Hello young leaders of GLA South Africa 2017!
Can you believe that it is all over? By the time you read this I imagine that you have grown immensely, using the various skills and lessons you learnt at ALA to make measurable impact in your various communities. Also, you may already have plans to come back to South Africa, whether it be with the entrepreneur you worked with or as a new student at ALA! Regardless of what you are doing, I sit here typing this letter with beaming pride.
As usual, we shall begin with the shout outs:
- Shout out to the various teams – Marky Mark and the Diverse Bunch, Team Skim Milk, and Supreme Team – for doing excellently well in presenting their solutions during Ideas Festival!
- Shout out to all the students for maintaining a strong support system, especially in times when people felt down or sick!
- Shout out to everyone for joining Bubbles in learning a dance (Azonto) during assembly
- Shout out to everyone for ploughing through the hike at Kloofwaters despite the challenges faced!
- Shout out to the students, mentors, and directors for making our GLA experience one to remember!
It was a privilege to watch you grow in the short time that you were here. I remember the intelligent and curious questions you asked Bra Steve as he took us on the Soweto tour and the maturity in which you handled intellectually challenging ideas in seminal readings. I watched you actively challenge your assumptions about South Africa and Africa as a whole, whilst quickly adapting to the new, culturally different environment. I loved your enduring energy, sometimes due to finally getting a nice cup of coffee from the local coffee place or from the working cappuccino machine. From you too, I had a lot to learn.
Most of all, I cannot forget how you pushed through. You worked together with entrepreneurs to create sustainable impact. I was delighted in the ways you became so invested in your various projects. This work did not go unnoticed. Who would have thought that in such a short of period of time, you would have spurned out such ideas for RHTC (Returning Home To Create), LoCrate, and Fixin Diaries – new designs for a website, a comprehensive marketing and financial strategy or bike-coffee tour? Furthermore, many of you went above and beyond your assignments to establish relationships with the entrepreneurs, making promises (which I hope you keep) to try your best to continue contributing from your various parts of the world. Yet, with all those achievements, you still mustered up energy to embark on more exciting adventures that awaited you in the scenic areas of Cape Town.
But the time has passed. Now that you have dispersed and the memories of ALA are fading away, I hope you are willing to hear some advice:
- Please maintain contact with each other – your relationships with one another do not have to end in the summer (please don’t forget us staff too!).
- Continue to challenge your presumptions and biases – we are bombarded by so much information; however, you have the power to question and filter this information
- Be proactive – remember to be response-able. Take responsibility of your actions. Yes, you can.
- Keep dreaming – there is so much you can do to make measurable impact in the world. You just have to believe you can
So, thank you for being authentically yourselves, for striving through, and excelling. We were glad to have you with us and remember to come back some day!
Here are some sweet summer/winter memories:
- The lions and lionesses at the Lion Park’s splendid show of strength while fighting over lunch
- The beautiful, yet ancient stalactites and stalagmites at the Cradle of Humankind
- Hanna displaying some wonderful skills during her warm up activities during assembly
- Students showing some dancing finesse in the dance showdown during the Battle of the Axe
- Eating some delicious South African food at the Moyo restaurant
- Discussing the complexities of our roles in Africa for an extended period of time during seminal readings
-Ijay and the South Africa team