As part of the association work of Bridging Gaps e.V., a successful youth exchange was conducted.

The German youths in Germany and South Africa have completed a longer stay in South Africa and Germany in the last two years. The youth exchange was carried out by Engagement Global gGmbH on behalf of the BMZ.
The goal was to bring everyday life, discrimination, prejudice and stereotypical thinking to life. Learn together about global independence and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In this case, participants should be invited to participate in workshops and practical exercises
The exchange was made possible within the framework of the project “German-African Youth Initiative” with the help of “Engagement Global”, which has set itself the goal of promoting a common future between young people.

The project

The aim of the project was to open young people to new perspectives and sensitize them to global inequalities. All young people were encouraged and supported to continue their social involvement after the project was over.
The “Bridge the Gap” youth exchange consisted of an accompanying program and two phases of encounter. Ten young people each took part in these phases in Germany and South Africa. It was also possible for thirty other teenagers to attend a week’s program in their home country. The project spanned from September 2017 to May 2018 and included a two-week stay in South Africa after Christmas 2017 and in Germany at Easter 2018.

The exchange program was characterized by the participation of the young people. It was based on our project “Bridges Camp” in South Africa, which was initiated and conceived by the young multipliers.

“So Bridging Gaps is all about overcoming prejudice and preventing racism. It also teaches us about inequality all over the globe. Basically it’s all about making the world a better home for all human beings living in it. I’ve been a part of the Bridging Gaps for 3 years and it’s like a family to me now. We combine the different races from different backgrounds like black, white and coloured to make many people one individual – thats our main job of the Bridging Gaps project. So we are bridging the gap between inequality, racism and prejudice.“

Brett Veldman (15) – the youngest participant about the exchange

The implementation

The youth exchange consisted of two phases of encounter in South Africa as well as in Germany. All participants from Germany should participate in both phases of the meeting.
The encounter phases took place during the following periods:

  •  Between December 27, 2017 and January 9, 2018 in South Africa
  • Between March 24th and April 7th in Germany

The entire project consisted of the exchange and a compulsory framework program, of which the participants were only invited in exceptional cases, such as Diseases or important family events could be freed.

The schedule in detail

News about the project

“The German-African Youth Exchange has really opened my eyes to the many inequalities and injustices we experience on a daily basis and which I have barely noticed before. The exchange had a tremendously positive impact on my life and in addition to the instructive units, I found new friends … wait … I found a new family. “

These very impressive words by Chesney Joubert, one of the twenty participants in the Bridging Gaps Youth Exchange, give an idea of ​​how important and formative this experience was for all involved.
On 27.12.2017 the time had finally come: After a long preparatory phase with many substantive workshops and bureaucratic hurdles to be overcome, the ten German participants between the ages of 16 and 19 flew with Lea and Florian, their carers, to South Africa. There she was waiting impatiently for the South African team to welcome them with a special, surprising and funny welcome ceremony based on South African traditions.

In the two weeks that followed, they had learned more about global inequalities in an intensive program and realized how the growing gap between rich and poor also affected them personally and the group. The fact that the South African youth had to go through a long visa process while the German youths were able to leave their passport was just one example. The day trips to historic sites showed how the people of South Africa had to fight against injustice and freedom.
2nd meeting phase:
In the second encounter phase, the South African youths visited the German participants. In the case of targeted actions in public, the young people had the opportunity to draw the attention of outsiders to the project and to inform them. A special highlight was the involvement of ten more young people in the project. Together with the “multipliers” – the young people who took part in the exchange – they were led in workshops, which were partially prepared and presented by the young people themselves on the subject of racism.


We say thank you to our sponsors

Engagement Global gGmbH through the BMZ
Heartbeats e.V.

We are funded by



The team

The youth exchange is conducted on the German side by Manuel Gussmann and organized on the South African side by Zakhele Nkosi and Isaac Ndwendwe with the team in Pretoria. The two will keep an overview and be your contact persons throughout the project. Juliane Hoss is the first chairman of the association and will accompany the implementation of the youth exchange.

Get to know our team

Our organization team in South Africa:

Zakhele Nkosi
lead the youth exchange in 2017/2018 from the South African side, managing the organising team and working closely with the teenagers. He has extensive experience in facilitating sessions focusing on racism, privilege and intersectionality. He is working as an assistant lecturer for the University of Pretoria, where he graduated with  Masters of Science in Geology. Previously, he worked as an assistant campaign manager at Zinto Marketing Group.

Isaac Ndwendwe
has 15 years experience in youth and community work as a senior facilitator and camp leader for Karos and Kambro. Together with Zakhele, he was leading the organising team for the youth exchange 2017/2018, instructing and preparing all supervisors, leading the pedagogical programme and  ensuring safety and security standards at the camp.

Sipho Mnisi
is a supervisor and coordinator at Bridges Camp. He volunteered for 10 years working with young people in various organisations and has an excellent 5 years teaching experience for Secondary School learners. He participated at Activate Leadership Programme as a Change Driver in 2017 and now he is doing second level on Switch Social Entrepreneurship  Programme. He was a supervisor at the youth exchange.

Mogau Mphahlele
has participated in the Activate Leadership Programme in the first half of 2017 and graduated as a community leader in August 2017. She volunteers as a supervisor at Bridge Camp as well as the youth exchange and is a project coordinator for the camps focusing on gender inequality. She manages the communication for the “Growth Path”, our project training future youth leaders, which currently has 38 participants.

Thabiso Seleone
is an artist and facilitator since 1989 with an experience and practice in the following; painting, music and theatrical directing and script writing. He won some awards in script writing and theatre stage acting. He participated in several art exhibitions and festivals in Mpumalanga and twice in the Standard Bank National Arts Festival in Grahamston. in his involvement in community arts programmes, he has facilitated experiential learning and managed projects in the Gauteng and Mpumalanga province. He was a youth worker for Karos and Kambro from 2002 until 2016. He is presently pursuing music making, an African genre using drumming and African hand piano (mbira) in community development and youth work. To him “an artistic and cultural development of a people (youth) is like regerminating a pure roots to an perennial tree, unmasking the faces of the young people.” He was a supervisor and drumming instructor as part of the youth exchange.

Juliane Hoss
is the founder of Bridging Gaps e.V. and started the Bridges Camp project in October 2013. She is an educated youth leader and has more than 10 years experience in youth work. Juliane Hoss initiaties the youth exchange project, was coordinating the collaboration between the two countries and assisted as part of the South African organizing team.

Our organization team in Germany

Manuel Gussmann

Manuel is responsible for the management and coordination of the German team. In his work, all the threads are combined, he keeps the organizational overview, distributes tasks and coordinates the individual work areas. Manuel is our main contact person, manages documents and organizes video conferences. In addition, Manuel is a passionate photographer and therefore takes the picture and video documentation of our work.




Nora Becher
Johanna Siebert
Lea Nesselhauf

Nora, Johanna and Lea are responsible for the content of the program. They plan the exact course of the individual workshops and meeting phases in Germany, think about games and energizers, put together material and design the manual for the content.




Christian Trenk
Anna Kreß

Christian and Anna work primarily in the field of administrative. They book flights and accommodation, take care of catering, write pack lists and clarify legal matters. Together with Johanna, Christian also takes care of the selection of the participants. Anna will also be responsible for the contact with the participating young people and their parents and be their first contact person.




Florian Petermann

As a trained youth leader, Florian will accompany the young people together with Lea to South Africa. There he acts as a supervisor and contact person for the German participants. Together with Lea and the South African team, he will lead and coordinate the encounter phase. In preparation, Florian concentrates on public relations and fundraising.