Luther's presentation went down an absolute storm. He spoke eloquently and passionately about the impact that sport and II has had on his life since he joined the programme, and on the lives of other young people he trains.
Afterwards, I had a quick chat with Luther and Slindo about their experiences so far and what they plan to do next:
How did you get involved with International Inspiration?
Slindo: Through II, the British Council links schools in South Africa with schools in the UK. My school, Nottingham Road Combined School in Mooiriver, KwaZulu Natal, was linked with St. Peter's School in Bournemouth earlier this year. My Principal was looking for young leaders to help to deliver the project and, as I am the captain of lots of our sports teams, I was selected in April 2010.
Luther: It was a similar process for me. My school, Cultura High School in Bronkhorstspruit in the far east of Pretoria, is linked with St. Machars Academy in Aberdeen. Although I'm not part of any school teams, I have a reputation for organising events and getting young people together.
I enjoy encouraging people to think there's something bigger and better and that they can dream outside of Cultura High School – the world is a very big place and I want young people to think how what they're doing now has an impact on their future. And, I want young people to enjoy playing sports. Plus, I'm also the Vice-President of the Representative Council of Learners for my school, my district and my province.
What have you done through International Inspiration?
Slindo: In my own school I have organised events and tournaments for our learners but also against other schools. The last tournament we organised involved five neighbouring schools too. We take part in soccer, netball, athletics and rugby. The learners from my school got the chance to discuss II and how we help other young people to take part in sport with the other II young leaders from other schools.
We then took all this learning back to our schools and shared our ideas. The British Council created this ‘buddy’ and training system to help us share our learning and to get more young people involved.
Luther: The main thing I have done is to spread the word about II. We've got 24 II recruits within our school now and I've been working with them and encouraging them to help me to spread the word.
It used to be very hard to get people to take part in sport – sometimes they didn't want to get sweaty or to ruin their manicures and just wanted to be all grown-up – but that's changing.
We're now working to identify three local primary schools which we can link with three primary schools in Scotland – feeder schools for our schools – and want to work with them to share information and to cooperate and learn from each other. In the long-term, I want to keep building and solidifying my school’s relationship with St. Machars.
Tell me more about your school links:
Slindo: We communicate with my partner school every day, at 12.30pm, via Skype. That's keeping us connected. Learners from St. Peter’s came over and they promised to help us with school equipment. At the beginning of next year, they’re going to send us a container of stuff. I'm now in Year 12, my last year, so I want to get other learners involved.
At the beginning we only had about 15 people who really liked sport – now, through II and the work we've been doing, I think there's about 600.
Luther: We've been talking to our II students in Aberdeen and they've been very helpful. I'm at the end of my final year of school but I'm very confident about the future as we're training about 24 current Grade 10s and 11s. The teachers are going to be trained too to help spread the word.
Slindo: Did you learn anything from attending this conference?
Luther: Of course. We learnt that, although our futures are probably in big organisations, we need to take part in conversations now. Lots of organisations think they’ve got it and that they understand young people but young people need to be part of the conversation for organisations to know that they’re delivering things that young people want and need.
I would also ask big organisations to think about the fact that young people will be the future President of SASCOC or the IOC, the Heads of Sport Associations etc. Young people need first-hand experience of these organisations when they're young; they need to be there and to listen, to learn, to observe and to make comments. This way, in the future when they're in charge, they will understand the importance of involving young people.
Slindo: People must start taking sport seriously. Sport unites different nations, whatever our differences. On the field, we're all the same...regardless of where we come from or where we're going or who we are or who we're not. I think sport is an international language and I want everyone to start speaking it!