Tuesday the 14th of June 2016 became a day that cuddled Public Works’ management and personnel in celebrating 2016 Youth Month. During this period, the whole of South Africa gets into the mood to relive and rethink the sounds and cries by the youth during the uprising in 1976. In remembrance of these events, the 16th of June is now a public holiday in South Africa. The session brought about a spirit that would seek to advancing good courses that would address youth development towards ‘moving South Africa forward’.
Vusi Masinga, led a two hour jam packed programme, with a line-up of vibrant and eloquent speakers such as Mrs Nobuhle Mlotshwa (who offered an opening prayer), Mr Glen Sithole, the Director for Human Resource Management (with a word of purpose and welcoming of guests), Mrs Silondiwe Nyawo, the Human Resource practitioner (with an introductory note of guest speakers) and all motivational speakers who delivered selected topics respectively namely Messrs Andile Mkhize, an Administrative Officer from the Southern Regional office and Reuben Chaibva the General Manager for Imperial Hotel, Pietermaritzburg and Ms Thina Dinga, the Director for Internal Control with KZN COGTA , finally with Mr Phiweyo Duma, the Chief Director for Corporate Services embracing the occasion with a vote of thanks.
Let us take a cruise and get to feel how the ‘Youth Day’ session unfolded. As Vusi Masinga, the ‘cruise captain’, switched the engine on, Nobuhle Mlotshwa took us to the ‘heaven’s stairway’ through an inspirational prayer than no heathen could shun as the brief sermon touched all guests and participants. The cabin crew have rules to follow. We acknowledged when Silondiwe Nyawo made her presence felt during her role as she introduced all guests accordingly. As the programme unfolded, the ship was already leaving its shores smoothly at a moderate speed and the sea breeze beginning to rattle the coast. This was the time when Director Glen Sithole managed to calm all guests with his ‘food-for-thought’ welcoming speech. In his address, Mr Sithole acknowledged that Public Works supports the premise that both youth and youth development and leadership programs positively shape the growth of young people in South Africa. However, the focus should be more on urging and instilling in the youth the sense of pursuing their career path towards the built environment, which Public Works remains the sole provider.
The mood was very positive and high, with the programme director being on top of the game with his entertaining style and being ‘hands-on’ by keeping everybody on-board and involved. As the ship sailed between the rocky icebergs, Andile Mkhize – the man with many names, unreservedly and frankly delivered one of his ‘untold’ touching stories that possibly left some of the attendees with glittering eyes and sombre hearts. His story remains a mark that will change one’s personality for the better. According to Andile, ‘there is no room for failure in life’- notwithstanding the challenges that one may go through.
The momentum of the session was quite awesome when Reuben Chaibva took the baton further. His presentation was direct, realistic and more on ‘health and goals-orientated individuals’. In his speech, Reuben said “always be ready and prepared for opportunities than having opportunities that you are not ready and prepared for”. According to him, people should learn to set standards in life. Standards that would always be beneficial to one, goals that direct and leaving one with happiness rather than despair. Songs of jubilation and excitement were sang in support of the occasion and this was a definite signal that this department may establish its own ‘choir’ in the near future. The length and duration of the journey could not be felt at all. Everybody got embraced with a spirit of ‘moving South Africa forward’.
It was another tune when Thina Dingo, the Director for Internal Control at KZN COGTA had her fair share to speak to the audience. Thina may have been one of the outspoken speakers the audience (including myself) has ever listened to. She is very confident and a straight talker. Her speech covered on management related topics at a work place, which highlighted aspects such as ‘being a team builder’ – putting together a strong team that works well, have the passion for work, ‘leading by example’- motivation is best done by example and guidance, not by issuing commands, ‘securing a mentor for growth at a work place’, ‘avoiding slandering at work’- more directed at women, ‘focussing on constructive criticism’, ‘be ready to listen to sub-ordinates’, ‘make time and space for initiatives’ and ‘give credit where it is due’ – giving complements for a job well done.
She confidently displayed her forceful personality and she was quite vocal and fathomable that learning how to be a more effective leader is within everyone’s grasp – whether you lead multiple teams or a team or just one staff member. Leaders who develop their emotional intelligence are better positioned to handle the human relationships so essential to the work.
Mr Phiweyo Duma, the Chief Director for Corporate Services had the honour to embrace the closure of the session as the cruise reached its destination. His closing testimony was appealing and evidently left some of us pepped. According to him, work fills a larger part of one’ life and the only way to do a great work is for one to love your work – and this can truly make you fully accomplished. Above all, “it is also up to all of us to consider looking up to the Almighty God” said Mr Duma in a touching tone.
Yes, it was an ‘exciting Youth Day session for Public Works’, needless to mention that invitations in the near future will continue to pour in for staff to attend such ground breaking sessions. It is true, people were inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary speakers. All our thoughts now break their bounds. Our minds transcend limitations, our consciousness expand in one direction as we find ourselves moving South Africa forward.
We are bound to see the next chapter of Youth Day 2017 as the voyage continues…