Mabarhule Youth in Action

“We must identify cells of positive force, and then work together to harness that positivity so that the entire community benefits from it.” – Mo Groch

There is a formidable group of forward-thinking individuals working in and around the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in Mpumalanga.

Many are in the business of wildlife conservation. Others – like ourselves – are working to improve education. A handful are investing heavily in entrepreneurs and rural business.

These individuals each have their separate projects, but actually, the more this group grows, the more the individual projects start to weave together.

Recently ‘Gogo’ Mo Groch, the Good Work Foundation Course Coordinator at Londolozi, was approached by a group called Mabarhule Youth in Action.

Solomon Mashilo, Enoch Sambo and Julius Sibuyi started this group as a boys’ choir in 1992, and today 50 choir members – made up of young people from the village of Mabarhule – regularly perform at five-star lodges within the Sabi Sand.

According to Enoch, the group was formed with a very clear and simple purpose: to recruit street children and unemployed youth into a positive, community-driven organisation.

“We have had great support from individuals and from lodges” says Enoch. “In fact, one individual donor has helped us to start work on a Youth in Action Community Centre. Our vision is to use the Centre as a home base for the choir and as a place to look after those who are vulnerable: the elderly, the unemployed, those suffering from sickness. What we don’t have though is a lot of experience in putting together a formal business plan. A branding plan, an organizational structure. Those kinds of things. We have passion and vision, but our lack of formal business knowledge is holding us back.”

Hearing about the group’s leadership challenges via Londolozi chef, Solomon Mashilo, Gogo Mo arranged for the choirs’ ten leaders to attend a leadership workshop at Hazyview Digital Learning Centre, led by herself, as well as Graham Palmer – a Chartered Accountant from London – and Crispen Bvumbghe.

The workshop covered:

  1. A video presentation on team integration and group dynamics
  2. Leadership and decision-making
  3. The beginnings of a mission-statement and business plan
  4. Branding

“The members of Youth in Action are not only musically talented, but they have big hearts and big visions,” said Gogo Mo. “These guys have a vision that promotes job creation, the development of a rural village, access to the internet and a library, as well as youth development. What they are looking for now is guidance on how they can effectively work together as a team to make their vision a reality.”

Gogo Mo went on to say: “It’s fantastic to be able to offer a positive group like this the support of Good Work Foundation. All people – wherever they are from – want someone or something to be present for them, to guide them, to be a resource of advice and support. We must identify cells of positive force, and then work together to harness that positivity so that the entire community benefits from it.”

We will keep everyone up-to-date on the progress of Mabarhule Youth in Action. At the moment the vision of a community hall consists of four walls and a couple of window frames. There may not be a roof, but that isn’t stopping the Youth in Action baritones from performing to visitors from all over the world.

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