Project Manager, Ros Haden, in front of the After School Game Changer posters reflects on the After School Action Series

The creation of the short stories for the After School Action Series (ASAS), a special project sponsored by the Western Cape After School Innovation Fund, is complete, with five wonderful short stories centred on the theme of after school programmes having been created. The stories encourage teens at school to see the value of these programmes, through exciting plot-driven short stories where the characters discover their passions, build confidence, learn skills and feel a sense of belonging.

The five stories were written by up-and-coming mentee authors who are in touch with youth issues, the colloquial language used by teens and the challenges they face. This made the stories relatable and relevant to FunDza’s readership as was evident in readers’ comments.

It’s been a very rewarding project for both the mentors who have guided the mentee writers through quite a few drafts of their stories, and for the mentees, who have learned invaluable writing skills including developing exciting plots, believable characters, and authentic colloquial dialogue.

The stories asked a lot of the mentee writers and they delivered after much hard work. The impact of the stories proved the success of the project. Each story was shaped around a different after school programme to provide a scope of interest: life skills, soccer, debating, choir and art.

Refilwehape Mofokeng wrote a story titled In Search of Me about Lizzy, who feels her mother doesn’t understand or listen to her, and who is being bullied at school. Through joining a life-skills coaching programme she grows in confidence and finds the courage to talk to her mother about her feelings and her struggles, which brings them closer. She also learns to stand up to bullies.

Lukhanyo Matshebelele wrote a story called Go For It! about Analo, who is struggling with science at school. Her parents are determined that she will become an engineer one day and live out their dream, but she isn’t good at science and doesn’t enjoy it. She discovers that her passion is for soccer. She convinces her parents not to push her to do science for matric, but continues her extra science classes for Grade 9 and balances these with her after school soccer programme.

Asiphe Besethi wrote a story called  Spear of Words about Thembi, who moves school and misses doing debating, in which she excelled at her last school. She is encouraged to start a debating club by a new friend, where a shy Siya also finds his voice learning how to debate and grows in confidence eventually finding the courage to show his feelings for Thembi.

Nosibusiso Tshetu wrote a story called A New Beginning about Amahle, who has to move from the Eastern Cape when her granny dies to live with her alcoholic mother. It is through singing and having her gift recognised that she joins the choir and learns to express herself and build a relationship with her mother.

Nwabisa Ngumbela wrote a story called Gifted about a girl who is trying to come to terms with her father and siblings’ death in an accident. She finds release in painting, until she becomes involved in a bad crew who are drinking and taking drugs. It is through her friend, Zandi, that she finds her way out of the dark place she finds herself in and back to her art which helps her to heal.

Here are a couple of our favourite comments from each story that showed how readers’ related to the characters and how the stories impacted them.

“Such a motivating story… Yes to self-confidence. Anything is Possible as long as you give it a Go!!!”
~ percytercia
“Wow wow wow my heart is leaping also”
~ Mei
“Yes actually this story is touching me in so many ways.”
~ La_Weezy
“A very good story. Don’t do back things to fit in a group. There are good friends out there. That gal who hangs in shebeens is going in the wrong path and damaging their future. Singing is healthy and frees ur mind and spirit and brings happiness.”
~ Chichi83
“Wow the first story that made me cry guys”
~ ReadFanatic
“Wow….. this story is amazing and inspiration, especially to us youngsters, to love ourselves, discover our talents and be able to explore them.”
~ Veeh
“The best I loved it. I did not want it to end.”
~ Saint Vincent
“A highly motivating story”
~ Lennox johny
“Best story ever I’d like to start learning about debating skills”
~ Culton
“The best I loved it. I did not want it to end.”
~ Saint Vincent
“So far so good, i find this story most amazing one ever, and i liked the question dat i was asked after reading a chapter .Damn i answered em with pride. This is encouriging me to enter the Debate Club in/at my school. So very useful. Thank You. i rate you 100/100”
~ Babe Girl
“no,I have never done something new just to brave for love but what I know circumstances they can came across your way to break the habits we have when thinking about ourselves as am shy guy its hard form to cough out what inside me or what I feel so what makes strong is practice: TRY TO FAIL BUT NEVER FAIL TO TRY”
~ koketso mofokeng