Tsogo From the Goal Post

This is my first pseudo editorial. It has a been hard to write but it serves as a reflection for the last year (June 2009 – June 2010) for me and the online alumni directory. I have split this  up into 3 small sections really highlighting what I think is important at this time and some things that I have been heavily thinking about.

Where we come from?

The Directory started as an idea that I had “incubating” since 2007. It had its roots in a lot of different other ideas but at its core was connecting Alumni. The connections that are made between people form the the communities that we build. Through the power of the internet we have a new opportunity to connect the previously unconnected. Alumni normally keep contact with a few of their classmates through the years. Our ambition is to connect all Alumni to each other in one way or another. Not just for them to meet but for them to share their experiences and nurture each other. That being the spirit that is Ubuntu. This is ironic for me because of some of my previous writing, but anyway moving on. The idea has grown in the last year and has spawned a really interesting project that I and others have worked on and led to challenges that have kept us at the cutting edge of some interesting technologies and concepts. To all who have had to use some of our “unfinished” and test ideas, we thank you a lot. To all those guinea pigs who we have experimented on we also thank you for your patience and feedback. We currently reach, by our estimates, over 1000 alumni scattered around the globe. There has been rapid growth in the connections and now we need to be serious about what we will do with those numbers.

Why is it important?

I have spoken to dozens of alumni through the years. Some where happy to have been at Tsogo and wanted to give back, some not that happy. What I have come to accept is that we have different experiences through anything we go through in life. What we do not want is that someone is disadvantaged by going through any system. The support that alumni can offer to each other and also to up and coming learners is priceless. Defining what this “support” is, is a hard task and we are still trying our best to figure it out. This can be in the form of information on careers for learners, mentoring learners, mentoring alumni in their careers and going that one step further to help out a fellow alum’.  We  have spent a lot of time trying to design systems to do this and we will admit it is no easy task. We are inspired by you. I am inspired each day by the type of alumni we have out there and how they are very selfless and willing to do so much to help us out. The Alumni Directory offers online services to alumni and connect alumni with the “on the ground” Alumni Society. The Tsogo Alumni Society does amazing amazing work. Just the first half of 2010 has been unbelievable and we we are very thankful for the whole team.

Where do we want to go?

We wish we could answer this question. I wish I could answer this, really do. Ultimately you will have to help us answer this. We would like to do as much as we can. We would like to see some of the services we offer offered to other public schools around Mmakau, Ga-Rankuwa, Mothotlung, Mabopane, Soshanguve etc. We will be giving a voice and a platform for schools that are normally overlooked. Inspiring and being inspired by others. Our ambition is large, it has to be or this exercise would be futile. The big thing is where do you want to fit into this large puzzle. We have a lot of questions that still need answering, we have a lot that we still do not understand. We need your talents to make what we do that much better. We look on into the future into 2010 – 2011. Look out in the next few weeks and months for new services and also some opportunities for you to give us feedback and participate.

Thank You to the Alumni, The Alumni Society, the Directory Team(Those who have come and gone, those who have stayed and those who just joined), The School and the Learners.

Now, to wrap that up with one more thing. I would like to introduce to all the Alumni the new service, “Be More, Do More“. A new platform that we are developing and hoping that alumni will use and contribute to in the coming months. Please visit the page http://tsogoalumni.org.za/more/

Thank all of you once again 🙂

Vukosi Marivate – My Profile