Leisure Science Students Participate in Global Youth Project
Three UKZN students are contributing authors to a book which is the first of its kind in the leisure profession globally.
Targetting young people everywhere, The Young People's Book on Leisure (YPBOL) - written by university students from 18 international countries - aims to educate, inspire and engage its readers about the multiple benefits and often undermined significance of leisure and recreation.
The UKZN Leisure Science students are Mr Riyaz Vawda, Mr Michael Mthethwa and Ms Racqual Ramharuk.
The book unpacks the concept of leisure and the impact it can have on a person’s life. The common goal of the authors is to inspire young people to look at their own leisure experiences and search for new ones with the idea being that the leisure activities they engage in will help create new spaces and opportunities for others to enjoy similar experiences.
The book is scheduled to be presented at the World Leisure Congress at the final of three international camps in Alabama’s Mobile Bay in the United States this month.
YPBOL is the brainchild of Dr Miklos Banhidi of The University of Western Hungary who started forming the international team of young contributors in 2012. The first editorial camp was in 2013 in Gyor, Hungary and the students recently completed the second camp in Roccacasale, Italy.
The UKZN project participants said it had been rewarding to see their hard work finally paying off. ‘We’re not looking at tourism but what the youth actually do.’
The content of YPBOL is based on personal experiences as well as first hand research conducted by the contributors. This includes research in the form of surveys that were done during the camps in Hungary, Italy and in the contributors’ various home countries.
The students observed that leisure was a fairly new concept in South Africa. While most people engaged in some sort of leisure, they did not realise this and were not aware of its countless benefits.
‘This is an amazing project and a wonderful opportunity for us as youth to showcase what leisure opportunities South Africa has to offer,’ said Vawda. ‘The final product will also create exposure for leisure and show youth the need for leisure; presenting them with ideas on the type of leisure they can engage in as well as teaching them about leisure activities and experiences in other countries.’
The three agreed the project was an invaluable learning tool for them as young professionals looking to enhance the Leisure and Recreation field in South Africa
‘This project started off as a group of students coming together to write a book but it has turned into so much more than anyone could have expected,’ said Vawda.
It had taught them to break language and socio-cultural barriers while also giving them an opportunity to form strong professional networks and travel the world.
‘We got to witness first-hand the power of leisure in creating social capital and how it can improve the quality of life. We learned the value of team work and gained leadership skills. These are just a few of the unexpected benefits experienced by all the participants. At the end of the first camp YPBOL turned into a family and at the second camp, it got to reunite and welcome new participants into the family.’
Vawda is a Masters student whose leisure activities include fitness training, running and photography.
Ramharuk said after completing her undergraduate degree majoring in leisure sciences she would have more time for art appreciation, reading and socialising!
When not cricketing or playing rugby, honours student Mthethwa said events management kept him busy.
- Lunga Memela