By Delani Majola

A selfless fighter who drew wisdom and values of leadership from fellow comrades, peers and his oppressors, Nelson Mandela may be gone, but the Madiba magic continues to live on especially within the youth.

This was the view of Busisiwe Nkosi, Youth Programmes Coordinator at the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation (AKF) who was speaking at the Foundation’s leadership camp.

On Monday, December 5, a group of young people embarked on a four day camp as part of the AKF Youth Leadership Programme 2016. Their destination was Camp Nelu, an acronym for Nature Education Leads to Education.

During their first session, young people were treated to a documentary screening of Prisoners of Hope: Robben Island Reunion, which was followed by a broad discussion on the leadership lessons demonstrated by Mandela and the meaning of his legacy to the youth.  This day marked the 3rd year death anniversary of Mandela as well as the 60th anniversary of the Treason Trial of 1956, which Mandela was also part of.

The sessions included discussions on diversity, racism, religious divides and current challenges facing young people within their communities.

“Through some of the group activities that I was involved in at the camp, I have learned a new way of communicating with other people who have different beliefs than me,” said Joy Madihlaba from Soweto.

Activities included a short mountain hike, where a tribute was paid to fallen heroes of the struggle such as uMkhonto we Sizwe cadres Yusuf Akhalwaya, Prakash Napier and Vuyisile Mini, among others. Inspired, the youth burst out in song reminiscent of the struggle.

Camp facilitator and Wits student, Moeketsi Koahela added that the experience was invaluable to him and his personal growth. “The experience has been very stimulating and rewarding for me where I continue to learn people skills. What I appreciated the most was the proactive approach by the youth. They go the extra mile which makes engagement a lot easier.”

Earlier in June, Nkosi and Moeketsi were among a group from the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation who facilitated mass discussion on racism in Nasrec in honour of the 40th anniversary of the June 16 uprising.

At the camp, national convenor for the Anti-Racism Network South Africa (ARNSA), Sean Moodley delivered a presentation on the origins of racism and its impact in post-apartheid South Africa. Moodley also challenged the youth to challenge their own prejudice. Zaakirah Vadi, communications officer of the AKF, gave a presentation on the revolution of social media in championing social justice courses.

Boiketlo Sotane-Nkune also a participant of the programme said, “This experience has taught me skills I am confident I will implement back into society through other youth groups or clubs I am in contact with. My favourite was the session on non-racialism, which left me with food for thought.”

“We have encouraged the participants to look at issues facing young people and brainstorm ideas on how to address them. There is a sense of awareness from the youth who identified issues such as drug abuse, youth unemployment and crime. We are hoping to get them involved in finding solutions and inevitably become the solution and change makers,” Nkosi said.

The camp also allowed young people to discuss the possibility of forming AKF school clubs and societies in the coming months.

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