Programme prepares leaders of tomorrow

Teacher at Vuyani Primary School, Nozuko Alam, pupil Asive Mgwadleka and organisation co-founder, Thandokazi Maguga in a jovial mood when Abiona Afrika held a graduation ceremony last Friday.

Many think leadership skills are abilities some are born with and that leaders have a natural ability to make others listen and follow them.

Others are of the belief that it’s an innate charisma or perhaps a special power that leaders posses.

However, Abiona Afrika, a non-governmental organisation, believes that leaders are made through proper guidance and leadership.

And while it is true that some children have more naturally occurring leadership skills, every child, with the correct guidance, mindset, tools and knowledge can step up and be a leader.

This emerged when the organisation held a graduation ceremony for 175 pupils from Gugulethu schools who had participated on their four-week leadership programme, the aim of which was to instil leadership qualities and values.

Organisation co-founder, Thandokazi Maguga, said they wanted to encourage children to be critical thinkers and that they taught them about different leadership styles, qualities and behaviour.

Ms Maguga said the programme was developed in a way that was challenging, interactive and fun and at the same time, built pupils’ confidence. She said pupils were often elected to be class representative and prefects without receiving any kind of leadership training. “Leaderships skills enable the individual to translate knowledge, attitude, skills, and values into action.

“I believe it also improves the socialisation among pupils such as relating to others in a friendly way. When the pupils are properly guided, they become better versions of themselves.

“We want to shape the mind of the pupils at their early age.

“The current youth are the leaders of tomorrow and need all the proper guidance (they can get),” she said.

Ms Maguga said seeing how the pupils responded to their programme was uplifting and rewarding. Among the challenges their organisation faced, said Ms Maguga ,was a lack of financial support, explaining that at times they had to put money together to buy food for the children as the programme was held after school.

The organisation’s co-founder, Yonela Kitise, said it was the first time that they had hosted this programme, but they wanted to run it every year.

Ms Kitise said it was important that the pupils learned about leadership while they were still in school so that they could contribute positively in their community. Vuyani Primary School pupil Asive Mgwadleka, said she had learnt a lot about leadership and hoped that the programme could be held every year. She said as the head girl at the school she had learnt ways of dealing with her school mates and friends. But more importantly, she said, she had learnt how to lead a meaningful life and make wise life choices.