SOMAFCO TRUST – 14 YEARS NOT OUT!

By the 6th of December 2020,  we will turn 15 years old. What started as a dream of a few former SOMAFCO (Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College) students has shown resilience during this tragic year ( 2020) for humanity. The trust’s initial aim was to establish a support organization that will assist with successfully reintegrating these alumni into the South African society and secure a stable life – many of whom were finding this to be a real challenge.

We were privileged and grateful to receive guidance from the late Mr.Henry Makgothi, former Director and Deputy Secretary General of the ANC, who was instrumental in ensuring the establishment of a SOMAFCO in Tanzania. “Build on the rich heritage and open it to young people from all walks of life”, were his words of invaluable wisdom to us. Former President, Kgalema Motlanthe, amplified this message during his tenure as ANC Secretary General.

Henry Makgothi: http://www.anc.org.za/docs/anctoday/2007/at14.htm

(image inset:Henry Makgothi with the young, eager and curious…)

TIYENDE PAMODZI – The first Tour

In 2008, we undertook what we thought would be our only visit to Tanzania, an educational tour aptly coined – Tiyende Pamodzi.The tour was guided by the counsel received from our advisors: to broaden the exposure and history of this part and era of South African and international liberation history. Participation in the tour was initiated through a writing competition, which enabled us to select a group of both young and old people to join us on this 7-day historical excursion.

Interesting facts:

  • It was one of our participant’s very first outing outside the Gauteng province.
  • Our oldest participant was a teacher from the Free State province.

As with many things, nothing is as special as doing something for the first time! You do not know what you will be confronted with and whether or not your objectives will be realized.

The learning’s and success of Tiyende Pamodzi tour enabled us to turn an assumed “once-off” initiative into an annual programme and even allow us to introduce others.

(Image inset: 2012 Tour with former President Kgalema Motlanthe)

Read the City Press article on the 2008 Tour

THE O.R TAMBO EDU TOUR – 2008

If at first you DO succeed…just keep going!

After careful consideration, the O.R Tambo Edu Tour (www.oret.org.za) was introduced as our second tour. The name paid homage to the late former ANC President, Oliver Reginald Tambo, who held the SOMAFCO project as very important and dear to his heart.

WHAT NEXT?

This was the question we asked ourselves as an organization in 2015. After careful intro and retrospection (especially the wise counsel received from both the late Henry Makgothi and former President Kgalema Motlanthe), the decision was taken to expand the initiative further.

It was important for us to resolve these pivotal and important questions:

  • Amidst our high and stubborn youth unemployment situation, is it important to solely focus on heritage alone?
  • What precisely are the lessons to be learnt from the SOMAFCO experience?
  • What should we be sharing to what end and how do we bring this together through this programme?
  • What about xenophobia and its possible impact on this programme?

       

The answers where not easy to establish however the following were very clear and strong outcomes:

  1. SOMAFCO’s strong African and international identity transcends many other narrow descriptions! “Ours was not for personal glory nor distinction, but a noble cause of our lifetime, the liberation of the people of South Africa and rest of humanity…”
  2.  SOMAFCO was functionally and is fundamentally, a pioneering mechanism for youth development in as many respects as possible.
  3. SOMAFCO thrived to become a self-sustaining and pioneering community. It reflected, from inception and throughout, a spirit of initiative.
    These findings led to our renaming the programme: The O.R Tambo Uhuru Africa Initiative (“Uhuru” means Freedom in Swahili). ‘Freedom’ in this sense refers to a fight against the impediments to human (in particular youth) development.

More than Aesthetics

The name change was more than just aesthetics… we had to live it! So, 2015 marked the first time the programme involved youth from Tanzania returning to South Africa with the South African delegation. In addition, a strong entrepreneurial aspect was introduced to the programme. Participants with potential from both countries (South Africa and Tanzania), are mentored to become job creators and create intercontinental networks.

NEW ERA, NEW LOOK
THE NEW SOMAFCO TRUST LOGO

The only way to stay relevant…is to evolve.

True to our spirit of remaining current and relevant, we are undergoing the exercise of evolving our brand. This was informed by various factors, at the forefront being our purpose to be the leading youth development organization. We do this by continuously introducing innovative, impactful and fun programmes, geared to excite, entice and develop our youth.
Our previous logo communicated two key things:
1.    Half the image of Solomon Mahlangu – reflecting our connection to the icon through the name of the College in Tanzania, and
2.    Development – depicting our endeavour toward youth development.

The evolution…

Introducing our new logo… Our new face

It is simplistic yet sophisticated! Inspired by the South African flag, the new logo depicts our commitment to being proud of our heritage and patronage.