Report from the Field: A Visitor to Camp Sizanani

By Ruth Dengwani

[The author is a representative of the Africa Alive Education Foundation, which serves communities and children in Zimbabwe.] 

I was invited to the last day of the youth camp at Diepsloot by Sizanani camp last Friday July 12th. 

It was such an awesome day and the kids reminded me so much of our Mazivisa kids. They are just as hopeful and looking for love and care from the adults in their lives just like any other child. It was very interesting to observe and note the way they responded to teachings, instructions and encouragement as the Counsellors from Sizanani Camp worked with them- what an amazing team these guys are.

Let me give you a brief report of the day:

I met up with Kabelo (KB) in Fourways just before 8am and we drove in convoy to Diepsloot. When we got there the kids were already there, with bright faces and expectant hearts. They swarmed the cars - just like our Mazivisa kids do- to give us hugs and greetings - the genuine pure love of children. My eyes misted even now as I recall that moment. That's when you realize the human race is connected at a deeper level than we know and unless we impart and leave meaningful legacies in whatever forms to this generation we would have not played our roles in the race of life. 

So anyway, the kids hugged us and smiled at us. However because it was the last day of the camp, many were asking when will the Counsellors be back, and if they will be back. They just didn't want to let these Counsellors go and they needed an assurance that this wasn't the last camp for them.

The kids are divided into different groups A- J starting from the youngest age. A&B      6-9

C &D      10 -12

E & F     12 -13

G & H    14 -15

I & J      15 -18

Starting with the youngest age group, the kids were called for breakfast being served by the oldest age group, I & J. During the breakfast time, other groups were rehearsing and finalizing their presentations for later until their turn for eating. As it was the final day the kids had to showcase in their presentations what they had been taught and learned during the camp period. 

These would cover the following:

Nutrition

Life skills

Sports

Literacy 

Drama

Arts and crafts 

I observed the drama group. The kids are briefed on the subject of the drama and in this case was rape. The daughter was raped by her father and she eventually tells her mother the secret she has been keeping. The mother doesn't believe her and goes through the different emotions. Mother then kills the daughter and guilt engulfed her after the act. The father confesses that he actually raped his daughter. Each emotion is represented. The kids are given room to innovate and be creative in their roles with the guidance of the counsellor. Encouragement is given to the kids as artists to own their roles and be confident and creative.

Our societies in Africa face similar challenges - Leadership, social issues, peer pressure, HIV /AIDS, sexual abuse and all kinds of abuse. The kids use games and songs to open the programme. In the presentations, the kids just shone as they gave their all. When children are acknowledged they respond and flourish well. They remind me of seeds in good soil - if you water and nurture it, it will give good fruit and thrive well. 

All in all it was a great day. Camp Sizanani did great work and they connected with the kids. 

Michelle and KB, your team is so awesome, keep up the good work. 

Phil, thank you for connecting with us and we looking forward to the September camp.