On Saturday 22 January we had the first Ubuntu Academy programme day after the summer holidays. For some students’ the alarm clock sounded a bit too early, but hooray for self-discipline: most of them rocked up and actively participated in a productive day. The Bank in Harrington street offered us their cool space, which we used to its full potential (read: we ran around like crazy people)! Aside from doing fun improvisation and expression exercises, we had a load of information to share with the students.
Firstly about the mentorship programme that we are setting up for students to continue to be inspired to work on their goals after graduation. They will pair up with a mentor, with whom they can exchange ideas, perspectives and possibilities. After having discussed the question of “what is a mentor?”, the students asked “who will be our mentor?. Well, we have yet to find out. On the 7th of March we are organising a speed-dating event for our students and potential mentors. As we shared this news, the faces in the circle changed to express one thought: “No, speed-dating, seriously?”. Yes!
To practice interacting with a total stranger for 90 seconds, we divided up the group in two: one half acted out different roles such as a CEO with Absa Bank and a famous artist. The other half got five rounds of 90 seconds to talk to their date. Thanks to load-shedding, when electricity is cut off for a few hours, our dating session obtained an extra (dark) level of atmosphere. Not only did the exercise result in giggles and seriously good acting, there were some lessons learned that the students shared in the evaluation. Even if you’re nervous and unsure about what to talk about, it’s good to be yourself, to be curious, and get to the point. They now look forward to meeting some interesting people during speed-dating. (Please do come along to our event 7th of March to learn more about our students and the mentorship programme.)
Secondly, there was the graduation camp to discuss, students were bursting with questions! After a two year pilot programme, our group of talents will graduate from Ubuntu Academy. To go out with a bang and intensify the level of final workshops, we are organising a camp. Five days of workshops about leadership, entrepreneurship (“what is my goal and how do I get there?”), and of course, dancing, singing and acting. The students were somewhat disappointed to hear it isn’t going to be all lazing about in the lagoon. But their performer hearts warmed up to the idea of having to prepare a solo piece, and they shared valuable thoughts on what needs to be focused on during the camp. Together we will create something amazing.