Sandra Barratt, St Luke's
and Julia Neale, Torquay Girls have established contact
with Miss Xoliswa Gongota,
Principal of Masithandane.
met Xoliswa Gongota at the Breakwater Lodge Educational
conference on Saturday 24th October, when
she attended my mathematics workshop. I was delighted
to her about the new OBE requirements for South Africas
new curriculum. I was invited to visit her school and
bring my colleagues to her Township area of Khayelitsha.
I provisionally agreed to visit and after a couple
telephone calls she arranged for her Deputy head Mr
G Mtoba to escort us to her school on Friday 30th
Masithandane Public Primary School
was opened in 1986 and is a Xosha school with 1300
aged 5 - 15 years and 23 teaching staff. Their school
day commences at 8.00 am and finishes at 1.30 pm.
pupils wear a smart school uniform Monday to Thursday
and their own clothes on Fridays. When we arrived
realise that the pupils at this school had given up
wearing their own clothes and donned their uniform
their English guests.
Xoliswa Gongota greeted us warmly
and invited Lorraine Beresford, Julia Neale and
into her office. We presented gifts of books from St
High School, which were donated by students who took
part in a walk for Africa in September. Also presented
footballs donated by Devon Purchasing which were signed
by Exeter City players. The Crossings newspaper,
by young people in Devon and produced by the Express
and Echo, was presented by Julia Neale.
were all impressed with the warm welcome and enthusiasm
and interest of the teachers and pupils about our country,
our schools and culture.
We were asked to visit all the children
in the school in their classrooms because the school did
not have a hall. We were told the children and staff were
all looking forward to meeting the English visitors. They
had never had any English visitors before in their school
and were eager to meet us.
The children were approximately 35
- 40 in each class and asked us questions like:
- Does it rain a lot in England?
- Who is the President of your
- Have you ever met Michael Owen?
- Can we come to England?
- Do you have Townships in England
And many more questions !
All these questions were answered
by us and we were impressed with the standard of written
and spoken English. English is studied from the age of
7-8 upwards and Afrikaans from the age of 11+.
All the classes we visited the pupils
received the Crossings newspaper and their eyes lit up
as they scanned the news form young people in Devon. Many
Masithandane pupils wrote articles, drew pictures and
wrote letters for us to take back home to Devon to our
visiting all the pupils in their classrooms we
to teach some lessons. I taught mathematics to a class
of 12-13 year olds who enjoyed the investigational
approach to resolving the difference of two squares.
The mathematics teacher would like to know more about
this style of working and we hope to exchange samples
of childrens work in the future. An in depth
look at our NC and schemes of work in Primary and High
would be useful to help them develop and gain perspective
for their new OBE curriculum. Numeracy was of a good
in this class which reflects the standards I have found
in all lessons I have taught in South African schools.
Lorraine Beresford, dance teacher
saw a demonstration of African dance. 25 pupils aged 10
- 12 years danced a traditional welcoming dance with songs.
This gave an insight to their cultural performance within
the arts. The boys performed a mixture of traditional
African movements, soft shoe jazz together with fast footwork
almost reminiscent of Irish traditional dancing. We were
delighted to see this display and were impressed with
the pupils interest and enthusiasm. Music, Art and dance
classes our extra curricular subjects which are studied
after classes during the afternoon.
our teaching experience of Mathematics and Dance we were
invited to listen to the Masithandane school choir who
performed in the playground and sung lively gospel style
songs without any musical accompaniment. The boys and
girls sung in harmony as we all enjoyed this moving colourful
performance. Parents turned up outside the gates to see
their children and listen to their voices but also to
have a peek at the English visitors.
After his performance we were invited
to have lunch with the staff. We were asked to
and present our gifts to the staff. We were then given
a feast which had been made and brought in by all
staff. I showed photographs of students at St Lukes
High School which are probably now adorning the walls.
We exchanged conversations about education and life in
England. We were then presented with beautiful art work
created by the Art teacher. A memorable moving occasion
from which we will all have fond memories. We have promised
to send a computer (166 Pentium), which has been donated
by BT which will help the school to get e-mail connections.
We will send NC information, schemes of work and exchange
childrens work. We have created roots in Africa
which will flourish between our schools.
- St Lukes High School
- Torquay Girls Grammar School
- Bradley Rowe First School
We had met the Head Teacher and other members of staff
at the Sharing Perspectives Conference and they were very
keen for their School to be visited so that their work
could be seen by our Party and acknowledged by others.
It was very important to them to feel that they were making
a link with UK educationalists. We were made to feel extremely
welcome and the Head Teacher clearly wanted us to meet
every single one of the 1,300 pupils on site! The School
buildings were quite spacious but there was a lack of
specalised resources but we were most impressed to see
the dedication of the staff and the determination of the
pupils to do well in School. We noted that Friday was
usually a non-uniform day but on this occasion in recognition
of our visit all the pupils were smartly turned out in
their School uniforms - they were a credit to their School.
The pupils were keen to ask us questions about England,
about Michael Owen and about our own families and interests.
They wrote short articles and letters about themselves
and their interests so that we can enable pupils in our
Schools to correspond with them and establish links. We
filmed all the classroom activity and took many photographs
much to the delight of the girls and boys there. Later
in the morning we had the opportunity to watch the pupils
dancing and to listen to their wonderful School choir.
It was impressive to see the achievements of both staff
and pupils despite the constraints imposed on them. At
the end of the morning we were treated to a splendid lunch
and we presented the staff with some of the infamous footballs
and a number of books. Everyone was delighted! In return
we were given some pieces of art work which had been specially
presented by some of the pupils. We finally left at 1.30pm
- three hours later than planned - feeling sure that we
would be able to sustain this link and make some useful
contributions to the life of the School in future. It
was a very uplifting experience and one we will remember
for a long time to come.
We are hoping to be able to send a computer and text
books in the near future. On arriving back in our Schools
in the UK our pupils responded very enthusiastically when
hearing of the opportunity to write to pupils in Khayelitsha.