AN APPRECIATION LUNCH - Through The Eyes Of A Mentor

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Michael Jacobs

I need to digress here slightly and briefly explain the sub-title above. Earlier this year I was approached to consider becoming a mentor at TSIBA Eden. At this point I knew very little about TSIBA and almost zero about being a mentor, but having agreed to the request I set out to become a mentor and tackle the task to the best of my ability.
Now here I am some months down the road having been invited to an appreciation lunch. I arrived at the Community Hall adjoining TSIBA and was greeted by the friendliest students who were officiating as hosts and proceeded to get a large white name tag stuck onto my shirt announcing to all who I was. I was ready for anybody who wanted to speak to me and test me on my newly acquired knowledge on mentoring! We all received a well put together programme announcing the format and time frame for the speeches that would follow. This I found very professional, as frequently functions can ramble on when there is no control by the MC.
Having taken our seats Sandy began proceedings with the traditional welcome and thanked all who were there. This followed with a meditation by ‘Oom Sam’, who I was later to learn is an absolute icon and passionate supporter of TSIBA and who has been around since inception.

Sandy then handed out plaques honouring among others ‘Oom Sam’ for his continued and loyal support. The presentation by TSIBA Cape Town based staff, Gia and Tracey was an eye opener. They expounded the virtues and achievements of this very young College. The progress made by various students in achieving elite scholarships and the perfect record of graduates boasting a 100% employment record in the market place speaks highly of the tuition and the dedication of the students who have grabbed the opportunity to excel.
This was followed by a student showcase of the SRC, but was preceded by Mandla reciting his self authored poem ‘Fast Awake’ which had secured him a 4th place in a recent competition. He had to travel to Cape Town on two occasions to participate in the recitals. TSIBA Eden (and I as his mentor) are extremely proud of his achievement. The SRC then explained their role in making sure the college was efficiently run by their representatives, who have been allocated various functions to oversee, from reception, kitchen, gardens including growing their own vegetables, cleaning and discipline. The way this was explained made the audience sit up and take note as to what can be achieved with guidance and belief in a young generation given the opportunity to grow in self esteem.

The final time slot was given to Dr Davies, a motivational speaker and previously disadvantaged youth who was given the opportunity by someone who believed that he could ‘study’ his way to achieving a better life and in turn use this as a tool for the betterment of others. His presentation was both vibrant and informative.

Sandy closed off and everybody then enjoyed an excellent braai/luncheon prepared by the students in the campus kitchen using vegetables grown in their own gardens.

All in all an eye opener, showcasing to the people who attended what can be achieved through hard work, motivation and ultimately belief in a young generation given the opportunity to ‘fly’!

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