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Newsletter YFU South Africa October 2013

Contents Hello! Farewell students of 2012-2013! New interns Welcome new students! PAO CANSA Relay A South African experience AGM On internship in Sweden YFU to Soshanguve Reminders for the summer What to expect for a South African Christmas Upcoming events Contact information


Dear YFU friends and families, The winter season is finally over and Jacaranda trees are taking over the city of Pretoria. I should not complain about the winter, since I came from Swedish Summer to South African spring, but oh well, a Swedish summer is more or less like a South African winter. Time flies when you have fun! Our inbound students that arrived in August have already been here for two and a half months, what happens with time? I am sure they are enjoying their time in South Africa and I wish them the best for the up-coming exams! My name is Henrik by the way and I am the new office intern in Pretoria. You will find me and Leandro, my intern-mate, further down in the newsletter. As a new person in a new country and culture you will find things that amaze you and wish you could take back. In my case it is the South African people. Coming from a country and culture where greeting a stranger or hugs and body contact is rare, South Africa is a big difference from home and that is what I like the most with South Africa! As you probably know, it has been a while since the last newsletter, but here it is again, this time full of adventures from our students, volunteers and families all over the world. We will get to know our new interns in Pretoria, get to know how it feels to come as a new student to a South African school, meet one of our volunteers who is doing an internship in Sweden and much much more! I want to say thank you to all the contributors in this newsletter! Thank you! I hope you will enjoy it! Regards, Henrik Ocklind, intern in Pretoria


Farewell students of 2012-2013!


New interns! In September 2013 two interns joined the YFU family in Pretoria. One from Sweden and one from Argentina.

Name: Henrik Ocklind

Name: Leandro Elvio Garcia

From: Uppsala, Sweden

From: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Age: 20

Age: 23

Where did you go on exchange? Colorado, USA

Where did you go on exchange? Minnesota, USA

What are you doing in YFU SA? I am the regular office intern in the Pretoria office

What are you doing in YFU SA? Sustainability intern Best thing with SA? People diversity

Best thing with SA? The people!


Welcome new inbound students! Pretoria - Fabian, Germany - Isabel, Belgium - Jonas, Germany


Polokwane Nelspruit/Lydenburg - Anne, Denmark - Frederikke, Denmark

- Fanny, Finland

- Annagrete, Estonia

- Maren, Norway

- Axel, Finland

- Pauline, Germany

- Capucine, France - David, Hungary

- Mariesa, Germany - Santiago, Mexico

Piet Retief

- Felix, Germany

- Sophie, Germany

- Prune, France

- Gustav, Austria

- Vince, Germany

- James, Australia - Johann, Switzerland - Karl, Estonia Johannesburg

Port Elizabeth - Andrina, Switzerland - Ansgar, Germany - Nick, Germany - Rahel, Switzerland - Pascal, Germany - Salome, France - Silverio, Mexico

- Jule, Germany

- Marie, Germany

- Kenneth, Sweden

- Matilda, Finland

- Lea, Germany

- Melanie, Austria

- Ray, Germany

- Paula, Germany

- Siri, Denmark Cape Town

- Xavier, France

- Birte, Germany - Saga, Finland 6

- Lucas, Germany

PAO in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo! The post arrival weekend for the 2013/2014 students took place 6 weeks after the students arrived in South Africa. The weekend of 13 to 16 September was spend with them at Athalia Eden, in Mpumalanga. Students and volunteers arrived at Athalia Eden throughout the Friday morning and early afternoon and were all pleasantly surprised by the well maintained tents, ablution facilities and of course the small swimming pool. The first afternoon was spent with a little bit of reflection on the first 6 weeks in the country, with their host families and in their schools.

child. Hilde who could not travel to the orientation unfortunately missed out on all the fun and ‘Thabiso had

Two busy days followed. Serious topics like culture shock and communication problems were followed by fun energizers, the learning of our National Anthem and the singing of their own anthems. A visit by the South African Police dog unit had everybody all excited and a surprise drug test on volunteering students opened the floor for serious discussions about drug abuse and the treatment of drug addicts. On Saturday afternoon we had our first ever YFU SA baby shower for volunteer Thabiso Dibakwane who with his wife Hilde is expecting their first 7

to endure the good natured jokes, answering of “serious� baby questions and being fed something horrible that resembled baby food. Also on Saturday was our YFU concert. The students made us laugh with their shows about transport, school, family life, food, security and music and the teamers and volunteers opened their program with a Sunday school song that quickly changed to some toi-toiing about equal right, electric lights and big corn bites. It was a fun evening that ended around a bon fire. Sunday was there too soon and although we could sense that the students just wanted to have fun there were still some sessions the get through. Some of the volunteers had one on one meetings with students that were identified as having had a difficult time so far and that also went well. The first students and volunteers left on Sunday afternoon and early evening and by Monday morning all left Athalia Eden feeling tired but satisfied. All are looking forward to the rest of the year with their families and new friends. Magda Buitendach 8

CANSA Relay on October 5th in Gauteng! On the 5th of October YFU participated in the CANSA Relay in Centurion, outside Pretoria. For those of you who do not know what CANSA works with is it the cancer association of South Africa. The relay was to walk about 400m around an area between 4PM in the afternoon until early morning at 6AM the next day, a total of 14 hours. On the sides of the lane, organisations and companies had tents to promote their business, while we were all thinking of those who could not make it. We started out at 10 o’clock in the morning by setting up the tents and lay out information sheets. We also had German and South African cookies we gave out to people around us with South African flags with information about YFU. It was a warm day and we tried to stay away from the sun as much as possible. When the relay started, the organisation estimated a total of 3000 participants in the relay. During the night they called out different themes and we then had to change our clothes. Some of the themes were feathers and Ferraris, sports, pyjama lap, worst dress etc. When were done the next morning I think we were all tired and tried to get home as soon as we could. I would summarise the day as successful where we got the chance


to spend time with each other and promote our organisation and who knows next year we might be there again? Henrik Ocklind, intern


My experience in South Africa Out of almost 50 students, Prune from France is the only inbound student in Piet Retief, Mpumalanga. This is her experience so far:

“My experience in South Africa have been awesome so far. I'm having a lot fun, a lot of great time and discovering so much! I live in Piet Retief, in Mpumalanga. It's a really small town, there's not that much to do, but I like it. It's very calm and quiet! I love my host family so much. It's a Zulu family, with a whole different culture from mine. They are Christian, like most of my friends and people at school. We go to church every two Sunday. It's a whole new world for me, because I've never been taught about religion, but I find it very interesting! My host sister is 17 and we are very close to each other. It's been really helpful to have her, especially during the first days of school. I made a lot of friends here. Everyone is very welcoming and warm. My English has improved so much since I came here, and I know a tiny bit of Afrikaans and Zulu by now. My school is half Afrikaans half English so I have to be very concentrated to follow in class! Meeting all the other exchange student was also really nice. We have a lot of things to talk about together and it's always a lot of fun when we get together! South Africa is a wonderful country, I love it.� Prune, France


AGM Between the 10th-12th of October YFU South Africa’s Annual General Meeting was held in Johannesburg with 20 YFU SA volunteers and staff members. This was the first time the meeting was held somewhere else than Cape Town in the history of YFU SA. Board members and staff members started out on the 10th with meetings and the rest arrived the day after. The weekend had a full schedule with meetings and activities, but we still got a little time to take a swim in the pool.

The next morning Nina gave us reflections over the past year and how we can build on for the next year. YFU SA’s marketing intern, Lena, gave us report over her marketing tour has been over the last months. We also got a view over how our regions are doing. Rynette told us about Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga and Iris over Port Elizabeth. Leandro, the admin intern, showed us how he will make the office work easier with less files. After that two workshops followed; one with application process and one with how we can keep the volunteers in the organisation. The meeting ended with a gala dinner on Saturday with great food!

We summarized the past year and got reflections from the volunteers and regional updates on how it is going right now for the students in South Africa. After that we talked about what we can improve in the organisation. Hans started out the meeting by telling the audience about the past year and how the organisation is doing and Limpho gave us a report from the JVC.

Henrik Ocklind, intern


Internship in Sweden For the past ten or so months I have had the wonderful opportunity of working in the organization that I love in the country I previously spent my exchange year in... Youth For Understanding SWEDEN! This has been an enriching, interesting, fun and a year I will take many experiences from and I still have two more wonderful months to look forward till!

decided not just to keep saying "I want to go back", but instead just go back! Then of course I knew it would also be a great way for me to develop personally and uses the experiences I gained here back when I continue volunteering for YFU back home. These are just one of the few opportunities an exchange offers beyond the great experience as a 15 - 18 year old exchange student.

I have been the office intern at the Stockholm offices of YFU Sweden since late January and what I have done has ranged from plenty of administration work to meeting students at orientations to meeting and speaking with volunteers from all across the country. It is very different than being an exchange student as you can imagine, but it is similar in some ways as well. I stay with a host family like I did as a student, but I know get to see Swedish culture as an adult and with the eyes of a more mature me. Working at the office also means I get to see the other side of being an exchange student, which is ALL the work that goes into being a student and the behind the scenes action.

I have had a tremendous time thus far, but I indeed look forward to coming back to YFU South Africa and continuing the great work YFU does all around the world in my own backyard, not literally of course :-). And of course I have to thank these two YFU organisations South Africa and Sweden for sending me and accepting respectively. Thank you and tack! Ngoako Mashitisho YFU South Africa volunteer Intern at YFU Sweden

As an active volunteer for YFU South Africa, I took this opportunity because of course I loved my exchange so much I


YFU to Soshanguve A Monday in late September, the students in Gauteng had been invited by Mariesa’s host father to join their church in an outreach in Soshanguve, a township outside Pretoria.

When we arrived to the place where we were supposed to be at, children had been running after us for minutes. Less than hour later we were out of food, clothes and other things we had brought with us. After we went back home with a new experience that many of us probably will never forget.

Five students (Fabian, Isabel, Jonas, Mariesa and Sophie), two volunteers (Barbara and Helene (exchange student in SA five years ago)) and the two interns (Henrik and Leandro) participated in the outreach.

Henrik Ocklind, intern


Reminders for the summer As you might know, the South African sun is stronger than in Europe and many other parts of the world. Here are some protection tips from CANSA:

- Stay out of the sun between 10am and 3pm. Stay in the shade or under an umbrella as much as possible - Wear protective clothing and thickly-woven fabric hats with wide brims. Avoid caps that leave the neck and ears exposed. - Wear sunglasses with a UV protection rating of UV400 - It’s important to know the best SPF for your skin type. Use sunscreen with an SPF of between 20 and 50 and SPF 30-50 for fair to very fair skin - Always apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside and reapply at least every two to three hours. - Look out for the expiry or manufacturing date as products usually expire two years after manufacture, however, no product should be used once opened after a year - Avoid sunbeds and sunlamps


Christmas in South Africa Exchange students from Europe in South Africa often have a huge culture shock during Christmas. Gone are the white, cold Christmases of their childhood; the lazy winter evenings in front of fires snuggled in warm clothes, hats and scarves. Christmas in South Africa is so different but is can also be a lot of fun. December is normally spent in a flurry of shopping or lazing on our beaches or with the extended families visiting together. We are having endless braais and eat lots of fruit especially watermelons that are being sold everywhere. I asked some of my friends and colleagues to share with us how their family spends Christmas and most Afrikaans families starts out with a braai or meal on Christmas Eve after which the family visits together listening to or singing Christmas songs. Gifts are exchanged or delivered by Santa depending on the age of the children. On Christmas morning families go to an early morning service at church and spend Christmas day eating, visiting and playing with their gifts. Our Christmas meals are mostly of lots of meat (warm and cold) and salads and for dessert ice cream and the old favorite trifle. Thabo, one of my colleagues wrote the following about his Christmas: “As kids, we used to visit our grandparents for the holidays and spend the Christmas with them. We would get homecooked traditional meals that you can never find in the suburbs or townships. We would stay in a place with no electricity but only use candles to light up at night. On the 16

Christmas Eve in the afternoon we would look at the brightest star in the west which we call “Kopadilalelo”, which I got to learn later that it is actually the planet Venus. One can still see it every evening just before sunset and other stars are visible at night.

Today we spend the day with many extended family members and have dinner/braai with candle lights. But for younger children, the same tradition we had still continues… “ Something else lots of South Africans have in common is the feeling of goodwill towards the less fortunate. Lots of churches, children’s and old age homes have lists of people that need food, treats and/ or gifts to also make their Christmas special. My family always tries to buy a gift or two for those that cannot afford to buy their own because Christmas is a time for giving and we are so blessed that we also want share with others.

On the morning of the Christmas we would be woken up very early and wait for the sun to rise. We would all look at the sun and were told that the sun would be dancing (and yes we believed it because we could see it really dancing). We would also get gifts that our parents had bought us earlier, hid them and only revealed to us on that day. We would be told that the presents came from Father Christmas, and yes we believed it all. We would then all dress in our new Christmas outfits and go to church.

To sum it up, Christmas in South Africa is a time for sun, fun, family, gifts, good food, goodwill towards others and a quiet reflection in church of why we celebrate this holiday.

Magda Buitendach


Upcoming events November 16th – Family Day – Middelburg 30th – Cape Tour December - 10th Cape Tour 7th – Family Day – Cape Town 14th – Family Day – Gauteng January 9th – New IB-students arrive New OB-students leave Semester students leave Mid-year orientation February Cultural Exchange March Cultural Exchange April Kruger Tour



Contact information YFU National Office – Cape Town

Would you like to become a member of YFU South Africa?

Dr Nina Voges E-mail:

A membership cost you only R10/year and can be paid into YFU.

Telephone: 021 423 1677 YFU Regional Office – Pretoria Rynette Scholtz

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and Twitter!

E-mail: Telephone: 012 549 2362 YFU Volunteer – Port Elizabeth Iris Goeda E-mail: Telephone: 082 5192590


Profile for YFU South Africa

YFU South Africa Newsletter - November 2013  

In this last issue of the year we have: - Goodbye to old students - New interns - CANSA Relay - AGM - An intern from SA in Sweden...

YFU South Africa Newsletter - November 2013  

In this last issue of the year we have: - Goodbye to old students - New interns - CANSA Relay - AGM - An intern from SA in Sweden...