Schoolgirls find their feet
NTUTHUKO MLONDO firstname.lastname@example.org UHAMBO!
African News Agency
TODAY, society depends on technology and digital use for every interaction. The youth, in particular, are influenced by what they see on platforms such as Tiktok and heavily rely on Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram to communicate. Durban Girls’ College led a 12-day hike – called uhambo – aimed at digitally depriving some of their pupils and in doing so, acquainting them with alternate methods of communication – in the form of letters and person-to-person conversations – and highlight the issues of social media. uhambo translates to “the journey”. The 12-day hike took place between April 23 and May 5, and the start was at the Khotso Lodge & Horse Trails campsite, Underberg. The hike involved 68 Grade 9 pupils, seven teachers, seven Spirit of Adventure guides, one nurse and one paramedic. Deputy head of high school academics Jennifer Harrison said that the Grade 9 year is often characterised as being a challenging year with regard to interpersonal relationships and social media issues. The school aimed at helping Grade 9 pupils find their feet ahead of a challenging year in their development. “We want our girls to explore nature, have a hiatus from social media, build a sense of belonging in their team, and develop grit in overcoming obstacles. It’s also a chance to live simply and find gratitude in what we have,” Harrison said. “They fill in a daily journal which is based on positive psychology and mindfulness.” Harrison said the school achieved its goal as the girls had come back with a strong sense of camaraderie and mentioned that they didn’t miss their cellphones and social media. “Reverend Kevin Robertson of St Martin’s Church was very involved in the start of long journeys in schools, and speaks of the three journeys that take place: the physical journey teaching endurance, the group dynamics journey, and the personal journey of self-discovery. “We wanted our girls to experience this for themselves,” Harrison said. “He was the clergy representative on the Durban Girls’ College board when we started the uhambo journeys and was instrumental in getting long journeys in schools started,” Harrison said. She added that he is passionate about education and a qualified teacher and had previously ministered for over 18 years as a school chaplain at Hilton College. Harrison said uhambo with the Grade 9 pupils had occurred since 2016 in various areas of KZN.