Imagine being surrounded by young people who have big dreams and ideas that can change a nation. Or sitting next to the future minister or CEO of the next Fortune 500 company.Exciting to think of such possibilities right?. Well, for the 280 young and talented Zimbabwean scholars who were part of the first STAR Leadership Bootcamp powered by Higherlife Foundation and STAR Leadership Academy, this was an amazing reality.
The boot camp rolled into life on the 21st of August 2018 at ZESA Training Centre with the talented students from across Zimbabwe coming together for 3 days of an intensive and interactive educational experience that aimed at awakening the leader in them. To build the camaraderie amongst the students for the camp activities they would enjoy over the three days, students immediately formed teams and had the chance to get to know each other. The team names selected – such as the Gazelles, Eagles, and Ravens –symbolised leadership traits that these young leaders need to take Zimbabwe to greater heights.
Following the networking, the camp kicked off with opening remarks from Higherlife Foundation Executive Chair Mrs Tsitsi Masiyiwa, who passionately highlighted the need for the young leaders to step up and actively prepare for the roles they will play in the future as the leaders of Zimbabwe. “You are the present and the future of this nation, and your participation is necessary to change the future of our beloved country, and our continent,” she stated.
Mrs Masiyiwa also shared the bold vision the young students should want to achieve. This vision, –known as Vision 2050 – imagines a future where Zimbabwe is an upper-middle income country by 2050, with a good quality of life and opportunities for its citizens.
After the motivational address, the students heard a series of lectures on the nation of Zimbabwe, focusing on what our nation has to offer as well as the kinds of leaders it needs. A key take-away was the importance of developing the qualities of a STAR leader; the STAR acronym standing for Servant Leadership, Tenacity, Accountability and Responsibility. After the lectures, the students enjoyed the blockbuster hit “Black Panther”, inspiring them to think of the myriad possibilities that a nation can harness to reach greatness.
Day 2 of the camp kicked off with a variety of exercises and dialogue designed to help the students understand their personal leadership styles and work effectively in teams. Each team received a challenge designed to help them apply their learnings. The challenge focused on a real problem in Zimbabwe today, namely the prevalence of stunting among children in our nation. Upon presenting their solutions, the panel of judges were impressed at the students’ creativity, noting that these young students possess the energy, passion and problem-solving skills that are the key to a better Zimbabwe.
‘As the team lead for the Ravens, a team of young, bright African minds, I realized that every one of us can be the change that Africa needs. With young people at the forefront, we can definitely do more with the resources that we have as a continent, they just need to be coached!” stated Ngonidzashe Katsamba, the team lead for team Ravens.
Over the course of the camp, a recurring theme was the importance of students taking an active role in building our nation’s future. Lectures touched on Community Development, Entrepreneurship, and Design Thinking, to name a few and these topics really got the students out of their comfort zones and pushed them to dig deep within to search for the answers to get Africa moving forward.
The camp was not all just lectures to the delight of the students. Students enjoyed praise and worship sessions as well as a high-energy Zumba session that got them on their toes and boosted their concentration, creativity and critical thinking.
The camp was truly an unforgettable experience for the students, and gave them the unique opportunity to be selected to study at the prestigious STAR Leadership Academies that will open in 2019. For more on the STAR Leadership Academy stay tuned for more on our blog.