Wednesday was a day full of class. We had a few great speakers that opened our eyes to some of the strengths and failures of South Africa.
The first speaker of the morning was Kevin Chaplin from the Amy Beihl Foundation. He talked to us about how he worked in a bank for 20 years then he decided to change careers. It took one person, Stuart Hendry, introducing him and saying that he had worked in the bank his whole life to make him realize that he needed a change. He took a large jump and inherited the Amy Beihl Foundation and quit his job at the bank. He also talked to us about leadership and how we must learn from others. We also must be constructive and flexible.
The second speaker we had was Dr. Leon Holtzhausen from the University of Cape Town. He is a professor in the social work department that teaches social development. This was one of my favorite presentations from this trip. It hit home because I study a lot of the same stuff at school. We started with questions from us. A lot of the questions we asked were about crime, private security, and the townships. We also talked about HIV and AIDS and how it is the highest killer of children. We talked about crime and how mist victims are also children. We also discussed the unemployment rate in South Africa; it is one of the highest in the world at 42%. We dug more into violence and what the impact is. A lot of it is due to fear, insecurity, and lack of control. Also, the impact of poverty is unemployment, survival, and nothing to lose. This helped me understand a little more about why some things in South Africa are happening.
Kevin Chaplin came back to talk to us again that night. He talked about Ubuntu spirit and the Amy Biehl Foundation. He said you should live your life with the Ubuntu spirit, which means being compassionate and striving to help others. He also talked about how our attitude us contagious. He said, “your attitude at the beginning of the task will determine success or failure.” The last thing he did was he showed us a video from the Amy Biehl Foundation. This explained how Amy was killed taking some of her friends home. It also showed footage from the Truth and Reconciliation trial when her murders were granted amnesty. I was amazed that her parents were able to sit in front of all of those people and say that they forgave her murders. Once they started the organization they employed two of her murders that still work there today.
This day was a great day in the classroom that we learned more about leadership and South Africa.