Umthombo Wesizwe’s mission is to provide a platform for youth (11–15 years) from diverse communities in South Africa to develop an identity that will enable them to evolve as responsible citizens and ethical leaders within a multicultural society.
Umthombo Wesizwe (which translates as “Spring of our Nation”) was founded in response to the problem of SA children being increasingly exposed to a mounting resurgence of
- prejudice, racism, xenophobia and violence in all contexts of their lives.
This in turn manifests into
- interpersonal and group prejudice, intolerance, violence and general antisocial conduct.
The systemic nature of these social challenges needs to be confronted over a broad range of activities to include the participation of the family and community members.
Umthombo Wesizwe has created a unique model designed to provide knowledge, life skills and tools known as Cultural Diversity Intelligence (CDI). Archbishop Desmond Tutu stated:
“I am delighted to commend to you the Umthombo Wesizwe Childrens Project. This project seeks to undo the negative experiences of our youngsters and to reinforce and build positive values so they can aspire to a brighter future for themselves and all of us”.
Umthombo Wesizwe believes that its unique CDI and Leadership Programme impacts the lives of not only the children who have participated in our experiential learning camps, but also their parents, relatives, facilitators who undertake the training, people in their community and children at their school. An estimate is that 34 children impact 500 others.
Resultant analysis indicated changes in attitudes and behaviours, a consciousness of diversity in a multicultural society and the value of Umthombo Wesizwe strategies to assist them as future leaders
The aim of the project is to provide a platform to equip children with skills to become ethical leaders, be proud of who they are while respecting and valuing the diversity of others. Through experiential learning in camp-based workshops, monitoring progress and participation in community projects, they become role models to many around them, leveraging the impact of the programme. In the 3rd year, graduates confront the challenges of living and leading in a diverse South Africa, bringing to the fore “the Ethical leader within”.