Alumni National Connect

Posted / 13 December 2022

Through its leadership programme Columba has established a network of close to 16 000 young people with a desire to contribute to positive change in their schools and communities. Over 4 500 of these are now out of school. COVID-19 forced people to come up with creative ways to continue living. Columba is no exception. To continue engaging and supporting young people, without flouting the pandemic regulations, Columba had to adapt and innovate. With the objective of connecting our national network of alumni, showcasing their social action, and showing learners that servant leadership can continue after school, Columba piloted its first National Alumni Connect in December 2020. Columba’s Head of Programming, Tracy Hackland said, “An online event such as this can help South Africa see the calibre of youth in our country and to see the world through the eyes of these dynamic young change agents.” The Connect was targeted at Columba alumni, high school learners and other young people interested in being part of the solutions and connecting with some like-minded youth. The 2-hours Connect streamed live to over 250 young people who registered and tuned-in at home and at provincial sites set up to accommodate those who couldn’t afford data. Themed “Social Action” the event focused on four of the seventeen Global Sustainable Development Goals: Zero Hunger, Good Health and Wellbeing, Quality Education as well as Sustainable Cities and Communities. Panelists included Columba alumni and a learner who are change agents actively engaged in social action in their communities. One of the education expert panellists said he was “very moved” as he listened to youth exemplifying all he believed in. Another panellist, Caroline Raphael, Chief Education Specialist at Gauteng Provincial Department of Education, said, “It was an honour to be part of the connect. The youngsters are an example of the talent that learners have. They are real social entrepreneurs. They are all just amazing.” One of attendees, Nomhlekhabo Mtsweni, commenting on a presentation on Depression, said “My family still don’t believe that depression exists, I’m happy there are people like IGB (It Gets Better NGO) here to help and educate our communities. Big up.” The event might just have planted a seed for a burgeoning partnership between Columba alumni and the Department of Education, schools and other youth around the country. Reflecting on the event, Tracy said, “This hasn’t been an easy year but using one of our core values of Creativity we have managed to engage and be more inclusive than ever before, with young people at the center of all of it.”

Upcoming Events


There are currently no upcoming events, keep an eye out for some exciting things happening soon.