(from left to right) Myriam Kayembe, Manuela Kayembe, Joyce Mbu Letang, Crystal McIntosh, Judith Adriano, Esther Nkhama, Lulibo Mrubata at Bloubergrant High School


In September 2011, the SAWIP team of 2011 hosted 15 school learners for a high impact youth leadership programme called LeadYoung. The programme took place over a weekend on Stellenbosch University campus and followed a SAWIP team-built curriculum covering various topics including entrepreneurship, leadership in South Africa and storytelling.


Now, just over a year later, I visited 6 of the learners to see how the weekend impacted their lives. The girls told me about their experiences since LeadYoung, including an assembly where they presented, to the entire school, the abbreviated contents of the programme and showed videos presented. Apparently, after the assembly, our cry of “Fired up, Ready to go” resounded in classrooms across the school. In terms of personal impact, all of the learners are now involved in some form of leadership in school societies and all those currently in grade 11 are hoping to be elected as prefects later on this term.


One of the sessions at LeadYoung was focused on encouraging learners to think early about University and explore scholarship options so I made sure to ask what their future study plans entailed. Manuela Kayembe, about to start writing Matric exams, has applied to study Engineering at CPUT, Stellenbosch University and the University of the Western Cape. Many of the other learners, most of them still in grade 11, intend to study in the Cape or even apply to Universities overseas.


The learners expressed something that many of the SAWIP 2011 team felt last year, the wish that our involvement and input could have been longer and more sustained. Unfortunately the SAWIP schedule doesn’t allow for this kind of team community service and as a SAWIP team we were careful to brand the programme as a high-impact weekend with social network based and informal follow-up, such as this visit. Despite the limitation, all present professed the impact the LeadYoung programme, courtesy of SAWIP, had in their personal lives and in their school.

Crystal McIntosh (SAWIP Alumnus 2011)