In 2009, the United Nations declared 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day, recognising his dedication to the service of humanity. By devoting 67 minutes of their time – one minute for every year of Mandela’s public service – people can make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards global movement for good.
— Source: SouthAfrica.info
It took me more than two months to prepare what I would do for the South African icon Nelson Mandela, and at the end of it all my 67 minutes was well spent with people with a belief of success.
It is 3 years since my matric at St. Ansgar’s school in Lanseria, and back then I thought I didn’t have someone to motivate me that I could relate to. So the idea came of just grouping all my mates from 2010 matric to come help our little brothers and sisters. I was the idea generator, but it took the whole team to buy into my idea. So they did and we went to our former high school to motivate the students that are in matric.
The initial plan was that I wasn’t going to do anything but plan and make sure that the event takes place, because I hate the spotlight. But unfortunately my co-organiser said I should be the MC. It was the most awkward decision I’ve ever made but I ended up having fun because the responses were great. Even my team started to engage with the students as I wanted it to be.
For us it wasn’t to change the whole matric class, but even if we reached one student it would make a difference. Fortunately they took all the tertiary application papers and needed more, which made me realize that we truly did something.
It was a special day for me because St. Ansgar’s school is my second home, and being there again seeing my ageing teachers made it extra special. Almost half of the team I haven’t seen them since our final exam, but on that day it was like a family reunion.
In everything I do I always ask God to take ownership and he showed it because the day we went to motivate them, it was the day they got their results and we were already told a lot of them didn’t do so well. So we had to motivate them for believing in themselves despite the current results, and the main motivation which was about life after matric.
I learned a lot about my team because we shared some stories that we never told each other and it was great. For example, we all live in townships and in shacks with the students. One student knew me and where I stay, because it’s the smallest township with shacks next to the road. It makes sense to say ’if he made it beyond the circumstance, then we also can’.
The theme was to make it fun but still educational and informative. We shared a few jokes and stories with some quizzes and competitions, so we had fun. And at the end of my day, I was proud that the team completed 2 hours and 30 minutes with the students. Some of the students are coming with us next year because we are given permission to make it every year.