More than 50 participants of the Bokamoso Cross Mentorship Programme gathered at the Nelson Mandela Foundation for the initiative’s final event of the year, held on Saturday, 28 November.
The gathering of mostly Grade 11 learners was meant to give them an opportunity to talk about the lessons they had learnt through participating in the programme over the past year.
The schoolchildren took part in 10 workshops centred on its five pillars, namely: leadership; history, culture and heritage; personal development and wellness; academic excellence; and social responsibility, said Bokamoso’s founder, Tebogo Moalusi.
For Moalusi, the programme attempts to prepare the pupils for the world after school. “We’re sending these kids out [into] the world and we want them to have a base in terms of being able to dig deep and understand what leadership truly is about.”
This was also the reason the event was held at the Nelson Mandela Foundation. “We all know Mandela was a great figure as a leader and one of the most important figures on giving back to society broadly. So we came here to give them a context and a narrative that will allow them to find something within them once everything becomes a little bit difficult going forward.”
Brand South Africa gave Bokamoso its vote of confidence by donating R750 000 to the initiative over the next three years.
LEARNERS SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES
Dineo, a learner from Johannesburg, said the visit to Constitution Hill, an event Bokamoso held earlier in the year, brought her closer to history. Learning about South Africa’s past touched her, she said. Fellow learner Cailtyn said the visit made her realise that we should not make the same mistakes twice.
The highlight for Grade 11 learner Lebo was the time spent with the elderly. “We made them less grumpy,” she said.
Others felt they had become empowered through Bokamoso and had grown emotionally.
Moalusi co-founded Bokamoso in 2007 with four other members, all of whom felt tired about working in the corporate world without giving back to the community. “Corporate just swallows you up and you forget to play your part,” he said. “So [starting Bokamoso] was a yearning to be part of the solution.”
Bokamoso’s track record was successful, said Moalusi. “We got great testimonies from learners who paid homage to the contribution Bokamoso had made. The first bunch of learners have gone through matric, they went to varsity and now they are getting their first jobs.”
He hopes participants carry with them three important leadership traits after they leave Bokamoso: the will to serve, courage and passion. “If you’re not able to serve I don’t know how you would lead. A lot of people today are not courageous enough to make difficult decisions. You have to be brave enough to be unpopular but do things for the right reasons. And there is so much we can find that [is] negative and tell a difficult story, but passion and positivity is great fuel for leadership.”
Watch Bokamoso’s 2014 finale video