulu-Natal. The St. Mary’s team brought a range of equipment for the orphans and spent time singing, dancing, reading and playing sport with the children as well as serving meals. They also met Zulufadder staff and volunteers including the incomparable Popi, a Zulu lady who has devoted her life to working with orphans. She is the Playschool Manager and is enthusiasm and devotion personified. Popi had a profound effect on the St. Mary’s team causing them all to reflect on and discuss her significance as a genuine role model and inspiration,compared to the so called celebrity role models that many people admire in the UK. The team were joined at Zulufadder by fellow St. Mary’s students Joe Doonan and Daniel LeRoux. Joe had visited South Africa in 2012 as part of the St. Mary’s group and was so inspired that he vowed to return as a volunteer at Zulufadder and in rural schools for three months before going to University. Daniel has family in South Africa and was keen to support the partnership by volunteering at Zulufadder, again before starting University.
Whilst in South Africa the St. Mary’s group stayed in the town of Eshowe and there they learned more about Zulu life and South African history by visiting a Zulu cultural village, Eshowe Fort Museum and Arts Centre and the Eshowe Township. A great supporter of the Bambisanani Partnership is Durban businessman, Logan Govender. Logan accompanied the group to Hhluhluwe Game Reserve to observe wildlife in its natural habitat. The group learned about the horrific practice of rhino poaching which will see the species wiped out within the next twenty years if not stopped. The visit also created the opportunity for the students to learn about man’s influence on the natural environment, in particular climate change. Logan also accompanied the group in Durban to experience urban life in South Africa. The aim was to focus on the extreme differences in wealth and living conditions in the city – ‘the haves and the have nots’. Whilst the group had gained a good understanding of rural deprivation in Zululand, this was their first experience of urban deprivation, albeit frequently close to urban wealth. The contrast certainly challenged students raising many issues for discussion.
The visit to South Africa clearly had a tremendous impact on the St. Mary’s students:
For teachers to the partnership is a source of learning and inspiration:
In recent years St. Mary’s have invited colleagues from partner schools and business sponsors to join them in South Africa. Kevin Emsley joined the team for the 2013 visit and learned first-hand about the partnership that he has supported for several years.
David Geldart was delighted with the visit: “We had a fantastic team and I cannot praise them all enough for what they achieved. My colleagues Amanda, Martin and Kevin made the most wonderful and unique contributions and the students responded in ways that continually gives me faith in young people. Great credit is also due to my friends and colleagues at Mnyakanya School especially PK Zonde and Mazet Langa who did a remarkable job coordinating the visit. When I see the impact of our work on young people and adults in both countries outlined in this report, it is clear that despite many difficulties and frustrations we are making a real difference in some people’s lives. All those involved are changed in some small way and it is these small changes thatultimately make a difference. Those involved are challenged, tested and removed from their comfort zone; as a consequence they learn and grow, achieving things that they did not think possible. We have young people, teachers and schools working together for the common good: the very essence of Bambisanani and Ubuntu. Each group that goes to South Africa stands on the shoulders of those that have gone before; the expectation is to build on that platform and achieve more – the students from both countries did not disappoint and have taken the partnership to a new level this year. They have all achieved and the experience has given them a wider view of the world. I am looking forward to seeing what they do next. Special thanks must go to all our supporters for their outstanding contribution to this project.”
St. Mary's students carry on the good work in Africa [WHARFEDALE OBSERVER]