Our right as Scouts to do our civic duty

Message from Khonzaphi Mdaka, Chief Scout

Today on Human Rights Day I find myself reflecting on what it means have rights as a citizen, and what that means for me as a Scout. How does being afforded human rights translate to my civic duty as a Scouting member?

Within our current world it’s clear that we are not only citizens of our respective countries but are also global citizens where we collectively contribute to the sustainability of our planet and its development #Scouts4SDGs.

SCOUTS South Africa is an independent non-political organisation and has been from its inception over 114 years ago. Scouting doesn’t engage in political discussions, but does advocate for peace, dialogue, education, and service.

As citizens, as volunteers, and as Scouts, we have the right and freedom to educate, to be educated and to give back. And therein lies our civic duty as Scouting members.

For us as Scouts doing one’s civic duty implies a willingness to develop new life skills, to gain vocational and leadership abilities, and to learn what it takes to be an independent, confident, and self-fulfilled individual that can actively contribute to the growth of our country’s economy and society.

As volunteers and youth members we serve our communities and embrace our duties by ensuring the transference of life skills and values – such as integrity, honesty and loyalty – that can help our young people thrive in life. We contribute to our villages, towns and cities through community service initiatives that support local NGOs, schools, and neighbourhoods. We contribute to combatting climate change by cleaning up our beaches and streets, and by reflecting on the way we use our natural resources to better our behaviours.

Do we always get it right? No, we don’t. But to quote Scouting’s founding father, “We never fail when we try to do our duty, we always fail when we neglect to do it.”

So, as we reflect on the human rights we have in South Africa, let’s also reflect on the responsibilities we have as young people to become the best versions of ourselves and to do our duty as best we can to educate our youth and create a better world.

Khonzaphi Mdaka
Chief Scout, SCOUTS South Africa

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