School leadership club

AU’s School Leadership Club Programme empowers youth through student government and leadership training in schools. Launched in 2014, the programme addresses the lack of youth leadership and community involvement among students, particularly in townships and underprivileged communities facing heavy social and economical challenges. Many schools have become a place where drugs, thugs, and weapons move freely through the school gates. Despite national efforts to restore a culture of learning and teaching, incidents of theft, vandalism, and teenage pregnancy, school drop-outs, burglary, rape, gangsterism, and even murder are regularly reported on school grounds. Safety and learning pride are a thing of the past for many of our schools, and we aim to fix that. 

The AU School Leadership Clubs have three main themes – School, Environment, and Community. They consider the school and its surroundings in the region as an embedded institution. 

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School Leadership Club’s objectives are to:

  1. Foster leadership qualities in learners and capacitate them to promote social-emotional learning, volunteerism, and social activism;
  2. Provide learners with the confidence and optimism to make a difference in their own lives and communities;
  3. Create a platform for students to learn new skills, share experiences, and engage in discussions on sensitive topics;
  4. Promote enthusiasm and optimism for the future of schools and communities;
  5. Develop critical thinking skills and a social activism perspective among learners; and
  6. Cultivate a culture of learning and appreciation for schools as safe learning centers.

Each School Leadership Club holds annual elections of a cabinet, including positions such as President, Minister of Information and Public Relations, Minister of Finance, Minister of Social Development, Minister of Sports, Culture, and Entertainment, Minister of Health and Environment, and Minister of Education, supported by several Parliamentarians. This structure mirrors the South African government system to give learners a realistic sense of government operations. In this forum, students are educated on how to take action on important issues in their communities as well as on topics relevant to their age such as peer pressure, sexual education, and mental health.

Each year, learners additionally attend an overnight leadership camp to hone their skills in topics such as goal setting, ethics, roles and responsibility, social and emotional learning, and human rights. The programme as a whole provides a platform for students to develop leadership skills, engage in meaningful discussions, and take pride in their school and community development.

When Africa Unite first started the School Leadership Clubs in 2014, we operated in five schools in the Cape Flats:

  • Spes Bona High School (Athlone)
  • Simunye High School (Delft)
  • Pakhama High (Philippi)
  • Zonnebloem Nest Senior School (Woodstock)
  • Mountview High school (Hanover Park)

The original goal of this project was to give learners the opportunity to become agents of positive change within their schools and communities. The specific objectives were:

  • To give young learners a platform to learn new skills, share experiences.
  • To raise their voices, listen to others and develop confidence and communication skills.
  • To create an atmosphere of trust and offer a safe place to talk about sensitive issues.
  • To volunteer, take initiative and have a chance to develop leadership skills at a younger age.

Ten years later, as of 2024, AU School Leadership Clubs operate in the following five schools in the Western Cape:

  • Dr. Nelson Mandela High School (Nyanga)
  • Rosendaal High School (Delft)
  • Salt River High School (Salt River)
  • Gardens Commercial High School (CBD)
  • Portland High School (Mitchells Plain)

We also operate in schools in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.