The importance of belonging to something positive

Photo: supplied

Mr Philip Mulungo is a member of the Executive Team of the Toronto Group, the director of numerous national and international companies, and is now also a member of the National SCOUTS South Africa Board. Philip is not new to Scouting as his Scouting journey started as a Scout in Mattafin in Mpumalanga. After a hiatus of many years, he is back home and on our Board. We caught up with him and spoke about the relevance of the Scout programme in our current day.

“I joined the Scout Movement in the late ’90s during my teen years. At the time we had no idea what Scouting was, but it was introduced in our community by people that we trusted and people that we aspired to become. So, I joined because of the calibre of people who led Scouting in our community. As I reminisce about my Scouting days the memories that always stand out are the camps”, he explains with a smile.

“I’m generally a loner but during these events I would be exposed to like-minded people and gain exposure to activities outside the norm. Being in Scouting helped me grow as a person. Scouting inculcated the culture of respect of others, respect of time and cleanliness, but also the concepts of loyalty and responsibility. I recognise today that the Scout Laws helped mould my character to become someone who is aware of my role in the broader community and in my current roles in the energy and technology sectors.

When it comes to the relevance and value of Scouting on the lives of our youth within our current society, Philip minces no words, “Scouting is very important. Being a member of the Scout Movement gives a person a sense of belonging. We all need to belong to something, so either to Scouting, or gangs, or sports clubs, or religious groups etc. or to a multiple of these. Belonging to the Scout Movement for any young person will have a long-lasting positive impact. What a better association to belong to than Scouting where one is taught the culture of hard work, responsibility, and accountability at an early age.”

In April, Philip was nominated to the Scout Board by Scouters from the Group where his Scouting journey began. With his extensive corporate experience and vast network, we are looking forward to his insights and contributions to the governance of the South African Scout Movement. “I am excited to return to Scouting. As they say, ‘Once a Scout, always a Scout’. I look forward to contributing my time and will endeavour to give access to my resources and networks as and when required”, he continues. “When I think of the mandate Scouting has towards youth development and the Sustainable Development Goals, I would like to encourage our membership to start at home. By this I mean, look at what is needed locally, and what is within one’s ability to execute, and then implement it to the best of your ability. They say, to run a marathon all you need is one more step and before you know it, you’ve run the entire race.”

When asked about the long-term sustainability of Scouting and how external partners could support SCOUTS South Africa, Philip reflects a moment and says, “Focus on helping one youth at a time and the future will take care of its self. If SCOUTS South Africa can contribute towards helping one young person by inculcating the values discussed above, we can be sure of a better future. This can be achieved by each of us playing a role in contributing towards its programmes, instead of reinventing the wheel of youth programmes. If resources can be channelled to a tried and trusted institution like SCOUTS South Africa, to advance its programmes of nation building.”