In the coming weeks, we will feature blog posts written by current SEGL at ALA students, offering their perspective on what they are learning and living here in Johannesburg. This week, Lila K. from NY and Isadora G-L from MA offer us their perspectives on the most recent case study about development and entrepreneurship, which will help prepare students to begin their Social Venture Projects (SVPs), one of SEGL’s three Capstones.
This past week at SEGL has been a week full of learning about African development, creating our own plan of development for South Africa, and talking to entrepreneurs. At the beginning of the week, we were tasked with reading Walter Rodney’s “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa,” in which Rodney defines development and underdevelopment. We also did several other readings to formulate our own definition of development and apply it to our case study of South Africa’s development. We were in the same group, and we created the GLLUS Index (in a timed session, hence the not-so-creative name). Our metric aimed to measure welfare across various socio-economic parameters. The ultimate goal was to use these measurements to guide interventions that would improve South Africa’s rating on the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS).
On Thursday, our Ethics and Leadership class took a trip to ImpactHub in Rosebank, Johannesburg. We learned about what it means to be an entrepreneur in South Africa, as well as the risks that come with the job. The first entrepreneur we met was Bubu, who started Jobox, a company that connects businesses with students to increase the employment rate. He taught us that to become an entrepreneur, one needs to fully understand the problem to create the perfect solution. We also met with Xabiso Lombo, the founder of Guardian Gabriel, a safety button for women to use who are affected by violence in the country. Xabiso spoke about the hardships of being a woman in the field of entrepreneurship and is hoping to decrease violence towards women.
Outside of classes, we are also part of the ALApella club, an a cappella group run by ALA students (and advised by SEGL at ALA program director Mairéad). We are currently learning “Kuliko Jana” by Sauti Sol. We are also team players on the volleyball and soccer teams, and we have practices every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Practices involve lots of tough conditioning, but also positive energy and chanting. Last Saturday, all the girls’ halls competed in the Battle of the Masks. We had three activities to complete: athletic, intellectual, and performance. Isadora’s hall, Athena, came in third place, and Lila’s hall, Keza, came in fourth (also known as last). On Sunday, we concluded our week by getting some rest, doing homework, lounging around our halls, and eating some good food.
And this weekend, while four members of the SEGL cohort were in Botswana to play volleyball, basketball, and netball as part of an inter-school tournament called “Derby Day,” the rest of the group took a trip to Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden for some time in nature on a beautiful Saturday afternoon! See photos below.