Our Namaqualand Adventure
Bringing opportunities to an impoverished community and hope to a new generation.
2020; a year of so much promise and opportunity, not just a new year but also a start to a new decade, "twenty-plenty" some would say. In hindsight, we were so naively unaware and blissfully ignorant of what this new year would have in store for us.
Covid-19, and the subsequent pandemic, changed our lives forever. Our social norms and idiosyncrasies having been permanently altered and our 'usual' lives disrupted. No-more can we just get up and go to the beach, or have a glass of wine or even visit friends and family without considering the potential risks to our lives and to others. It is, indeed, an unusual set of circumstances, a so-called 'new normal'.
Yet, with this backdrop and understanding, we took a risk and calculated the cost and concluded that indeed, it was worth taking.
In 2019, under the leadership of Mr. L. Alexander, the Transport & Logistics department undertook a bold step to try and bolster the ranks of the programme with new recruits (potential students), by reaching out to an area where the College does not usually receive any applications from. We reached out to community leaders, namely the pastor of the AFM Church Ps TH. Milford and Ms. M Snyders – the Librarian for the community library, and requested them to liaise between us (College - Transport and Logistics department) and the potential students. For the 2019 to 2020 intake, ten student applications were received, of which 5 made the cut. These students proved to be exceptional; in their attitude, academic performance, they are a joy to teach, always respectful and ready to undertake any task set before them.
On the 23rd of June 2020, when most College staff were expected to return to their respective campuses, Mr. C Hendricks commissioned us to prepare resource packs for students upon their return to campus in July. With this, Mr. L Alexander under the guidance and leadership of Mr. N Masiza and Mr. C Hendricks, therefore approached them to propose the idea for the Transport and Logistics delegation to embark on a journey to Namaqualand to market the college and the programme further and to assist our current students who are there.
On the 03 July 2020, Mr. L Alexander, Ms. D Meyer and myself, hit the road en route to Springbok, Northern Cape. Upon our arrival and set up of the venue, readying ourselves for the day's happenings, community members, families, children, all gathered in and around the center, eager to enter and hear what it is that we had to say. Our program for the day was divided into four sessions, namely:
- Introduction and Background
- Parent/lecturer meeting of our current students
- Student/lecturer meeting with our currently enrolled students from the area.
Mr. L Alexander, took the lead and informed the community as to the purpose of our visit to Bulletrap, expressed the fact that there are alternative ways and means to obtain an education parallel to normal schooling, and that a paradigm shift is needed to affect fundamental change, upliftment and development in a place such as Bulletrap. Mr. L Alexander continued insisting that the with the advent of the covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, that the college and his team are committed to our current students to succeed irrespective of the challenges and that the same courtesy would be extended to our prospective students from the area and in general. The community members left having been inspired by the direct manner and perspective given by Mr. L Alexander.
However, this would not have been possible without the support of Mr. N Masiza, the Campus Manager of the City Campus nor the backing of Mr. C Hendricks, our program manager for Business Studies NC(V). Thank you for your continuous support and guidance, without your inspirational leadership and wisdom, such an initiative would not be possible, as it is that you allow us to flourish, and thereby live up to the college motto of 'inspiring minds' - Thank you.
The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown of South Africa has come, and the full effects thereof we are yet to experience, as a nation and as a people. Right now, is not the time to back down though, nor is it a time to be timid and retract into our shells; and through this, in the midst of a calamity, in the midst of a crisis, we took it upon ourselves to sacrifice and pay a price, to plant a seed in a desolate place, to bring hope to a community that has none, and inspire a new generation towards success and a future, in a new post-covid-19 world.