South African Scout Association

South African Scout Association

infobox WorldScouting

caption =
name = South African Scout Association
headquarters = Cape Town
country = South Africa
f-date = 1908
chiefscout = Reverend Vukile Mehana
The South African Scout Association is the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) recognized Scouting association in South Africa. Scouting began in the United Kingdom in 1907 through the efforts of Robert Baden-Powell and rapidly spread to South Africa, with the first Scout troops appearing in 1908. South Africa has contributed many traditions and symbols to World Scouting.

The South African Scout Association caters for youth and young adults from the ages of 7 through 30. It is split into three sections, namely Cubs, Scouts, and Rovers, with each section serving a different age group, and concentrating on different areas of personal development. It is also one of the largest youth organisations in the rural parts of South Africa and performs many community upliftment programmes in those areas.

The highest award attainable by a Scout in the South African Scout Association is the Springbok award. A Scout is required to complete all the requirements for the Springbok award before their 18th birthday.

Aim and principles

The aim of the South African Scout Association is to contribute to the development of boys, girls and young adults in achieving their full potentials as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national, and international communities by developing their character, training them in citizenship and developing their spiritual, social, mental, and physical qualities.cite web | year = 2003| url = | title = Policy, Organisation and Rules | publisher = South African Scout Association | accessdate = 2006-11-16]

The South African Scout Association is based on the principles of duty to God, duty to others, and duty to self. These three principles govern the entire advancement programme and teach the Scout to be loyal to the religion that expresses them, to be loyal to the country in which they reside and to be responsible in their own development.


Organized Scouting spread to South Africa only a few months after its birth in Britain in 1907. In 1908, several troops formed in Cape Town, Natal, and Johannesburg and the following year saw the first official registration of South African troops.

Scouting in South Africa grew rapidly, and in 1912 Robert Baden-Powell visited South African Scouts. Due to the rapid spread of Scouting it became necessary to provide some form of local coordination. "Provincial Councils" were formed in South Africa between 1912 and 1916. These councils had no direct contact with each other and reported directly to Imperial Scout Headquarters in London.

The first "Union Scout Council" was formed in 1922 to provide a common national control on an advisory basis. Six years later, in 1928, the Union Scout Council adopted a constitution which enabled it to perform the functions of Imperial Scout Headquarters.cite book| year=1995|title=Introduction to Adult Leadership | publisher = South African Scout Association| location = Cape Town| pages = ]

Scouting in South Africa, as in most British Colonies (such as Rhodesia), was originally segregated by race. This did not prevent Black Scout groups from springing up, with the "Pathfinder Council" being formed in 1929. In the 1920s, Black Scouts were given the name "Klipspringers" (rock-hoppers, referring to a type of small antelope).cite web | year = 2006| url = | title = History of Scouting in South Africa | work = History of Scouting in South Africa| publisher = South African Scout Association | accessdate = 2006-11-30]

In 1930, the Imperial Scout Headquarters granted the complete independence of the Scout Movement in South Africa. Work started on yet another constitution which was finalised in 1936 at Bloemfontein during the visit of Baden-Powell. During 1937, the "Boy Scouts Association of South Africa" became a member of the International Scout Conference (now World Scout Conference) and was registered with the International Bureau (now World Scout Bureau) on 1 December 1937. South Africa was the first of the Commonwealth countries to achieve independence for its Scout Movement.cite book| last = Boy Scouts of South Africa| year = 1957| title = The History of Scouting in South Africa | publisher = Boy Scouts of South Africa | pages=96]

The now independent association maintained the racial segregation with four separate associations. After consultation with Baden-Powell, four separate Scouting organisations were created in 1936. These were The Boy Scouts Association (for whites), The African Boy Scouts Association (for blacks), The Coloured Boy Scouts Association (for coloureds) and The Indian Boy Scouts Association (for Indians). A revision of the 1936 constitution in 1953 even strengthened the whites-only branch: Its Chief Scout was now Chief Scout of the three other associations with Chief Scout’s Commissioner as executive heads.cite book| last=Heale |first=Jay |title= What is Scouting? A guide to the aims, history, principles, and methods of the South African Scout Association |url= |publisher=South African Scout Association |year=2003 |ISBN=0-947005-38-2 |accessdate=2007-01-13]

With the rise of Afrikaner nationalism in South Africa during the early part of the 20th century, Scouting was viewed with suspicion by many Afrikaners because of its English roots, and rival Afrikaans organisations including the Voortrekkers were established. These had a strong social and political aim. Negotiations about an amalgamation of both movements in the years 1930 to 1936 were not successful.

In the 1970s, the Nordic countries placed pressure on the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) to expel the South African Movement for its racial policies. South African Scouting responded to this by combining all branches of the Movement into a single "Boy Scouts of South Africa" organisation at a conference known as "Quo Vadis" that was held on 2 July 1977.

The Apartheid laws of this time made any form of multiracial gatherings illegal, yet Scouting activities continued in defiance of these laws. However, the Apartheid government did not take any action against the Movement.cite journal| last = Inglis | first = Colin | month = May | year = 1994| title = Scouting in South Africa | journal = Australian Scout ]

Scouting was active during the period in several of the homelands, Transkei issuing Scout insignia and several including Bophuthatswana (the homeland where Mafikeng is located) issuing Scout-themed postage stamps.cite web | year = 1999 | url = | format = DOClink|393KB | title = First Scout Postal Cancels by Country | publisher = Scouts on Stamps Society International | accessdate = 2006-11-17] cite web | year = | url= | title = Gilwell Reunion | publisher = Scouts on Stamps Society International | accessdate = 2006-11-17]

On 10 July 1995, "The Boy Scouts of South Africa" adopted a new constitution and changed its name to the "South Africa Scout Association".cite web | year = 2003| url = | title = Constitution of the South Africa Scout Association | format = PDF| publisher = The South African Scout Association | accessdate = 2006-11-16] The Association also began accepting girls into its ranks. By 1999 girls were allowed in all sections of the Association.

outh African influences on World Scouting traditions

South Africa has long been associated with the origins of Scouting. Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the movement, spent most of the years from 1884 to 1905 as a soldier in Southern Africa. South Africa's most prominent role in the origin of Scouting was the Siege of Mafeking in 1899-1900. Baden-Powell successfully lead the defence of the town for 217 days. During the siege, he was inspired by the boys of the Mafeking Cadet Corps, and later used them as an example of bravery in the first chapter of his handbook "Scouting for Boys". The Mafeking Cadets are not regarded as the first Boy Scouts, as Scouting was only born later, in 1907 at Brownsea Island in Britain. However, it was Mafeking that resulted in Baden-Powell becoming a national hero in Britain, and it was his fame that enabled his Scout movement to catch on so rapidly.cite web | year = | url = | title = The Mafeking Cadets | work = Scouting Milestones| publisher = "Johnny" Walker | accessdate = 2006-11-17]

s. The original necklace was captured from Dinizulu by Baden-Powell.cite web | year = 2003| url = | title = The Origins of the Wood Badge | format = PDF| publisher = The Scout Association | accessdate = 2006-11-16] Other Zulu traditions and chants also featured in Scouting for Boys.

While serving in Southern Africa, Baden-Powell learnt many the skills that would become standard scouting skills. Jan Grootboom, a Xhosa from South Africa, was a military scout who Baden-Powell praised for his scouting ability in the Matabele Campaign.cite web | last = Baden-Powell| first = Sir Robert| year = 1915 | url = | title = My Adventures as a Spy | publisher = PineTree.web | accessdate = 2006-11-17] Baden-Powell also learnt scouting skills from Frederick Russell Burnham, an American explorer, adventurer, and mercenary, who went on to become a highly decorated Major and Chief of Scouts under Lord Roberts during the Second Boer War.cite web | year = | url = | title = Frederick Russell Burnham | publisher = PineTree web | accessdate = 2006-11-16]

The earliest Scout uniform was based on the uniform that Robert Baden-Powell designed for the South African Constabulary, a paramilitary force established to police the conquered Boer republics following the Anglo-Boer War.cite book|last=Hillcourt|first=William|authorlink=William Hillcourt| year=1964|title=Baden-Powell: The Two Lives of a Hero | publisher = Heinemann | location = London | pages = 358] The current South African Scout uniform is in fact still based on the uniform worn by the South African Constabulary.

Baden-Powell said of South Africa in 1926 that:

Influence in South Africa

The Association is actively involved in community work, particularly in the rural areas of South Africa. In some rural areas, such as the greater Tzaneen area, there are Troops with over 100 scouts. Rural Troops are often limited in their activities by funding and lack of equipment. Their programme focuses on educating the Scouts in becoming good citizens and in the dangers of HIV. Educating Scouts in HIV and AIDS is vitally important due to the large number of infections in both rural and urban areas of South Africa.cite web | year = | url = | title = Scouting and AIDS | work = Scouting and AIDS | publisher = South African Scout Association | accessdate = 2006-11-17]

The Association teaches young people the importance of high morals. Former South African President and patron of the Association, Nelson Mandela, said the following of the Scout Movement:

cquote|The international Scout movement is a world leader in youth education, and has particular relevance to the needs of youth in Africa and the emerging democracies around the globe.I am pleased with the progress of Scouting in South Africa, and in the steps which are now being taken to make the programme accessible to more young people. The importance of a high moral code, which is at the foundation of the Scout movement, cannot be stressed too highly.cite web | year = | url = | title = South African Scout Association | work = Home Page | publisher = South African Scout Association | accessdate = 2006-11-17]

The Association runs a programme known as "The Phakamani Project" aimed at enabling any boy or girl anywhere in the country to become a Scout. Phakamani is a Nguni word for Rise. The Phakamani project is designed so that groups in the community wishing to try out the Scout programme as their own youth programme are able to do so easily and informally. Through promotional presentations using videos and support literature, communities are encouraged to form committees, and informal Scout units can start without further regulation. The desire to register as Scouts will follow.cite web | year = | url =| title = The Phakamani Project | publisher = South African Scout Association | accessdate = 2006-11-17]

National organisation

The Association is subdivided according to the Provinces of South Africa, namely Eastern Cape, [ Western Cape] , Free State and Northern Cape (currently administered jointly), [ Gauteng] , [ KwaZulu-Natal] , [ Mpumalanga] , Limpopo, and [ Northwest] . Each Province is in turn divided into Districts, and each District consists of a number of Groups. Groups normally have a Cub section and a Scout section. Rover crews are either associated with a Province, a District, or a Group. The national head office of the Association is in Cape Town.

The Chief Scout is the head of the South Africa Scout Association, and is therefore the leader of Scouting for all groups within South Africa. The current Chief Scout of the South African Scout Association is Reverend Vukile Mehana. Former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela is the patron of the South African Scout Association.cite web | year = | url =| title = South African Scout Association | publisher = South African Scout Association | accessdate = 2006-11-17]

Group organisation

The Group is lead by a "Group Scouter" (GS) who acts as the liaison between the parents committee and the adult leaders of the Cub, Scout, and Rover units within the Group. The parents committee is an elected body of Scout and Cub parents (with elections being held once a year at the Group AGM) that oversees the financial, maintenance, and legal affairs of the group, thereby leaving the adult Scouters to concentrate on the Scout and Cub programme.

Scout Groups consist of various units of different age groups who meet at a common venue (normally a Scout hall) and share a common name. Generally Scout Groups are split into a Cub Pack, a Scout Troop, and possibly a Rover Crew. Large Groups may have more than one of each section, or may have separate units for boys and girls.

Cub programme

The Cub section is open to boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 10½, and is intended to lay foundations and teach basic skills for when a Cub becomes a Scout. The Cub programme is based on a system of progressive leadership, with members being given increasing responsibility depending on age as they advance through the Cub Pack. Cubs are divided into small groups called Sixes led by a Sixer and a Seconder. The Pack Scouter may appoint the most responsible Cub in the Pack as a Senior Sixer.

The head of a Cub Pack is the "Pack Scouter" (PS), often nicknamed "Akela" after the head wolf in "The Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kipling. There may be a number of Assistant Pack Scouters, with nicknames from other Jungle Book characters. The Cub Advancement Programme is based on Cubs working towards the Cheetah, Lion, Leopard ,and Leaping Wolf badges. Cubs proceeding to Scouts complete the Link Badge.cite web | year = | url =| title = The Cub Trail | publisher = South African Scout Association | accessdate = 2006-11-17]

Cub Promise

:I promise to do my best –:To do my duty to God and my country;:To keep the Law of the Wolf Cub Pack;:And to do a good turn to somebody every day.cite web |url = |title = Law and Promise | publisher = South African Scout Association | accessdate = 2008-06-19]

Cub Law

:The Cub gives in to the Old Wolf.:The Cub does not give in to himself.

cout programme

The Scout section is open to boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 17, and aims at developing Scouting and leadership skills.

Scout Troops are divided into Patrols of between four and ten Scouts, with six being a common size. The Patrol Leader and Second have many responsibilities in training younger Scouts and helping plan and run the programme. Patrol Leaders are in charge of planning and running (often with no adult intervention) Patrol camps and outings, they are also required to assist their Patrol members through the Scout advancement program.

Often the most senior and responsible Patrol Leader is appointed as Troop Leader (TL), who no longer runs a Patrol but instead has other responsibilities such as enforcing discipline and running the weekly programme. Since a Troop Leader is not required to plan or run Patrol camps, or help Scouts through the advancement program many senior Scouts who are in their final year of school choose to become Troop Leaders in order to have more time to concentrate on their studies and on achieving the Springbok award.

The adult leader of a Scout Troop is the "Troop Scouter" (TS), assisted by Assistant Troop Scouters (ATS) and Junior Assistant Troop Scouters (JATS). Scout Troops often give their adult leaders nicknames related to their branch of Scouting (Land Scout, Air Scout, or Sea Scout).

Patrol Leaders, Troop Leaders and the Troop Scouter should meet regularly in the Patrol Leaders' Council, also known as the "Court of Honour", where they are responsible for the majority of decisions regarding troop discipline, patrol management, troop programme and such. The Troop Scouter is the only adult leader regularly attending these meetings, and has the right to veto decisions. The Troop Scouter generally only acts in an advisory role, allowing the Scouts themselves to make important decisions. The Court of Honour may invite the Assistant Troop Scouters in order to hear their input.

The Scout emblem incorporates a springbok.

cout and Rover Promise

:On my honour, I promise that I will do my best -:To do my duty to God, and my Country;:To help other people at all times;:To obey the Scout Law.

cout and Rover Law

:# A Scout's honour is to be trusted:# A Scout is loyal:# A Scout's duty is to be useful and to help others.:# A Scout is a friend to all and a brother to every other Scout:# A Scout is courteous:# A Scout is a friend to animals:# A Scout obeys orders:# A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties:# A Scout is thrifty:# A Scout is clean in thought, word and deed

Advancement badges

The Scout Advancement Programme is based on a number of advancement badges, culminating in the Springbok Scout badge. Each advancement badge focuses on different levels of development and the programme progresses from basic Scout training, to training young Scouts, and ends with a large focus on community service.cite web | year = | url = | title = Scout Advancement Programme | publisher = South African Scout Association | accessdate = 2006-11-17]

; Troop Membership : In order to be invested as a Scout, the membership requirements for recruits include knowing the basic story behind Scouting, the Scout Promise and Law, some basic scouting skills, and the National anthem of South Africa.

; Pathfinder : This is the first real advancement badge. It focuses on basic Scout training, including the six basic knots (Reef Knot, Bowline, Sheet bend, Sheepshank, Figure-of-eight, and Clove hitch), basic first aid (treatment of open wounds and bleeding), and introduces Scouts to camping. The badge encourages a Scout to participate in patrol activities. The Scout is required to have camped away from their normal Scout meeting place for at least five nights.

; Adventurer : This advancement badge introduces the Scout to basic pioneering, including whipping, basic lashing, and other advanced knots. The Scout is required to know more advanced forms of first aid (treatment of shock, sprains, and fainting). The Scout needs to help plan, and be second in charge of a patrol hike. Other requirements for the badge include knowledge of HIV/AIDS and knowledge of how a Court of Honour functions. The Scout is required to have camped away from their normal Scout meeting place for at least ten nights.

; First Class : This advancement badge is the first advancement badge that places the Scout in a position of leadership and organisation. A Scout is required to plan and run a wide game for their Patrol, a Patrol camp, an overnight Patrol hike for which a log book must be written, a programme to teach younger Scouts in their Patrol about pioneering, and they need to assist in the planning of a Scouts' Own.:The Scout also needs to lead their patrol in a community service project of not less than ten hours and is required to have camped for at least fifteen nights.

; Explorer/Air Explorer/Sea Explorer : The Explorer badge is split into three different badges for the three different Scouting sections (Land Scouts, Air Scouts and Sea Scouts). The Explorer badge teaches the Scout to take control of situations, and places the Scout in positions where they need to plan and run large scale activities for the entire troop.

:The Scout is required to plan and run an orienteering wide game for the entire troop, an incident hike for their Patrol, a Patrol expedition, and a troop campfire.

:The Scout is required to achieve six different interest badges from the Scout Badge Book. While Scouts are encouraged to achieve as many interest badges as possible, they are only required to achieve the six that is needed for their Explorer badge.cite web | year = | url = | title = Scout Badge Book | publisher = South African Scout Association | accessdate = 2006-11-17] There are three compulsory badges for each type of Explorer badge.:*Explorer: First Aid, Backwoodsman, and Mapping:*Air Explorer: First Aid, Air Navigator, and Air Traffic Controller:*Sea Explorer: First Aid, Helmsman, and Boatman

:Most scouts choose to work on the Explorer badge that is related to the section of Scouting their Troop belongs to, but there is no reason why a Scout can not do an Explorer badge from another section. The only difference between the three Explorer badges is the three compulsory interest badges that are required, and the design of the badge.

; Springbok (Top Award) : This badge is the top Scout award in South Africa. It concentrates on teaching the Scout how to give back to the community. The Springbok award is the equivalent of the UK's Queen's Scout and the American Eagle Scout. Among the requirements, the Scout must complete at least 40 hours of community service, lead a hike of over 30 kilometres (18.6 mi) in unfamiliar territory, and plan and construct a large pioneering project.:The Springbok is a small gazelle that is common to dry inland areas of Southern Africa. The Springbok was the national symbol of South Africa during the Apartheid era, and is currently the national animal of South Africa.

Rover programme

The Rover section is open to any young adults between the ages of 18 and 30. The Rover programme focuses on service to others. Rovers are not necessarily adult leaders of Scout Troops, although there is often some overlap. The Rover section has historically been open to young men and women, even prior to Cubbing and Scouting being opened to girls.

The purpose of Rover Scouting is to encourage Rovers to train themselves and their fellow Rovers in citizenship and service, to encourage Rovers to pursue careers that they enjoy and that are useful to themselves and to render services to both the Scout Movement and the Community around them.

After three months of joining a Rover Crew a newcomer can be invested as a Squire. If the newcomer was not previously a Scout, he or she must first be invested as a Scout and must take the Scout Promise. The Squire then chooses a mentor (called a Sponsor) from one of the existing Rovers; the Sponsor's task is to guide the Squire in learning all the necessary Scouting skills and to aid the Squire in performing a service project as set out by the Rover Crew. Once the service project is completed the Squire can be invested as a fully fledged Rover Scout.cite web | year = 2006| url = | title = The Rover Handbook | publisher = South African Scout Association | accessdate = 2006-11-30]

Rover Scouts also have eight different awards that they can strive for, if a Rover holds at least four awards he or she may be nominated to receive the B-P award which is the highest award a Rover can receive.

The eight awards are:
*The Scoutcraft Award
*The Rambler's Award
*The Project Award
*The Scouter Training Award
*The Civics Award
*The Careers Award
*The Community Service Award
*The Sportsmanship Award


The South African Scout Association runs SANJAMB, the South African National Jamboree, approximately every four years. The Senior Scout Cederberg Adventure is held every two years in the Cederberg mountains.

A large number of rallies, activities, competitions, and training courses are held by the different Areas. The biggest of these are probably the Kon-Tiki raft building competitions held annually in Cape Town and Gauteng. These are in addition to the activities run by each Scout group.

Patrol Leaders Training Unit

The "Patrol Leaders Training Unit" (or PLTU) is a 7- to 12-day course run at various venues around South Africa. PLTU is a very physically and mentally strenuous course, open to Scouts who are over 14½ years old and have achieved their Adventurer advancement badge.

The first of what was to become the Patrol Leader training Unit courses was run at Lexden - Natal Gilwell Scout Training Camp in July 1959, under the leadership of Dudley Forde, with 19 Scouts from the 2nd Durban Y.M.C.A. Scout Group in attendance. Courses were offered to boys from the same Group over the next five years until the 6th Course in October 1964 which was opened to participants from South Durban District.

In October 1967 the Patrol Leader Training Unit was formed to offer formal Leadership Training courses for Scout Patrol Leaders in the then Natal Division. The nine members comprising the original Unit were;Dudley Forde [Chairman] , Fr Ian Laurenson, Lynn Reynolds, Paddy McDowell, Paul and Helen Bezencon,Iand Hoare, Tony Hornby and Bill Sewell.The Kwa-Zulu Natal Area Patrol Leader training Unit celebrated the holding of its 100th course in July 2004.Dudley Forde, Fr Ian Laurenson, James Radford, Bryan Dibben, Craig Shaw, Grant Martens and Guy Caws have led the fortunes of the Unit over its first 45 years.

This Unit is proud to have hosted and mentored those who went on to create Patrol Leader Training Units in other centres in South Africa: Ian Hoare - East London, Derek Swemmer - Pretoria, Lynn Reynolds - Free State, Bill Hodges and Bruce Marree - Eastern Cape, Ian Harry and Chris Barrett - Gauteng, Peter Foster - Western Cape.

A typical PLTU course focuses on character development in each individual, including the development of physical, mental and spiritual qualities. Qualities such as leadership and team spirit are instilled in the Scouts during the course.cite web | year =| url = | title = Cape Western Scouting, Gilqua PLTU - Patrol Leader Training Unit | publisher = South African Scout Association | accessdate = 2006-11-16]

There are a number of PLTU courses on offer around South Africa
*Gilten PLTU - Held in Johannesburg
*Gilqua PLTU - Held in the Western Cape
*Weston PLTU - Held in Pretoria
*Lexden PLTU - The original PLTU course held in KwaZulu-Natal
*Gilcoast PLTU - Held in the Eastern Cape

On the successful completion of a PLTU course a Scout is entitled to wear a PLTU woggle (which is made by the Scout while on the course) and to wear a special PLTU badge on their uniform. Many Troops also require a Scout to complete a PLTU course before allowing them to become a Patrol Leader.

International links

The South African Scout Association plays an active role in the Southern Africa Zone, which consists of all the WOSM member Scout Associations in the Southern Africa region. The Africa Scout Region has a satellite office in Cape Town at the South African Scout Association headquarters. A number of European Scout Associations are also involved in North-South partnerships with Scouts in developing countries, including several active programmes in South Africa. Members of the Boy Scouts of America living in South Africa may become Lone Scouts linked to the Direct Service branch of the BSA.

Recent contributions to World Scouting

The "Join-In Jamboree" concept, for Scouts in their home countries during World Scout Jamborees, was pioneered by the South African Vic Clapham in the 1970s. Vic Clapham was awarded the Bronze Wolf, the only distinction of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, by the World Scout Committee for exceptional services to world Scouting. In 1971, former Chief Scout Arthur Johnstone was also awarded the Bronze Wolf. Colin Inglis and Garnet de la Hunt, both former Chief Scouts of South Africa, were awarded the Bronze Wolf in 1996 for their work towards racial unity in Scouting during the apartheid era.

Frank Opie, a South African Scout leader and environmental educationalist, published "The Global Scout" on behalf of World Scouting in 1993. The South African Scout Association hosted the World Scout Conference and World Scout Youth Forum in Durban in 1999. Garnet de la Hunt chaired the World Scout Committee from 1999 to 2002, and former Chief Scout Nkwenkwe Nkomo was elected to the World Scout Committee in 2005.

ee also

* Lesotho Scouts Association
* Scouts of Namibia
* Swaziland Boy Scouts Association
* Voortrekkers
* Girl Guides Association of South Africa
* Nkwenkwe Nkomo


External links

* [ South African Scout Association]
* [ South African Scout Forum]
* [ South African Scout Groups with websites]
* [ Mpumalanga Scouts and Friends of Scouting]

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