With thanks to SSA Youth Influencer Thozamile Dingaan for the assistance
1st Isago Pack Scouter Lenah Bahule – or Mimi as she is fondly called within the Northern Cape Scout Region – is a woman on a mission to change her community with love, compassion, and Scouting.
Last year Mimi received her 5 and 10 year Long Service Awards from the Northern Cape Regional Commission Nolan van der Merwe, but her Scouting journey started many years prior during her teenage years!
“I first visited 1st Isago when I was about 14 years old. I wanted to see what the Cubs and Scouts were doing. I joined them on a few outings, and then on a hike. That hike changed my life, and it is one of my favourite Scouting memories as a child. It was very difficult, I was tired, and I had hurt my ankle, but I persevered and enjoyed it so much that by the end of it I knew what I wanted. I told my friends; I want to be a Scout!
The SGL at the time was Richard Mnanzana. He pushed me to join the Movement as he knew what it could mean for my life. I had a small group of friends and we were starting to get naughty, Richard saw that I needed to be pushed into something good. Scouting can positively mould a child and keep them out of drugs and crime. That is what he wanted for me. He also taught me the importance of being truthful. When you lie it can be very stressful to keep up the lie and then you panic. If you tell the truth, you are doing the right thing and life is good. To this day I tell my Cubs “don’t lie, tell the truth”, that is something he taught me, and I am passing it on”, she explains.
When asked why she stayed on as a leader she smiles and says gently “People all have different characters. Sometimes they need help and support to learn how to manage their tempers, their feelings, and their behaviour. If you have a love for children and a love for Scouting, then you are able to help them learn and grow. If you show them respect, patience, and love, they will give you their trust, share their stories and allow you to help them learn and grow, Sometimes my Cubs would share their problems and if I can’t help them I get support from my DC, or from my Regional Commissioner uncle Nolan.
In my programmes I try to teach my Cubs new skills and values, but also take them to places where they can see new things and have fun. Earlier this year we went on an outing to a museum, we also visited the fire department and the Cubs were able to do some practical things. My APS Lerato Pito and I like to sing. We sing traditional songs and dance with our Cubs and engage a lot with them. We try to be creative and to find ways to educate and inspire them, whilst showing them love and support. Sometimes when our Cubs are struggling at school we try to bring in some of our Scouters who are good in maths or other subjects so they help out where they can.”
Last year Regional Commissioner Nolan van der Merwe handed Mimi her Long Service award. “I was so surprised! “she says excitedly. “All I could say was thank you God! I was so happy and proud of myself!” When we pointed out how her efforts, demeanor, and drive are in fact changing the lives of the children she serves, Mimi goes quiet and whispers “I didn’t notice I am changing lives. I just try to show them I care, help them grow, and have fun in Scouting.”