During my tenure in Letlhakaneng, I had the honor of working with a number of talented and responsible young men and women. Most notably among these youth were Gomolemo Baloyi, Tumelo Katane, and Thabo Mosupye. These young men met every week at my house to design two-hour courses in orienteering, first aid, and emergency management, and then conducted these courses with over thirty of their younger peers every week. These courses included games, review of previously taught material, and instruction in and assessment of new skills. Each Patrol Leader, assisted by a younger Assistant Patrol Leader, was responsible for conducting these courses with Patrols consisting of ten to fifteen Scouts. While I was there to manage the course and mediate conflict as necessary, I did so by interfacing directly with Patrol Leaders – when they presented a concern, I helped them think of a solution. These young men took on more responsibility beyond their fifteen years, assuming almost the entire responsibility of running these courses – from instructing and assessing Scouts in new skills to mediating conflicts between Scouts – fell on the Patrol Leaders and their Assistant Patrol Leaders.
Lately, South Africa received more press for the ineptitude and corruption of the likes of Jacob Zuma. However, these young men seem to have taken the example of Nelson Mandela, and have become leaders in their community. Young people like Thabo, Gomolemo, and Tumelo who take on such responsibility give me hope for South Africa.