Soul Buddyz Club Media Release

Children changing communities recognised

Saturday 26 February 2005: Across the country there are 12 000 children aged between eight and twelve in 1 900 clubs, which are beavering away as agents for social change in their communities and in their own lives. This is as a result of Soul Buddyz, a most watched television programme which began in 2000. The programme attracted such a following that children wanted to form clubs to imitate the good work of their television heroes. As a result, Soul Buddyz Clubs were set up and the winners of a national competition were recently announced.

The “Buddyz” meet weekly in their teams, and work through relevant modules which tie in with TV and radio broadcasts. They focus on issues such as beating bullying, staying safe and learning to communicate. Clubs are then invited to submit their projects in a national competition put together by the Soul City Institute.

An example of an outstanding project is Camperdown Library situated in a small farming community in rural Kwa Zulu Natal. With the assistance and commitment of James Zondi, the club facilitator, the club rejuvenated an old basketball court in the area after being approached by local children who appealed to them for assistance in revamping the court.

This club was able to lobby support and funds from local business people and tribal authorities to get the court fixed. After lots of hard work, the court was fixed and the club held an official reopening of the court.

Saxonsea Primary, based in the poverty stricken community in Atlantis in the Western Cape where violence is rife won club of the year. According to Donique de Figueiredo who coordinates the clubs, “We know this club has helped many of its members transform from shy, troubled children into outspoken, caring and motivated leaders.”

Josephine Chokoe, a facilitator of Saselong Primary School in Limpopo, was recognized for lobbying the director general of Social Development to address issues of poverty and social security for children in her community. The consistent lobbying, dedication and commitment to the club resulted in a delegation from this government department visiting this community and interacting with the Soul Buddyz Club.

De Figueiredo continues, “Soul Buddyz clubs are for children, about children and by children. They are situated at either primary schools or libraries with each having a facilitator to assist with their activities. We are constantly amazed by what these young children accomplish with very few resources.”

The Soul Buddyz Club approach is to emphasise children working in teams rather than individually. They also encourage children to be innovative in tackling projects with limited resources and to work together with their educators and the broader community.

Winners of all categories
Club of the Year:
Mr Mario Lamour on behalf of Saxonsea Primary, Atlantis, Cape Town

Facilitator of the year:
Mr Isaiah Jele, Gutjwa Primary School, Kabokweni, Mpumalanga

Outstanding projects:
Mr James Zondi Camperdown Library, Kwa Zulu Natal

Bullying module:
Bodimong Primary School, Mentz Bodimong Township, Limpopo
Runner up: Boduma Primary School, Ramokgopa Township, Limpopo

Safety module:
Mohlakaneng Primary School, Mokodumela Township, Free State Province
Runner up: Alexandra Library, Gauteng Province

Communication module:
The winner: Orchards Primary, Norwood, Johannesburg
The runner up: Malvern Library, Johannesburg

Community involvement stakeholder relations:
Ms Josephine Chokoe, Saselong Primary School, Limpopo

Award of gratitude:
Ms Nomalima Marokoane (Gogo), Rekgutlile Primary School, Orange Farm, Johannesburg

Award of gratitude:
Ms Lindi Baleni from Winnie Ngwekazi Primary, Pimville, Soweto


For further information about each of the winners, Soul Buddyz or for photographs of the winners, please contact Michelle K Blumenau, Onyx Marketing Communications, T 011 728 5004 / 083 273 9891 / turquoise@intekom.co.za

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