“… kuzoba Lit…” this has become the new anthem for activators who attended the activate leadership training in Empangeni, KZN under the radiant Nonkululeko Hlongwane, the luminescent Brian Mchunu, our Captain Shakespere Baleni and the ever organised Patrick Mcobothi, we were whipped into shape, broken down and put together through hours of sessions, activities and reflections forming connection from day 1.
Having grown up in hostel with rules and schedules, I appreciated Patrick’s stickler for managing time and organising sessions right down to a tee, that taught me mostly that we are not on the same schedule, that our goal is the same but how we get there is different the idea is to connect people or with people, inspire positive change in our communities, provoke critical thinking and problem solve on a molecular level within communities and influence the generation to come to continue the work and sometime a little smile is all it takes to change someone’s situation.
With civil war and hostility brewing just below the skin of our rainbow nation and violence and bloodshed being what brought us freedom in the first, we were shown that is not the only way, our own in-house rebel with a cause Nonkululeko schooled us with 198 Non-Violent ways to make our voices heard, even though we came up with a few effective scenarios, from her I learnt sometime not striking can be striking and mass action can be effective without you actually doing anything , your platforms are the key to effective messaging and for a dinosaur like me its important to move with the times and available platform.
Some of the connections I made were with Esethu Sotheni and Ayabonga Kompi two outspoken young men who on the long bus ride home unpacked how eye opening, enticing and generally how much we as young people still need to do to get where we all hope we can take South Africa, “ for me the tools that stood out the most were the “Making Local Government Work” activists hand book and the effective planning washline because what makes most of our project fail is lack of follow through , planning and not knowing which offices in local governments are responsible for what and this helped sharpen my pledge of making it my mission to ensure women are safe and free and that young people in my peer groups are “resilient” stated Ayabonga, a passionate attorney.
Throughout the whole week we were kept on our toes by our Captain Shakes, with his complicated icebreakers designed to make you loosen up or just look goofy so all of us can crack up, he also taught us tenacity and that sometimes you are not tired just a little bored and that it takes innovation to keep the idea or dream alive.
When Brian said those words, “ kuzoba Lit…”, he revolutionised a song played in every taxi every res and every local radio station without actually knowing he was doing it, he connected that song to them, making it hard not to think of the pledges we took, to work as hard as we can for the causes we stand for, now every time that song plays be it in a taxi to work or from work, a tavern or just a car driving by we know we have promises to keep to ourselves, to each other and our nation. With every tool they bestowed on us from the I AM Collage, 5 principals of Dialogue and the Making Local Government work handbook we hold the cards to making the change that we dream of, together using each others LEMON strengths and weaknesses we can make small change in each of our communities by combining our efforts and our views.
“With how connected the network is, I cannot even say I don’t know ‘how to’ anymore, the training definitely sharpened my spears of using radio, drama and any other form of art to promote literacy to under privileged children in my community and my pledge is to literally not rest and use every tool I got here to make sure I make an impact, a change in my community.” Esethu was quite awed at how much could still be done he echoed that, “ kusezoba lit guys, asikabiphi bafethu”.
So how can I deny that we are connected? How then can we say we are alone?
Because, from day 1 of the training we were forming connections, inspiring each other to do more, provoking each others thought processes and influencing each others ways of thinking. Through understanding and doing things, we were the 27 that chose to not just show up but lit it all up by embracing the different crazies and views, I took tools to sharpen young women in my community and improve my planning skills. I met men who felt the same need I have to not just protect women but empower them with socio-economic tools to better their environments and communities.
We are not alone and we have been activated and it wont just be lit, we will set it all ablaze.