Seeds of Light launched the Acornhoek Leadership Forum(ALF) on Monday 8th April 2013 at our partner project, Ekurhuleni Center for Orphans and Vulnerable Children. Then Director Becky Harmon had identified 16 outstanding individuals from the Acornhoek area whom she believed showed great leadership potential.    



The ALF commenced with a week-long leadership intensive course, during which the group agreed to meet monthly for the year ahead, to consolidate new wisdom and to expand their experience and networks. Outstanding leadership trainers, David Ross Patient and Neil Orr of Empowerment Concepts facilitated the workshop, bringing their 25+ years of experience mobilising communities Africa-wide to take up their leadership, uplift their regions and bring solid education and intervention methods to the HIV/AIDS crisis.


Neil Orr and David Ross Patient facilitate the workshops

During that initiatory week, participants were taken on a journey of self-exploration, starting with an interrogation of beliefs and belief systems, moving to an inquiry of “What do you want? And what’s stopping you?”

The program focused on shifting mindsets and generating solutions – on breaking the spell of perceptions of lack and rather identifying existing and overlooked resources, from lessons learned during painful experiences, to the so-called weeds growing meters away from our homes that provide potent nutrients and could not only enable our survival, but contribute richly to our health.


As the week went on, participants were taken through structures where they learned to appreciate themselves, their talents and skills. Neil and David asked the profound question, “Why are you not amazed by yourself?” This program went to the heart of our country’s broken self esteem and resultant despondency and dependency, and with the myriad of tools the facilitators proffered, including goal setting, critical thinking, communication, listening and feedback skills, participants emerged with radiant dignity and a sense of great possibility and can-do attitudes.

All committed to teach back what they had learned to their communities, and were provided with clear modules covering a range of topics (eg. Balanced Diet, Managing Money, Food Gardens, ARV’s and Prophylaxis, Facilitation Skills). The monthly meetings to share experience, what worked and what didn’t work, combined with mentoring from Stella Horgan, who works with Seeds of Light, provided a flexible yet reliable structure for the participants to grow within.


Mesia Ndhlovu, Daphne Makhubela & Happiness Lubisi on graduation day.

13 members graduated from the 2013 cohort and went on to transform  their communities. We are very thrilled with the creativity and enthusiasm our leaders are bringing to their communities.

21 committed and creative new leaders joined our new cohort in April 2014 – these will be mentored by the 2013 graduates.

Participants are invited to additional workshops during the year to expand their knowledge, including Permaculture, Asset Based Community Developmen and Basic Business Skills.


Daphne Makhubela teaches principles of permaculture



Leanette Sithole teaches permaculture in her magnificent organic garden

We hope you are as inspired as we are about the leaders you meet on this site ….

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