Soul Buddyz Club 2003

Soul Buddyz Club celebrates the end 2003 with great pride and joy. With almost 1000 Clubs and 5000 members, I’m sure you would agree that it’s been a busy year. A very challenging year too. But the intense energy, enthusiasm and creativity of each and every Soul Buddyz Club member made this challenge a worthwhile one.
Children in South Africa are phenomenal and have proved that ‘young people can make a difference’. We are all excited about the year ahead. There is so much more to learn and whole lot more to do, but 2004 will be filled with fun and excitement too.


A few Soul Buddyz Club Highlights from 2003

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  • Small Buddyz Club write to the Minister of Social Development about difficulty in accessing the Child Support Grant. They represented the needs and voices of children in Buffelshoek, Limpopo. The Minster responded and a delegation of officials from the national and provincial department visited the Small Buddyz Club to do follow up investigations.
  • Soul Buddyz Club from Saxonsea Primary School in the Western Cape start a soup kitchen for underprivileged peers.
  • Soul Buddyz Club in Mpumalanga arrange a community birthday party for a fellow Club member who is terminally ill.
  • Soul Buddyz Club in Limpopo organises a community fun day event. The emphasis is on ending discrimination and prejudice against children with disabilities. They arranged sports activities, drama and role play and children worked together to make the event a huge success.
  • Camperdown Library Soul Buddyz Club hosts honoured guests from UNICEF.

These are just a few examples of how Soul Buddyz Clubs are taking action to make a difference in their lives and communities.



Small Buddyz

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The Sesalong Primary School Buddyz Club winners who made a presentation to the
Director General of Social Development in Pretoria recently.


The Small Buddyz Speak Out

The Small Buddyz Club from Sesalong Primary School have made their mark and their voices have been heard. This group of 20 children from an area called Buffelshoek in Limpopo have shown, through the Soul Buddyz Club / Child Grants Competition that children can make a real difference in their own lives and that of the community around them.

Soul City and ACESS (Alliance for Children’s Entitlement to Social Security) initiated a competition to all Soul Buddyz Clubs in South Africa. Given that the Soul Buddyz Clubs were already dealing with issues of HIV and AIDS and Child Grants in the Soul Buddyz Club Guide, it was appropriate to include a competition around this issue. In addition, this competition coincided with the existing Grants Empowerment campaign and jamborees that ACESS and Soul City had spearheaded.

The competition was advertised in the Soul Buddyz Club newsletter over a period of 3 months. The competition involved the following steps:
  • Discussing the issue of the CSG within their Clubs and homes
  • Doing small scale research in their communities about access to and receipt of CSG
  • The next step involved discussing whether the CSG should be extended to children of 14 years old.
  • Then they would have to write a letter with their findings and opinions about the issues of social security for children, which would be presented to key decision makers with the Department of Social Development.

 

The prize for the overall winners also included a trip to Johannesburg, a movie at the Zone in Rosebank, a tour of the SABC and visiting Gold Reef City while spending time with their favourite Soul Buddyz actors,

On the 4th of July 2003, the Small Buddyz, led by the Club chairperson, 12-year-old Leonard, addressed the Director General of Social Development, Mr Vusi Madonsela. The group was filled with pride and honour as they presented their findings and solutions to problems around the issues of Social Security. Speaking in their mother tongue the children outlined key issues they encountered in their community as well their opinions for possible solutions to these problems. The Director General, together with about 100 spectators applauded the Club for their dedication and commitment to uplifting their community and for holding government accountable to ensuring that children’s rights are realised and executed.

Once all the hard work had been done, it was time for fun. The Small Buddyz were chaperoned by their Club facilitator, Mrs Josephine Chokoe. Most of their adventures were captured on video by a crew that were completely in awe of this wonderful group of children.

Travelling around in their 25 seater bus, the Small Buddyz toured Johannesburg and bits of Pretoria. What a relief when we stopped off at the Botanical Gradens. Having being engaged in formal workshops and presentations, it was a great relief to be able to run free, make cartwheels and explore the gardens at their win pace. The group even organised to by the teachers and Soul City staff ice cream with some of their pocket money and presented these as a token of appreciation.

Then it was off to the Zone for a movie. It was all giggles and amusement as the group settled in and snacked on their refreshments. Despite not speaking much English, the group were delighted by the tricks of the infamous Kangaroo Jack. Back at Inchanga Lodge in Fourways where they were staying, the Small Buddyz were treated to a braai and spent some time dancing to the beats of Mandoza. But after a very long and tiring day, they all retired to bed in great anticipation of the activities for the next day.

The absolute highlight for the group was undoubtedly their last day, which was spent at Gold Reef City. Accompanied by 2 of the Soul Buddyz actors, the children braved some of the scariest rides in the park. Although afraid, many of the children plucked up the courage to conquer the fear of heights, dizziness and being hurled around in a buttercup.

At the end of the visit, it was time to depart. The group was thrilled with the bag they received. The bag contained T-shirts, pens and caps. They immediately put on their caps and posed for the final group photo. They sang a song of thanks and joy, expressing the pleasure they had during their visit. Settling into their seats, individual children shared their feelings of joy and sadness. Most importantly they reminded us to follow up with the Director General as they were expecting a response to their findings. We reassured them that we would certainly keep them informed and wished them well for their future Club activities.

They waved and cheered as the bus departed, headed for home.



Special Buddyz

The number of Soul Buddyz Clubs around South Africa is growing rapidly. With a total of over 900 Clubs spread across the country, it’s no wonder children are involved in such creative and inspiring activities.

More than 4000 children have joined the Soul Buddyz Club. Everyday we receive letters, sharing interesting stories about what Clubs are getting up to. Some members are involved with planting vegetable gardens, while others are organising story-telling sessions with elderly people in their communities. Not to mention the Club that negotiated with their community radio station to record the awesome drama that they had prepared. Well done to all these Clubs – You guys are making a difference.

All Clubs would however like to take this opportunity to wish Vuyisile Melukwane (Vusi) a very special, belated birthday. Vusi turned 12 in August and you must be wondering why this is special. Well, Vusi has been sick for a very long time and has never had a birthday party in his life. Vusi is also a member of the Soul Junior Buddyz Club from Itsebeng Higher Primary School in Resedentia.
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The Soul Junior Buddyz wanted to do something really special for Vusi. They planned for many months, selling sweets, asking for donations, planting and selling vegetables – to raise funds to give him a special birthday party. Well, after getting the support of the principal and entire school, Vuyisile had a birthday party to remember. The pictures tell the story.

Well done to the Soul Junior Buddyz for this warm gesture of care and affection to their fellow Buddyz Club member.

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