We are happy to report that all but one student has arrived in South Africa and the group is excited to welcome it’s last member when she arrives! Stay tuned for another update coming soon!
Students trickled in to OR Tambo International Airport throughout the day on Sunday, July 9th, beginning the GLA camp at African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa. Upon arrival, students were taken to ALA’s campus for a number of “Icebreaker” activities and a briefing on expectations for the program. With a relatively small group of 14 students and 7 mentors, we were able to reach a high level of familiarity with each other by the end of Day 1.
Early on Monday morning, we boarded a bus for Kloofwaters Outdoor Camp in the Magaliesburg Mountains. Students participated in team-building activities including a low ropes course, “build a bridge,” and a series of athletic competitions, before settling in for an evening bonfire under a rising full moon. As we prepare to dig into our social entrepreneurship curriculum beginning on Wednesday, we are encouraged by the engagement of all of our GLA participants- and excited for the weeks ahead!
-Connor, International Director
10th July, 2017
What is leadership? Perhaps this was the question on the minds of 14 most promising group of young people, but, why come to Africa to find out? Actually, no, why come to South Africa to find out because Africa is not a country, right?
Well the birds outside are chirping and the plush rays of the strong South African sun are shining over the Kloofwaters nature reserve. Our 14 leaders were having breakfast, hungry and excited but also anxious about what lies ahead. The funny thing is that no one actually knew what lay ahead. All 14 students were eating, laughing and sharing stories of their childhood in an effort to continue and strengthen the bonds they had formed the night before. The night before, Sunday 9th July 2017 was the night everyone arrived. They arrived as strangers, not comfortable with each other however, they were encouraged into familiarity by playing games such as crazy crane and telling stories by the burn fire while drinking hot chocolate under the vast colony of stars displayed by the clear night sky. So today, these ex strangers were going to continue the spirit of bonding through a day that looked to be more intense than the night before – who would blame them for being anxious and excited at the same time?
-by Bubelo Mlilo(Educator)
July 11th, 2017
The time is 8.30 am and we were all walking down a trail that led into the dense forest of the unknown that is the Kloofwaters Nature Reserve. As the group walked up the hill with rocks sliding from under their feet, the suspense of the expedition grew stronger. The blistering pain felt in everyone’s shins due to the steep slope of the hill mattered not because the students kept the mood jovial. While they hiked they listened to Brenda Fassie’s ‘Vul’indlela’ which ironically means “Open the way”, they sang along to Luis Fonsi’s ‘Despacito’ and they spoke about their future; what would happen when they completed their college education.
However, what did all of this have to do with leadership? Well, our young leaders would find out when they reach the abseiling course. For some this was the first time they had ever considered jumping down a cliff, for others this was the first time they would challenge their fear of heights, while for others this was a perfect exercise to get that adrenaline pumping.
As the group stood before the abseiling course, being instructed about how to safely climb down the rock and make it to the bottom, one could feel the excitement, apprehension and curiosity that flowed through everyone’s veins. These feelings were not only towards the obstacle in front of them, but, for the next 18 days of their Global Leadership Adventures experience. Could they trust these people that they hardly knew and could they trust each other? Could they work together despite being so different, could they reach the end of the camp? Well, they all abseiled down the cliff despite whatever feelings they had. They all abseiled down, reached the bottom, looked to where they started and in astonishment, questioned why they were anxious to begin with.
The scent of accomplishment filled the air and students filled their lungs with the confidence that came from achievement. Maybe, this was about leadership after all. Learning to trust one another, to work together toward a common goal and to jump off the cliff despite insecurities about reaching the bottom, our brave young leaders began their 18 day experience. Already, they had learned their first lesson in leadership: to take courage, jump into the water and swim together because alone you can go fast but together you can go far.
Thursday, 13th July 2017
Today was another amazing day in Johannesburg, South Africa. We woke up early to take a trip down to the Apartheid Museum. The experience through the museum was equivalent to taking a walk through the entire history of the people of South Africa. Watching at the videos how people were tortured, killed in terrible ways, some exiled. It was annoying, we felt bad, and angry. These racial issues and discrimination occurred from the late 40s to the early 90s. It was very shocking and mind opening for all of us. Next we viewed the museum commemorating Nelson Mandela. This showed the brilliant achievements of a man who went from a prisoner to a president. We became motivated and elevated. Whatever you fight for, if for a good cause, you will get it ‘fight for what is right’ It was truly an amazing experience.
Next we went to a large mall (Rosebank Mall), we were so excited. It was clean, big and remind us of America. We then headed back to the ALA (African Leadership Academy) campus where we had some flex time then dinner. After dinner we had lots of fun competing in games and finished off the night with a dance competition. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!
-by Zachary Wargo
July 14, 2017
Incredible and inspiring Day 6 in Honey dew. We wake up and after eating breakfast we all did a group activity that helped further our skills in communication and teamwork. After having snacks, we reunited as a group and learned all about emotional intelligence and its importance in being a successful leader. what was really fascinating was the game we played the handcuff experiential, which gives us the opportunity to improve ourselves. ‘Nothing is too easy to do just viewing’. After eating lunch, we took a survey to rate ourselves concerning the following skills: self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, social skills and motivation. This helped us to understand our strength and weaknesses. Our last activity of the day was learning about the importance between being proactive rather being reactive. We had dinner at Moyo restaurant in Johannesburg, a unique African dining experience inspired by the traditions and values of African ancestors. There, we got our faces painted. This journey is getting so interesting. We all cannot wait for what tomorrow has in store.
Done by Henry Taylor
Teah Serani on Saturday July 15, 2017
We started our day by jamming to music on our way to Soweto. Once we arrived we enjoyed coffee and bought products from young artisans at The Box Shop. The Box Shop is a retail initiative focused on solving market access problems faced by small businesses. Afterwards, we got a one of kind tour of the township from Mr.Steve, a participant of the ’76 Soweto student uprising’. He took us to the Hector Peterson memorial and museum, dedicated to the twelve-year-old boy who was the first to be shot during the 16 June 1976 student uprising in Soweto. Afterwards we visited Nelson Mandela’s house where we learned more about his home life. Then we drove to S.W.A.N.K, a local clothing brand founded by a young South African entrepreneur. We also got to play with the local kids from the surrounding community. We then headed to Constitution Hill, to have lunch and to get to know the community partners that we will be working during our time in Johannesburg. From Constitution Hill, we were able to see the whole Johannesburg skyline. We then headed back to ALA for some flex time and another thought provoking seminal reading.
Hannah Pearlman on Sunday the July 16th, 2017
The day began with our new entrepreneurial assignments. Each of us divided between RTHC (Returning Home To Create) that encourages the young people in South Africa to be creative and helps them retail the brands they produce, LOCRATE market which means Local creative. It brings together people in fashion, culinary creators in Soweto to showcase their creativity once every month, and FIXING DIARIES that focuses on the social aspect of cycling in Johannesburg. In our respective groups, we planned and prepared for our first official business meeting with our partners. Afterwards, we took time to learn about the differences between needs & wants and their relation to solutions for small businesses or communities. We also focused on acknowledging unconscious assumptions and prejudices when assessing a situation. At night, an Anzisha fellow and successful entrepreneur named Jeff Maluadzi spoke to the group about his hardships in school with his severe dyslexia, issues at home, and personal problems that he overcame to become the success that he is today. Many of us ended our day in a reflective state regarding our first week in the beautiful Republic of South Africa.
July 17, 2017
Today we started with a short assembly like always, but it was different because it was our first day working with the entrepreneurs. Over the course of the week we have worked to create ideas and stir our thoughts about entrepreneurship and economic stances of Africa and the world in general. We used these tools to help generate ideas with our groups and help tackle different issues within the different companies. After getting the basic idea of the problems we needed to tackle within the companies we headed back, inspired and ready to tackle the issues. We then debriefed and came out with needs statements. After a long needed break, we reconvened and had an in depth conversion about Aid and the way it has affected Africa. We end the day excited to sleep and inspired to help contribute to our entrepreneurs.
July 18, 2017
After a very refreshing extra few hours of sleep, the GLA team assembled for morning assembly at 10:00 am. Everyone seemed much more rested, so we began with an activity about the connection of mind, body and spirit. Essentially the activity consists of a person who can talk representing the mind, a person who can see and give direction but cannot talk representing the spirit and the one who cannot talk nor see but can move or act representing the body. After a humorous example round, we tried a few different sets of three. The exercise whole point was to give an experience that allowed us to see the importance of internal communication.
Then soon after a quick break, the team began working on compiling a list of basic needs that affects our respective entrepreneurs. We were then instructed to narrow down the list to three. Simplifying these needs was crucial due to the construction of need statements. These need statements would essentially cover most of the needs while still being concise and presentable. Discussion was very beneficial in each group and after about an hour, this task was finally completed. Everyone was very relieved to see their work pay off. Eventually each group had made lists of simple solutions to the need statements. Then, we went through the same process as with the needs and simplified the huge lists of solutions into solution statements. Which, as previously repeated, make a concise but understandable form of the solutions. Finally we had finished the process of brainstorming/constructing the work with our respective entrepreneurial companies.
In addition, we had a fun yet educational activity of the classic egg drop. Each team had the following supplies: 4 rubber bands, 2 sheets of newspaper, some tape, and a bit of string. As each group pondered how in the world they would save this egg from being splattered onto the ground beneath it, the teams made very unique designs. On the trial round, 2/3 groups survived. On the real trial only 1/3 groups survived. After convening, we discussed the importance of prototyping and how they play a major role in just about any problem-based situation. Lastly the three separate teams (RHTC, Fixing Diaries, *Locrate market*) separated once more to make prototypes that connect with their solution statements. Each group worked very diligently. After a very long period of construction and discussion we finally made it, feeling accomplished. We had the rest of the day to rest our minds to prepare ourselves for the next day where we’ll be meeting with the entrepreneurs for the second time and discussing our findings and showing them the prototypes.
Wednesday, July 19:
Today we started the day with our normal routine. We woke up for breakfast at 7:00 and went to assembly at 8:00. After giving shoutouts for anything that had happened the day before, we went to the bus and headed off campus to help our local entrepreneurs. This was our second time meeting with them and we presented our solutions and prototypes to them. Surprisingly, all three groups received very positive feedback on their ideas and the entrepreneurs were impressed with what we had come up with. After three hours collaborating and discussing what to do next with our entrepreneurs, we headed back to campus and engaged in a quick group debrief. In our groups, we made sure that we knew what we needed to work on tomorrow for our third visit and how we were going to accomplish our goals for the local business. We then had free time until dinner which we spent with our advisory families, making sure everyone is having a great experience and becoming closer as a small group. After dinner, we had free time until 7:00, when we read our last seminal reading called, “Solitude and Leadership” by William Deresiewicz. Solitude and leadership seem to be opposite ideas but as Deresiewicz states, “The position of the leader is ultimately an intensely solitary, even intensely lonely one”
Juliana on Thursday the 20th of July, 2017.
We started the day with assembly at 8 am. Then, filling out our Project Canvas sheet to finalize what we are presenting to our community partners the next day (Friday the 21st). This included our mission statements, solution statements, customers segment, value proposition, resources needed, partners, etc. After this we typed everything up and presented it to the rest of our peers and Mr Tait, who is in charge of all the entrepreneurial leadership programs here at ALA. He listen to us and gave us feedback which help us improve and solidify our projects. After taking his advice into consideration, we went back to work on our prototypes and solutions. After we finished these we had a lunch break and moved into Olympic Games. We were divided into two teams: wahlbergers and Waboo. We competed in games and sports for 2 hours. Some of the activities included soccer, human pyramid building, and our opening dances. I’m proud to say that my team, the Wahlbergers, won in every event except basketball. We added some final touches to our projects, had dinner, and discussed the seminal reading we read the previous night. This article was a speech given at a graduating class at West Point by William D. It was about solitude and leadership. The discussion was very challenging because questions arose that were really difficult but I felt we did a good job in answering them. The discussion based on our answers and the passage were passionate and engaging.
by Varsha Thatte on Friday the 21st July, 2017
Today was another wonderful day at Global leadership adventures.
We woke up to have a delicious breakfast and headed to assembly like always. Students gave shout-outs to the people based on whatever had happened on the previous day and we also played a fun game of two truths and one lie. Then we headed off campus to meet our local entrepreneurs for a final third meeting with them. We had all worked hard to modify and revise our solutions based on their feedback on the previous day and we were really excited to present our final solutions to the local entrepreneurs.
All the three groups, Fixing Diaries, RHTC and LoCrate Market discussed their ideas and presented their final solutions and got a very positive response. After 15 minutes of shopping at RHTC. We all headed back to the campus around 1 pm. When we reached campus we all sat in a circle and reflected on our work with the entrepreneurs. We all talked about our amazing accomplishments. Then we had break time. The Glow party started around 7 pm. The facilitators has worked very hard to organize the amazing party there was great music and delicious food.
July 22nd, 2017
First, we woke up and had assembly as always. Today was a special day – we went out to see the Cradle of Humankind and the Lion Safari Park! Couldn’t contain my excitement…Kids with a profound love for nature!!
We had an understanding of the history of humanity but going to the museum widened our scope so much more. Under the Earth lie the earliest remains of the Homo genus- it really put our humanity into perspective.
Ghosting our past while we are so technologically advanced in the present was also an eye opener. Rumour had it that we were going to see cute baby lions in the next activity. Ahh! Some of us couldn’t contain our excitement. “Sweet” said Morgan, and everyone shared his enthusiasm. Fun times were ahead. Eagerly getting out of the bus, we rushed through the gates of the safari park straight to the cars that would bring us around the place.
Here we saw ostriches, wildebeests, hyenas, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, and wild dogs (commonly referred to as Devil Dogs). It wasn’t a surprise that our favourite animals were the lions. Lions are immensely beautiful creatures with majestic manes and the sharp eyes of a predator. Living in captivity must be difficult for them. Lions tend to be very protective of their food. I saw a female lion take a male lion’s piece of meat and thus a high speed chase ensued. Everyone was shocked to see the lions fighting. Survival of the fittest, I suppose.
Going on with the program, we soon got off the safari bus and waited in line to pet some baby lions. Oddly enough the baby lions seemed very tired. Daunted, many of us approached them gingerly. “Don’t be afraid, they’re very friendly” said the lion supervisor. Once we got closer, our hearts melted at the sight of their sleepy yawns. Even after we left, our minds were still set on the cute baby lions. So we arrived back at ALA. Next activity was at 7 pm. In our activity we played a game answering yes/no to a series of questions posed by Saša, our facilitator. Some of them were very personal and allowed us to open up to each other more – I gained a much better understanding of my peers.
July 23, 2017
While the site visits to work with our partners have concluded, our entrepreneurial journey is not quite over. Today we began the final stages of our projects by learning the best ways to give and receive feedback. We had the opportunity to trade constructive feedback between several members of our group about the work we did over the past week. Then after lunch we met up at the tennis court for a fun team building challenge called ‘swamp crossing’. The task was to use four wooden planks and some ropes in order to get all members of our teams across the swamp arranged on cinder blocks. While we all struggled a bit at first, we were much more successful after we were given the opportunity to share some feedback. We learned that our success was directly related to the amount of us working together, as long as our communication was clear and concise. After a snack of some delicious cake, we reconvened to introduce the final step in our process: presenting about our real-life experience using the BUILD process. We practiced sample presentations and received tips from the educators so we can make the most out of tomorrow’s opportunity to share with the whole group at our ideas festival. It has been wonderfully fun and enriching process and I, for one, can’t wait to hear from everybody. Lastly, we did our final seminal reading. We read a speech entitled, “To Hell With Good Intentions” by Ivan Illich. Illich proposed a thought provoking argument regarding the negative consequences of international volunteer service efforts and we took some time to consider our own intentions for our roles in this program.
July 24, 2017
Today was our last full day at the ALA campus and it was tough but also exciting. We had made a lot of great memories here but we are also super excited to head to Cape Town and spend half a week there. Today we presented our ideas for our local entrepreneurs to the rest of the GLA team and we really got to see the professional side of our peers. All in all, it was a day of mixed feelings, sadness, excitement, and most of all curiosity.
The 17th day we met at 8am at sunrise. We did for the last time shout-outs. Then we started to play the game of the pond called Lilly pad, this activity was one of my favourite. They were 2 teams on opposite sides, they had to cross the “pond” with the aid of plates. We weren’t allowed to touch the ground. At the end of the game Connor explained to us that for this game each team had to help each other because they weren’t enough plates for everyone. So, we had to share our plates. That shows that we don’t need a winner but everyone winning. This was a great lesson that I appreciated so much. Then, we finished packing and left our dorms with heavy hearts. We were thinking about all the good times that we had together as a group. It was a moment of sadness. After living our dorms we said goodbye to the Educators: Geoffry, Bubelo, Ijeoma, Connor and Sasha. We thank them for all the wonderful job that they did. We took some pictures as a memory of all the good moments that we had. Then, we took the plane to Cape Town. I was feeling very excited, I really wanted to discover the city. When we arrived, Naomi and Husein were waiting for us. Then, we arrived to 33 South backpackers for dinner, after we had a presentation of the journey that we will have in Cape Town for 4 days. Naomi showed us the schedule, I was really happy and excited when I saw all the things that we will do in Cape Town. Finally we ended the day around a burn fire with popcorn. This day was full of emotions, sadness, excitement, happiness… but as every day we had a wonderful moment with GLA team.
Today was our first full day in Cape Town. We started our day early, waking up for a delicious 7:00 am breakfast. Then we were picked up at 7:45 as we departed for Robben Island. However, the water was too choppy to take the ferry over so we had to adapt to the situation. We decided to go to the aquarium at the waterfront instead and after an hour or so, we explored. We went shopping, bought food, and some of us went on the Ferris wheel. Then, we got back into the bus and drove to the Castle of Good Hope, where we had a picnic. After eating, we headed to an emergency child care center called Baitul Ansaar. We helped paint benches for their garden and make cupcakes with the kids and then got to hang out with them for a while before heading back to the hostel. After a meaningful debrief about our experience at the child care center, we ate another fantastic dinner and sat around the fire. Even though we had a change of plans today, it was a great day.
July 27th, 2017
The tour van pulled up as we scrambled to grab our things at 33 South backpackers and begin our Cape Peninsula tour. Leticia, one of our guides’ native of Cape Town, put on her microphone and thus began the tour. Driving through the Table Mountain Chain I was stunned and awed by the beauty of this place. We began by taking a boat on the choppy waters out to an island with enormous sleeping seals. After getting off the choppy boat, a few of us tried out luck bargaining at a local market. Our next destination lay on the Cape of Good Hope where we were surrounded by incredible mountains. We hiked to a lighthouse which overlooked the deep, translucent blue Atlantic Ocean. Continuing on our hike, we reached the lowest south western land extension on the African continent. The deep blue of the ocean was incredible and no picture did it quite justice. Reluctantly we left the spot and continued on to see penguins a short drive away. When we got there we were able to see penguins clumsily playing on the beach as well as sitting over their young. We completed the day with ice cream and a beautiful sunset drive back to the hostel.
By Isabella Farfan
July 29, 2017
We woke up at 6:50 am and ate some amazing bacon egg and cheese breakfast wraps with orange juice and tea. At 8 am we left for hiking on the famed Table Mountain. The guides that took us for the hike gave us the impression that everything would be manageable and not too hard. We immediately found this not to be the case and we all proceeded to express signs of fatigue. While the pain in the moment was gruesome, it provided us an excellent opportunity to bond over the adversity. Once we made it to the top of the mountain everyone was overwhelmed with happiness. After the hike, we stopped by the Eastern food Bizzare market for lunch. Later to the Green market square for shopping. Later in the evening we all piled onto the van for the last time and ate a rewarding dinner at Moyo. It was a great last day to an excellent GLA program.
by Henry Taylor