For The People

Peer Mentorship Program at SPU Collaborates with UWC Alumni Mentor

Sol Plaatje University’s (SPU) Peer Mentorship Program has been adrift since January this year. The selected peer mentors received their first round of training in January, equipping them with information about topics such as Sexual and Mental Health, Stigmatization and LGBTIQ Awareness, to ensure that they are fully equipped to guide the new coming first-years in adapting to the varsity environment.

The second round of training took place from Monday, 25 March to Wednesday, 27 March, in SPU’s Old Library Hall. Teaming up with former UWC mentor Simone Momplé, currently doing her MA in Dance Psychology, the coordinators, Ms Nthabiseng Afrika and Sr Danelia McCarthy, took to skilling the mentors in areas such as How to deal with stress, How to form and upkeep relationships with mentees and Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

Momplé took a contemporary and proactive approach to teaching by incorporating movement, video and house music into the lessons. In an emotionally and politically charged video of students from UWC during the #feesmustfall movement, she touched on the topic of institutional racism and structural violence, to better the mentors’ understanding of the different experiences of different students and how to be mindful of the situational and cultural background of the different mentees they will be interacting with. To facilitate team building, she instructed the group to tie a rope from one tree to the next, over which all team members had to go without touching the rope. Momplé challenged the mentors to confront their own triggers when dealing with stress and advised them to take a step back and deal with their own emotions before interacting with their mentees.

Over the course of the three days, the mentors learned how to become mentors, relationship building and their boundaries and how to communicate effectively with both mentees and fellow mentors.

“I am very impressed with what I have learned, especially in terms of boundaries. I am glad that I know exactly what a mentee can ask me and what they cannot. For example, my mentees think I have to help them with their school work and sometimes I feel very bad that I can’t or don’t have the time,” commented mentor Henleo Louw.

Momplé started and ended off the three day course by playing Wakanda Forever by Sho Madjozi and emphasised the lyrics “Know yourself (know yourself), pick a struggle” as being key in emotional intelligence.

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