Saturday October 8 was a special day for a group of young people and senior citizens from Nyanga and Gugulethu, among them people who live with disabilities.
It was the day they received certificates for completing a one-month leadership programme.
Ululation and applause echoed through the walls of Hlazo hall, in Nyanga, as each of their names was called to receive their certificates.
A total of 36 people received training in leadership and governance, conflict resolution, management, fundraising, financial planning and management, businesses planning, organisational development, record management, fostering organisational cohesion and team building.
The training was conducted every Saturday in September and the trainees also attended a three-day camp.
Graduates were urged to make a meaningful contribution to society.
They represented different community stakeholders, with some of them being part of the Safe Node Area Committees (SAC) a voluntary community based representative structure elected from community organisations in Gugulethu and Nyanga.
The programme has been rolled out in the townships in an effort to equip residents with the necessary skills and knowledge to improve their communities.
Johan van der Merwe, the City’s mayoral committee member for energy, environmental and spatial planning, said they hope the trainees would share these skills and knowledge with their communities.
He said the initiative sought to create a strong relationship between the City and community structures.
Mr Van der Merwe said the training played a crucial role in capacity building and that the programme formed part of the City’s regeneration plan which was being rolled out across different areas which have been identified as communities which would benefit from the initiative.
He said these areas had been often characterised by urban decay and violence.
“The City is very pleased to be a part of this investment in skills development and training, which has contributed to the personal development of these graduates. We are certain that it will also equip them to deal with matters in their communities, as they are often the first port of call.
“Across the more vulnerable areas of our metro, street committees and other organised community structures are at the coal-face of community issues. We need to ensure that we train these persons and that proper skills transfer takes place,” he said.
Mzwandile Gupe, 56, who has a deformed hand, said it was not easy to attend the training but he persevered.
He said he planned to share the knowledge he gained with members of his organisation.
He believed such training played a role in empowering people who occupy leadership roles in the community.
However, he said, such programmes should be ongoing.
Mr Gupe said the programme had taught him ways to effectively run an organisation and boosted his confidence.
“When I joined the programme I was a shy person but this course has improved my communication skills and my self esteem.
“Learning about the field of organisational development and the process by which it is conducted, I can now be a more effective agent of change in my community,” he said.
Another excited trainee, Nosiphiwo Magqira, 22, who is a life coach at Amandla EduFootball, said she felt privileged to have been part of the programme because few people got similar opportunities.
Ms Magqira highlighted the conflict management programme as one of her favourite courses because it had equipped her with the skills required to diffuse conflict – which was necessary when working with young people.
“Financial and business planning programmes were (also) my favourites because I have intentions of starting up my own business in few years to come.
“This programme needs to be exposed to other areas because it is crucial in teaching people about leadership skills and I am grateful to have been part of it,” said Ms Magqira.