Reddam pupil wins award

Samantha Sibanda

When the opportunity to enter a quarantined Model United Nations (MUN) conference presented itself, she jumped at the opportunity to participate.

Two other Reddam House matric pupils joined Samantha; Cynthia Samo Gudo and Dlhokazi Nhaule.

MUN takes a similar shape to a debating structure in the United Nations; countries join in an assembly and come up with resolutions for current world issues.

The topic of the online conference was around creating a global contingency plan for future pandemics, including Covid-19, as well as putting measures in place that would be effective in mitigating the spread of such diseases, as well as avoiding such outbreaks altogether.

According to Samantha, “all the participants had varying ideas which were based primarily on the countries they represented, as well as their personal experience of the pandemic, and how their respective countries handled the situation, with varying degrees of success. I was pleasantly surprised by my peers and the depth of their grasp, not only the functioning of large scale healthcare systems, but also the relations that exist between governments, citizens, industry, and their interactions during times of crises.

“I was even more surprised when I won Best Delegate, which is the highest accolade one could receive at such a debate. I am very grateful for the recognition, but more than that I am eternally grateful for the platform that allowed me to connect and gain insight from people I never would have otherwise met.”

After the day-long MUN conference, Samantha participated in another international competition of sorts – this time around it was the Global Youth Challenge.

This competition required participants to write an essay, or create artwork, as well as a video centred around Covid-19 and its impact.

Samantha said: “While many focused on the effects of the pandemic in economic and social terms, I was more interested in offering solutions in my essay that I believed could positively affect the course of the pandemic, while my video was centred around recognising the tireless efforts of many front-line workers, as well as recognising how most of society have come together and united under one cause: getting through this pandemic, while incurring as little damage as possible.

“I must admit I felt out of my depth and out of my league, as I was keenly aware of just how brilliant and talented my fellow contestants were, hence I was even more surprised when my work was placed in the top 25%, despite the overwhelming number of entries.” “While the challenge was especially challenging to do in an hour and a half after a full day of the MUN conference – I found it very worthwhile and insightful,” said a proud Samantha.