The best way to honour former President Nelson Mandela for his contribution to South Africa is by rendering service to those in need.
This is the gist of what Stellenbosch University (SU) student Mr Louis van der Riet, a resident of Wilgenhof, had to say at a symposium on Friday [22 July 2011] on the implications of Mandela’s legacy for student volunteering.
The symposium was co-hosted by SU’s Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert (FVZS) Institute for Student Leadership Development, the Student Representative Council (SRC) and Matie Community Service (MCS) and attended by about 100 students and staff members of the Universities of Stellenbosch, Cape Town (UCT) and the Western Cape (UWC). It took place in the Fismer Hall of the Conservatoire.
Among others, the FVZS Institute presents programmes to strengthen the leadership skille of students. The Institute forms part of the University’s HOPE Project – a campus-wide initiative through which the University is using its academic excellence and cutting-edge scientific research to find solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing South Africa, the rest of the continent and the world at large.
“My generation faces difficult questions, but Mandela is 93 years old. He cannot lead us anymore. We have to do it ourselves,” Van der Riet said.
“To see what Mandela accomplished pulls one out of the seat of complacency and apathy.”
Dr Leslie van Rooi, head of the FVZS Institute, said Mr Mandela’s legacy is inspiring.
Ms Insaaf Isaacs, a student at UCT, said: “Mandela’s legacy is a call on us to make the world a better place every day, step by step.”
Mr Byron Booysen, a SU student and resident of Helshoogte, said students can fight such social problems as poverty through community service. “And it’s fulfil. I have first-hand experience of how working for change in society brings about a change in you.”
Ms Coralie Valentyn, a UWC student, told how she had volunteered at a crèche on Monday, 18 July, Mr Mandela’s birthday. “I believe students should act as role models for younger children, just as Mandela is our role model.”
Mr Josh Miller, a student at UCT, said to act as a volunteer means you are solving problems, “not waiting around for someone else to come up with solutions.”
Ms Michelle Pietersen of Matie Community Service called on staff members to get involved in volunteering with students.
Upcoming projects by SU students:
26 and 28 July: Kuyasa Futsal Education Project (with Helshoogte & Huis ten Bosch)
Time: 16:00 – 18:00 (Busses leave at 15:30 from the Neelsie Parking Area)
3 August: Agricultural Sustainability at Luckhoff School (with ASA)
Time: 12:00 – 14:00 (Busses leave at 11:30 from the Neelsie Parking Area)
4 August: Weber Gedenk Primary Reading Project (with Irene)
Time: 13:00 – 14:00 (Busses leave at 12:30 from the Neelsie Parking Area)
5 August: St Ida’s Primary Maths Programme (with Goldfields)
Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (Busses leave @ 13:30 from the Neelsie Parking Area)
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