The University of Pretoria’s (UP) Student Counselling Unit (SCU) has announced the winners of an exciting competition that aimed to highlight resilience throughout 2020 and 2021.
UP students were encouraged to share inspirational stories about how they overcame a challenge or adversity recently or in the past. These stories could be presented in various ways: as written, visual (art, drawing or digital art with captions) or performance (poetry or a short play) narratives.
In the Written category, Boitumelo Kokwe, Lucy Mamabolo and Lebohang Mahlasela were named joint first prize winners, and won R2 500 each. Kefilwe Nungu and Mmamoruti Metswamere, who won R1 750 each, came second; and Nhlakanipho Makhubu received R1 000 as the third prize winner in this category. In the Visual category, Tamika Baker won third prize; she was awarded R1 000.
“The SCU launched the competition to stimulate students and the larger UP community to think about ways in which they are coping in the present and have coped in the past, and to amplify our collective stories of resilience, hopefulness and a sense of agency despite the circumstances we may find ourselves in,” said Ruqayya Seedat, the SCU’s Senior Counselling Psychologist.
The winning entries reflected just that. “Be grateful… love yourself enough to learn from your failures and do not define yourself by them,” reads Lucy Mamabolo’s entry. “Pray, meditate, socialise, communicate, seek help. You are not alone, there is always someone willing to lend an ear, a helping hand and, contrary to what spreads in the news quickly, the world still has good people.”
“I would not have made it this far if it was not for my family,” reads another entry, this one written by Kefilwe Nungu. “They supported my brother and me so well. They tried by all means to make sure that we are well taken care of. I am forever grateful for their presence and support. I learned that in order to overcome a situation, you need to have a strong support system.”
According to the SCU: “Resilience is not about overcoming challenges or adversity on our own. It’s not a one-man or one-woman battle. It’s about tapping into or developing personal skills but also accessing or accepting support and/or resources that are available from the various systems in our environment such that we can experience positive outcomes in the face of significant risk or adversity.”
“Our mission at the SCU is to spread this message of resilience that you are not alone and you are not expected to do it all alone,” Seedat added. “Connect with and accept the various resources available to you that can help you to experience positive outcomes. Let’s shift our thinking about resilience to be inclusive of internal factors and skills, and external resources and support mechanisms.”