For the first time a leader taught me respect and self-belief

My name is Henry Sibande, I live in Mpumalanga and am the current Young Leaders Representative of SCOUTS South Africa. I joined Scouting as a Cub at the age of 8 while attending my primary school in a township outside of Nelspruit in Mpumalanga. The reason I joined the 1st Shishila Scout Group at my school was actually because of the Scout uniform. It looked so cool and I wanted to own one too.

Both my parents were unemployed due to health problems. My dad was a lovely person but he smoked and drank a lot of alcohol which caused him to play a poor role in guiding and teaching me any values of life. When I got to the Scout Group I was taught not only about life but also some really valuable life skills which I still use today. For the first time in my life I had an adult leader who spent time with me, patient enough to teach me and rebuke me in a respectful way when I crossed the line. He taught me to respect and love people, to believe in myself and to work hard in life.

Scouting taught me the importance of education and to look beyond financial issues. With the help of Scouting I managed to study and I now have a BA degree from the University of Pretoria. Over the years I have had several opportunities to volunteer and study in Germany because of the partnerships that SCOUTS South Africa has with other nations. I am currently doing an internship in Germany which was made possible by supporters I met through the Scouts a few years ago.

Scouting has played a huge role in my life and has set me up for a brighter future. We are a big network that operates all over the world. I currently sit on the SCOUTS South Africa Executive Committee as the youth leader’s representative as I made a personal decision to contribute towards opening Scout Groups, raising leaders and most importantly to let young people of South Africa know about what Scouting has done in my life and what it can do to their lives.

Henry Sibande
Youth Leader Representative
SCOUTS South Africa