Week 02 and 03 of our Leadership Academy

Posted March 25th, 2008 in Leadership Academy by Frerieke

By Anasuya Isaacs

The Arts and Leadership Academy is off to a rousing start! We have just completed our third session with the COSAT 11th and 12th graders. Yesterday, we were blown away by the remarkable progress they made from week 2 to 3.

In Week 2, We took them deeper into the distinctions of leadership.
What a Leader is NOT
Leader = Boss: someone who “makes people do things”.
Leader = Center of attention; who it’s all about
Leader = “Them”: anyone else responsible

A Leader IS someone who knows
To Lead is to Serve
To Lead is To Follow
To Lead is to Listen
To Lead is To Risk

A Leader is someone who is always arrives first and leaves last. They learned this the hard way by incurring my wrath. Our first Class starts when everyone is present so that no one is left behind. Most were late, but the last three to arrive came 25 minutes late. Not a great way to start the day. I had to make sure that this behavior ended right then and there. So in my calmest, tone I let it be known that a real leader would not be so selfish and self-centered enough to have people waiting for them (since the majority of them who were late had arrived early to the school and were just hanging in the hallway talking to friends). We reminded them that there was a waiting list so that they were all replaceable and that this was the last time we would have this conversation. It was crystal clear what was at stake for them.

The students explored the impact of wanting to be leader so that they can be everything a leader is not. When they thought about those who embodied what a leader is not, they saw for themselves how things don’t improve; there’s more corruption and abuse of power. They were coached on making a presentation, on what the inner and outer state should be to get their message across clearly. They then began to share the essays they wrote addressing a need they saw in their community and how they would solve it using their role model, the thing they loved the most and a cultural tradition. They received feedback on the thought that went into solving the problem and originality as well as on their use of the proper inner and outer qualities. Most were very good and a few put little time in and it showed! All were taught how to give feedback based on the work, and not on the person, so that they could develop their critical minds. The standouts all came from the 12th graders: Zukile (watch his video!), Nobenathi, Zimkhita, and Ntuthuzelo. Bravo!

The focus of yesterday’s class was team: if one fails, they all fail. They are just one group, one being and they were all going to win or nobody was. They created a buddy system so that no one is late or absent unless in an emergency. They don’t know each other well as they come from all of the surrounding townships to this special school devoted to Math and Science, so to get them to take on buddies to support one another is a big thing.

The students left last week determined to go deeper, give it more team and to expand what they think they could do. They came back yesterday, to our session that were held 1) for three and a half hours sessions vs. the regular two hours and 2) on a day school is closed due to the Easter/ Spring Break holiday. These kids were early, ready, and absolutely brilliant! Their work had improved tremendously and there was pride! Yes, PRIDE in the work they had done. The 11th graders were great but the student who raised the bar was Wanele, the older of the twins, who clearly was speaking the United Nations in his address. Please take the time to watch the video of his presentation. This young 16 year old is the next Nelson Mandela!

The twelfth graders were stellar, raising the bar and encouraging one another to do well. They are really starting to be there for one another as if the other were them. There’s a quote that they are beginning to embody: “You are ‘me’ cleverly disguised as ‘you’”. A true leader is one with the team/community/country.

To lead is to serve! Next we will be putting this quote of wisdom into action very soon! All of the students are starting to get very clear that there is no one coming. There isn’t someone else to come fix their community, their city, their country. They are the ones we are waiting for and these bright lights are going to deliver!

Blessings from Khayalitsha!

4 Responses so far.

  1. […] have done and are doing quite a few things, yes! For example, at the moment we are working on an Arts and Leadership Academy in Khayalitsha township, one of the poorest of the country, where we use the arts as a tool of […]

  2. Urho Redcliffe says:

    Yes, both Wanele and Wandile are good speakers. These boys are going to go far in life. Having taught them English for two years, the progress that they made was just mind-blowing. In class, his peers could not wait for wanele to make a speech, and neither could i. He speaks with confidence and affirmation.
    Aluta Continua!
    Fre, you and Anasuya are doing an a-ma-zing work with the kids. I get it!
    Regards, Urho Redcliffe (melbourne,australia)

  3. love to the world says:

    Urho! so great to see you here. How is Australia?
    I keep on saying…without all of you, all the COSAT teachers and the support you give to the students, it would not have been able for us to do the work we do with the students. Enjoy your life there! and please keep on coming here online to inspire the students! (and continue to be inspired by them!) Love! Fre

  4. can you remember this voice? if dont let me remind you. this is a loving, caring,sharing voice. i miss you anasuya its me nwabisa dyonashe & athenkosi ncokazi together with missyb . please say hi to your american friends.thanks 4 letting me grow