In Orange Farm, school conflicts have plagued the community, resulting in perilous gang wars between high schools, often leading to tragic student casualties.
In response, Qhubekani Ngubane, a 15-year-old Grade 10 student at Thetha Secondary School, has taken on a mission to quell these conflicts and promote peace among learners. His innovative approach, ‘Thetha Ingoma Thursdays,’ is a cultural extravaganza comprising traditional song and dance competitions among schools.
Qhubekani’s primary objective is to unite schools, fostering healthy competition, friendships and enjoyable interactions. Qhubekani drew inspiration from Wits University, where a similar initiative is successfully implemented.
He said: “We call it ‘Ubumbano’ – a showcase of our traditional dancing skills while forming new friendships. Witnessing different schools gather in one place to have fun instead of conflict is immensely gratifying.
“The inaugural event held on 26 October at Thetha Secondary School proved successful, drawing participation from schools like Mphethi Mahlatsi, Vulanindlela and Thamsanqa.
Operating as a collective named Ibandla Events, Qhubekani also organizes events like ‘Softy Boys,’ a recent Softys Party. Additionally, he plans to donate 100 sanitary towels to Qoqa Secondary School on 23 November, highlighting the importance of menstrual hygiene for girls in the community.
Without external sponsorship, Qhubekani funds these initiatives personally, driven by the desire to effect positive change.
Expressing gratitude to participating schools, including his own, Thetha Secondary, Qhubekani emphasized the positive impact of the competition and expressed plans to expand the event next year by involving more schools, aiming for a larger and more inclusive gathering.