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28 May 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa
Siphila Dlamini
Siphila Dlamini represented the UFS at the 15th Southern Africa Scout Youth Forum.

During the short April holidays, first-year BA student, Siphila Dlamini, led and participated in the 15th Southern Africa Scout Youth Forum and the 41st Southern Africa Scout Conference. Siphila previously also represented South Africa in the 8th and 13th World Scout Youth Forums in Baku, Azerbaijan and Harare, Zimbabwe respectively. He also participated in the 2018 International Leadership Training in Lilongwe, Malawi.

Siphila was elected as a member of the Southern Africa Youth Committee for the term 2017-2020, with the mandate of representing young leaders in decision making and youth engagement at Zonal level of the Southern Africa Scout Youth Forum.

He formed part of the forum committee and chaired several sessions of the proceedings since the tender age of 14. Youth leaders from Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries such as Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini, Malawi, South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe attended the conference. 

This 15th forum was themed ‘The Role of young people during emergencies’. Throughout the forum, young people deliberated on strategies to improve decision making in national scout organisations within their respective countries. The Southern Zone Youth Forum empowers young people by equipping them with good decision-making skills and increasing youth engagement on the African continent. 

According to Siphila, the Southern Zone Youth Forum is an effective tool for youth engagement and the continuation of skills development among young people in Southern Africa. It allows the youth to reflect on their growth and achievement, while broadening the unique impact of scouting in the world. 

News Archive

Jan Smuts: from country boy to world stage; a reassessment
2017-11-10

 Description: Jan Smuts: van boerseun tot wêreldverhoog Tags: Jan Smuts: van boerseun tot wêreldverhoog

At the book discussion of Jan Smuts: van boerseun tot wêreldverhoog;
'n herwaardering
, were from the left: Con Robinson, Protea Bookshop;
Prof Kobus du Pisani; and Prof André Wessels from the Department
of History at the UFS. 
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

Prof André Wessels from the Department of History at the University of the Free State (UFS) was one of 20 co-authors of Jan Smuts: van boerseun tot wêreldverhoog; 'n herwaardering – a book compiled under the leadership of the general editor, Prof Kobus du Pisani, from North-West University. This unique history book deals with the different themes in the life of Smuts, rather than describing the events chronologically. 

South Africans are almost afraid of their own history nowadays ... and yet another history book is being launched. Does it make sense? Yes, for two reasons. 

The monster in the dark
One of the ways to overcome fear is through knowledge. The monster in the dark disappears when one understands that the street lights and tree branches are creating interesting shadows. The more one knows about something, the less scary it becomes. 

The Greek Bible 

This was possibly also Smuts’s approach. Knowledge was his passion, and even today he is considered as one of the best students of the University of Cambridge. Although very few people really understand his holism theory, Smuts experienced the complex world in a very simple way – as one – not as lots of different pieces functioning independently of each other. 

Smuts could have made a success of any of his interest fields – law, botany, literature, and philosophy. However, politics laid three wars on his doorstep. While he is regarded as a militarist by some, he was actually a peacemaker. He played a role in the establishment of the League of Nations, and later the United Nations. Incidentally, he continued to read the Greek Bible while on commando during the Anglo-Boer War. 

A colourful character
The second reason for yet another Jan Smuts history book is his fascinating humanness. Time should be spent on colourful characters such as this. It is worthwhile hearing the story of someone who had such a great impact locally and internationally – good or bad. 

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