“To see the Generation We Youth Movement, which started as just an idea, actually flourish into an event where we managed to gather over 200 students from various backgrounds to find commonality in a country which faces such strong division and tension, is something I’ll forever cherish,” says Kearsney College head prefect Phoka Mchunu.
LEADING into the story, here’s a bit of background: Phoka conceptualised and organised Generation We this year, bringing together matriculants from seven KZN high schools to interact with peers from different and diverse backgrounds in the Valley of A Thousand Hills, to inspire one another and share their individual stories.
Feature image: Kearsney College head prefect 2018 Phoka Mchunu.
Photo TRACEY VAN DEN AARDWEG
During July 140 students from the Generation We group led a walk through the Valley as part of an engagement programme with 140 children from the Valley. It culminated in music, dance, discussions and a tree planting ceremony.
A quote that Phoka often cites: “The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow” – Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Hi Phoka thanks for taking the time to share your leadership experiences in 2018 with KZN10.com.
1 What was the biggest takeaway in terms of what you learnt as head of school?
“Thank you for the opportunity Sir. The takeaway for this year? You’re never too high or powerful to listen and take the advice of others.
“I believe I discovered the importance in listening to the opinions, concerns and suggestions of my peers, teachers, the Kearsney College Old Boys and parents.
“I believe that the key to people believing in you is providing them with the reassurance that you’re always listening to their concerns.
“I found also when I opened myself to the advice of others; problems which seemed complex were easily solved due to a different perspective on how to resolve it.
“The lesson I learned as a leader is that you should ask more questions than you answer.
“You should listen to people, as each voice is crucial in guiding your decision.
2 As head of the learner body, what was your highlight of the year?
“The highlight that stands out for me would be the collaboration with the heads of other schools – Hilton, Michaelhouse, St Anne’s, Kloof High, Hillcrest High and St Mary’s – in starting the Generation We Youth Movement.
“It’s the realisation that the youth need to take a stand together, as we all face our individual challenges in life.
“To see the Generation We Youth Movement, which started as just an idea, actually flourish into an event where we managed to gather over 200 students from various backgrounds to find commonality in a country which faces such strong division and tension, is something I’ll forever cherish.
“The assurance that the matric Class of 2019 will continue what we managed to start, only serves to add in making this my highlight as Kearsney’s head prefect.”
3 What would be the one best piece of advice you would give to the Kearsney College head prefect of next year and his prefect group?
Real relationships and bad calls: The importance of succeeding in whatever you wish to achieve is having authentic relationships. Authenticity is the key to winning the support of your peers.
“Every relationship should be built on the foundation of respect and, once this has been achieved, trust and confidence will follow, helping you win their hearts and minds.
“It’s crucial to remember that life is not all sunshine and rainbows, so not all people will believe in what you have to say and support it.
“When that’s the case, remember every cloud has a silver lining.
“You’re bound to make a bad call someday – no-one is perfect. All the mistakes made along the way contribute in assisting you climb the next mountain.
“At the end of the day it’s a journey best understood once travelled.”
Thanks again, Phoka, you have certainly given me food for thought. Much of which I can adopt in my own life. There is a maturity, a wisdom and a balance that is compelling.
Phoka, your are a credit to Kearsney College. Everything of the best for the future.
Jonathan (Jono) Cook