The mission of Stellenbosch University (SU) to be part of the broader community and invest in the youth of the future was again honoured during the week of 25 July.
Video: Stefan Els
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More than 850 learners from Kylemore High School near Stellenbosch were visited for a day by representatives from various SU environments like Maties Sport, Matie Community Service, Social Impact/Community Interaction, the Language Centre, Tygerberg students and WOW, a division of the Woordfees, and offered training and guidance.
This fun day at Kylemore followed several social impact initiatives from other SU environments in and around Stellenbosch, Tygerberg and Bellville. Most of these social impact events honoured the legacy of Nelson Mandela, whose 100th birthday this year intersects with SU's 100th birthday.
Kylemore's learners and teachers, together with the SU representatives, agreed on the importance of bringing different communities together and building the future of this country as a community.
On the day, different activities like tennis, netball, soccer, cricket and rugby took place while the sports skills of the learners were further developed by SU staff and students. Debate sessions were held by WOW members while other learners played chess and participated in a fun walk of 67 minutes.
Dr Antoinette Smith-Tolken, Director: Social Impact at SU, said that the day at Kylemore was aimed at the youth. “We can equally learn from the communities and they from us. Mandela always said we should take every opportunity to change this country into what we desire it to be. Then we will be a non-sexist, non-racial and equal-for-all country. This is the legacy we want to follow," she said.
The learners, too, had their opinion of what to take forward with them from Mandela's life.
Darren Pienaar, a Grade 8 learner, said that he has a passion to be like Mandela. “Mandela rescued the people in apartheid's years and then brought them – whites, blacks and brown people – together."
Ms Carin Venter, Principal, said that the legacy that should become part of everyone's life is to be forgiving, strive for peace, build human relations and keep promises. “We also want to thank the University for the big role they played today."
Dr Leslie van Rooi, Senior Director: Social Impact and Transformation, said that SU simply wants to give back to communities. “This is a wonderful opportunity for SU to be part of the broader community and broader conversation. Today we are representing a variety of University environments like sport, academics, Matie Community Service, Social Impact, WOW and the Language Centre and our aim is to invest in the future of people who will make a significant difference in our country."