As a contribution towards Mandela Day, Rhodes University has embarked on an intensive citywide ‘Trading Live for Mandela’ movement that takes place from March to August each year and supports the development of the whole Grahamstown community.
This year over 140 events will take place involving Rhodes staff and students, state and independent schools, business, civil society, non-profit and community based organisations, coming together to share their skills and assets for the benefit of each member of the Grahamstown Community.
To kick-start the Mandela Day initiatives at Rhodes University Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela spent time with the youth of The Home of Joy Child and Youth Centre NPO in Joza Township, where he read and performed the story of Isele, a frog who wanted to fly and be like all other animals to the younger children. The story carries a lesson of being content with being different and unique.
The Home of Joy provides a home to children without families and ensures that they get the best education. Rhodes University Community Engagement volunteers offer Mathematics and Science tutoring to the children aged between three and 18 years old.
“For Rhodes University, Mandela Day has been about giving. We are challenging the Grahamstown community to go beyond the notion of giving, a one way gesture, to something more significant and sustainable, - that of sharing which requires giving and receiving – an exchange of equals. It is in the sharing that relationships can begin to be built and we can learn to coexist and collectively work towards a shared future,” said Dr Mabizela.
“The strong focus on just giving or helping can have the unintended consequences of creating dependency and encouraging people to wait for help from others, never using their own agency. Even economically poor communities are rich in assets and we need to recognise these and create spaces where they too can be valued and put to use,” he said.
In March every year, Trading Live for Mandela Programme commences with a call for OFFERS and REQUESTS, submissions are received from people across Grahamstown, rich and poor, employed and unemployed, young and old, black and white, local and foreign – all ready to offer a skill they have in exchange for something they wish to learn. The exchanges are published in the local newspaper and the city gets busy organising themselves for the week of trading which officially kicks off from 24th to the 28th July every year.
Community Engagement at Rhodes University
Central to Rhodes University are three pillars – Community Engagement, Teaching and Learning. Rhodes believes that a University experience is not just about acquiring a degree to access the job market. It is rather about a holistic education which includes personal development, becoming critical citizens that can lead change in building a better society.
Rhodes has one of the biggest and professionally run volunteer programmes in the country, with over 900 weekly volunteers serving over 40 partner organisations who progressively share the management role. Rhodes staff and students concern themselves with reciprocity, and benefits of these partnerships with civil society are mutually beneficial and respectful.
There are currently 94 service-learning programmes across the six (6) Faculties that involve large numbers of students, academics and community members.
Rhodes has chosen to engage meaningfully with its community. Trading Live for Mandela is one of these meaningful engagements that the University undertakes throughout the year.
Issued on behalf of Rhodes University by Communications and Advancement Division. For more information please contact:
Ms Veliswa Mhlope
Tel: +27 46 603 8773
Mobile: +27 82 484 0161
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgSource: Communications
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