Ubunye at the University of Cape Town is an umbrella organization that helps meet the needs and development aims of four specific student-run organizations. Although serving different purposes, the organizations, which include Inkanyezi, TeachOut, the Township Debating League and the Media School, work towards the same goal: providing educational advancement, opportunities for leadership and life-skills development, and mentorship and guidance to motivated high school learners in Cape Town. By creating a collaborative space and combining efforts of various initiatives, Ubunye has been able to extend its reach and address multiple community needs.
Ubunye was established at a time when the quality of South African schools was on a continuous decline. Many schools in South Africa townships are at an educational disadvantage, as pass-rates have been declining over the past five years. Educational institutions are extremely under-resourced and under-staffed, and, therefore, extra-curricular activities are pushed aside as constrained budgets force school administrators to focus solely on improving academics. Students in these school systems are left with little access to many of the enriching activities available to those who attend privileged schools. The organizations of Ubunye saw an opportunity to make a difference and improve the state of South African schools. Professor Jo Beal, Deputy Vice Chancellor of UCT said that she is "particularly delighted [with Ubunye’s award] given the focus on Global Citizenship and UCT’s efforts to enhance awareness and commitment to such values through our emerging programme of the same name." In its two years of existence, Ubunye has been able to reach 500 citizens living in the townships of Cape Town.
To address the needs of local school children, Ubunye encompasses a number of student organizations focusing efforts in providing various after-school activities. Inkanyezi’s goal is to improve the post-school prospects for its learners through mentorship and career guidance, and facilitating applications for tertiary studies. The Media School runs classes in written, radio and photographic journalism and organizes school newspapers, providing a creative outlet for students in activities not provided by their vastly under-resourced township schools. TeachOut aims to improve the academic performance of township learners by providing academic tutoring in English, Functional English, Mathematics, Science and Accounting. The Township Debating League trains learners in debating and critical thinking and organizes a development debating league with over 20 underprivileged schools taking part in tournaments.
Ubunye works to create a better learning environment for students, providing enhanced academic knowledge, improved educational resources, and a greater appreciation for learning initiatives. Aside from providing greater educational opportunities, the university students also encourage younger generations of students to become interested and involved in their communities. They work on skill development and leadership training so that younger students can realize their potential and become active members of society. By focusing on all aspects of the learners’ development, Ubunye facilitates the growth of confident and capable learners. Ubunye’s student organizations provide support and guidance to younger generations, motivating students to achieve their highest potential and create a positive direction for the future. Visit Ubunye’s website>>