Nazareen is an Activator, a member of the ACTIVATE! network. Here she shares her experience during Module One of the residential training in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal:
It feels like we are in the middle of nowhere. The African Enterprise Conference Centre is a beautiful Lodge and Conference facility off-road in Montrose, Pietermaritzburg. So of course the cellphone reception is questionable. We are surrounded by beautiful nature. Breakfast is at 7am and we got to get our food by 7.30am as there is an American group of students staying here for six months learning Zulu and taking Bible studies. The kitchen is very strict about meal times.
You know what really fires me up? It is challenging and healthy debate on current day issues that affect us all. Since arriving here three days ago, I have broken through cultural and social boundaries for sure.
We are encouraged to share our ideas and thoughts, while respecting the rights of every other individual in the room. Most people in this programme are such intellectuals in their own right and so determined to address challenges that plague society; I feel ashamed that I have not been having such conversations in higher frequency before.
The kitchen does provide us with freshly baked biscuits with our 3pm tea. It is my reward in the day 🙂 I love biscuits out of the oven 😀
Between activities and to kick off or end a session, our facilitator does an icebreaker with us. We all stand in a massive circle. We are then asked to follow in song and any other action (clap hands, follow a sequence, scream, dance, express ourselves).
It is my most favourite part of the sessions! The icebreakers are actually very liberating and help with boosting one’s confidence. This evening, facilitator Khanyisa, did an amazing ‘short song’ with us. We had shout out the lyrics with her. It was a bit like rapping. We all screamed our lungs out.
I will wager a bet with anyone that this has significantly improved my bathroom singing. But really 🙂 it was a very liberating experience..
Module 1 has been fantastic. Each day is a character building session for me. Of course, I miss my family – mom, dad, Raeesa, Luqmaan and my darling niece, Aqilah. I love that child. But the sessions here with the people who I have come to know more each day, are not something I could ever repay. We are truly blessed too with fantastic facilitators: Mdu, Nqaba and Darian. Man, these guys are really something else. Each have their own methods of presentation, mixed with an incredible sense of humour and deep sense of justice. We don’t often see that in our leaders. I connect well with them and am inspired by their leadership.
The ACTIVATE! training programme is intensive. We are forced to be more disciplined than we are usually are in our lives. It’s this very reason why I will be sad when the module ends. But pleased that I have been part of the fortunate few, selected to undergo training that enables me to become a future Activator and Change Driver, for the greater good.
This is a summarised excerpt of her daily diary notes shared on Facebook. Click here to read more.