Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from South Africa! December 25th is forecast to be sunny with a high of 23C here in Knysna.

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Knysna township

December is the month when many Xhosa boys return to the rural areas to be initiated into manhood. The boys are now starting to return to their homes in Knysna and for a period of 3-6 months are required to wear a jacket, buttoned shirt, hat, whenever they are in public.

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Simbulele (19 years old)

Simbulele is 19 years old and returned to his family’s village to commence the initiation tradition on November 27th. He completed his initiation on December 19th and is required to dress “like a man” for the next 3-6 months, including after he returns to school in a couple weeks to start grade 12.

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Knysna township

Thank you for following our blog and supporting our initiatives with disadvantaged youth in 2015. We have some new initiatives which commence when the schools re-open January 13th and look forward to telling you about these projects and a number of other developments in our next blog post.

In the meantime, we trust you are enjoying the holiday season with family and friends. All the best in 2016!

Janet & Jim

Integrity in Africa

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Chester & Jim

Many of our followers know Chester and continue ask about him. Chester lives 1 hour  from Knysna and we lost contact with him while back in Canada when his Aunt’s cell number changed. Jim recently reconnected with Chester and now has a new cell number. Week after next we embark on the process of applying for his South African identity document, such that Chester can seek employment and a better life.

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L to R: Somela, Oyama, Janet, Mxolisi (late November 2015)

Exams are over and school has ended for the summer holidays! Janet was particularly busy the past few weeks helping the boys prepare for their final exams. Results will be available at most schools on Tuesday and classes resume mid-January.

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British tourists with (L to R): Phumlani, Ntokozo, Sonwa, & Buntu

Since school exams ended, Jim has been taking groups of 3 to 4 boys into the town of Knysna to meet tourists from around the world. The objective is to learn about people and places which extend beyond the confines of the township, and better understand how foreign tourists view South Africa. Visitors from the United Kingdom have been particularly friendly and interested in learning about life in SA.

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L to R: Ntokozo, Sonwa, Buntu and Buntu !

Enjoying a soft-serve ice cream cone after our “Meet the World” experience with tourists!

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Bulele mentorship group at Percy Mdala High School

Integrity

The first of 6 core values the boys are exposed to in our mentorship groups is integrity and, without exception, they have embraced this value and how it applies in their lives. Once we discuss examples of people who demonstrate, and lack, integrity, the concept takes on greater significance. Initially, the boys tend to view integrity as being inconsistent with success in Africa, particularly in politics and business. The example of Nelson Mandela and the integrity he demonstrated while imprisoned and as President causes the boys to reconsider the matter and, within 10-15 minutes, their viewpoints start to change.

Iizidima Website: You may have noticed that the Iizidima web site no longer exists. Given the greater functionality of the blog format, we have decided to rely on it instead.

Thank you for your continued support