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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

Kovsie champ makes SA Paralympic swimmers team
2015-06-05

Johann van Heerden
Photo: Supplied

Johann van Heerden will fly the Kovsie flag high in this year’s International Paralympic Committee (lPC) Swimming Championships in Glasgow. The University of the Free State first-year BEd student is one of 10 South Africans representing our country.

According to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, 640 swimmers from about 50 countries are to plunge and stroke their way to the touch plates from 13-19 July.

“I first started swimming because I had a fit when I was born and it caused me to have Cerebral Palsy. My parents thought that, because my right-hand-side functioning was not good, swimming might help strengthen my muscles,” said Johann.

His parents played a major role in influencing the beginning of his professional swimming career.

Lauren van Heerden, Johann’s father, said, “I am so excited for him, and I am proud that he will be representing our country overseas. It is a big competition so it is a good experience for him.”

Qualifying for the IPC championships has proved that hard work pays off. As his coach, Mark Markgraaff, puts it: “Johann must go out there and have fun, most importantly; he will reap the benefits of his hard work.”

It is not only his parents and coach that Johann has made proud; Hetsie Veitch, Assistant Director of the Unit for Students with Disabilities, also expressed how proud she is.

“Since I’ve known him, he has been a very determined young man who is dedicated to his sport.”

The Rio Paralympics is where Johann envisions being next year.

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