Pupils awarded for reaching out

Pictured is Aza Ntantiso, left, and Joshua Plaad at the awards ceremony.

Pupils of Heideveld Senior Secondary School were proud to bag the best outreach club award at the annual Africa Unite School Clubs Red Carpet Awards Gala at the Cape Town Civic Centre last Friday.

The ceremony was aimed at showing appreciation and awarding the pupils who are part of the Africa Unite School Clubs initiative.

The Africa Unite School Clubs are social clubs that have been established in five schools in the Western Cape, including DR Nelson Mandela High in Nyanga, Simunye High School in Delft, Masibambane High School in Kraaifontein, and Portland High School in Mitchell’s Plain.

These clubs give pupils the opportunity to become agents of change within their schools and communities.

The clubs have three main themes: school, environment and community.

Pupils consider the school and its surroundings as a country and take ownership of all activities.

The overall aim of the school clubs is to spark volunteerism, empower pupils, give them confidence and allow them to believe that they can make a difference in their lives as well as in their communities.

Each club sets an agenda of items affecting their school and their community and solves problems by using the resources within the surrounding communities.

The club is led by a president and his or her five ministers including; a minister of finance, a minister of information and public relations, a minister of sports, culture and entertainment, a minister of social development, and a minister of environment who make up the cabinet together with 30 general parliamentarians.

Brilliant Nyambi, youth coordinator at Africa Unite, said it is important for young people to learn about their socio-economic rights including their right to education which will see to many social issues being addressed.

“A lot of the pupils at schools on the Cape Flats lack leadership qualities and self esteem so we have allowed the pupils to develop their own agenda of challenges which face their school on a daily basis. We teach them to be equal players of development within their communities and allow their voices to be heard,” he said.

Principal of Heideveld Senior Secondary, William Meck, said this was a big learning curve for the pupils.

“It gives them an opportunity to come up with new ideas and work with new people. The pupils have really grown so much and they have more confidence,” he said.

Member of the club and Grade 9 pupil, Aza Ntantiso, said the top issue affecting the school is vandalism.

“When the year started vandalism happened at the school where they stole our tablets, dashboards, whiteboards, books, laptops, and cables and the projectors and the school had to replace it,” she said.

Aza said in order to solve the problem, the club interviewed Mr Meck and visited Manenberg police station about what had happened as well as spoke to the Heideveld Neighbourhood Watch to keep an eye on the school.

President of the school club, Joshua Plaad, a Grade 11 pupil, said running the club is an enormous task as pupils are not always available due to exams or tests.

He said other issues which affect the school include gangsterism and water wasting.

“As a school, learners who are involved with gangsterism are immediately expelled and we took pupils to the Steenbras dam where they learnt about water – how it gets purified and how to save water. We then hosted an awareness campaign at school where we educated our school about water saving,” he said.