Showing posts from 2012

Blouvlei LSEN goes Wild Wild West this year

Every year I attend the farewell function of the OO class at Blouvlei LSEN in Retreat. I simply love celebrating with the school when they send off their 18 year olds to start their own life. Often this occasion is marked with much fanfare and all of us - the learners and their partners, the parents, the sponsors and of course, guests like myself participate fully in the occasion.

This year the theme was the Wild, wild west.  Most of the decor is made by the learner themselves. The ceiling was adorned with hanging paper lanterns, there was a horse carriage at the entrance and the stage was straight from a Western film: there were high hay bales and all the other paraphernalia - fabulous stuff.

Gideon is the educator of the learners who was honoured this year. Gideon, I believe is the perfect educator for these learners. He has Job's patience, a calm demeanour and he simply adores his charges. The entire night Gideon darts about, taking photos of his learners, giving the occasional p…

Berg River Camping Retreat

Back at the Berg...
Our brains possess the miraculous ability to re-wire our thoughts in an instant. After spending the greater part of the year like madmen on a highway chase, we are calibrated to go into holiday zone. We are slowed down so that our senses can be drenched in the sounds, smells, tastes and feelings of REAL life; an absolute necessity else we will go crazy “chasing pavements” as Adele sings. Our family is going nowhere slowly here at the Berg river resort in Paarl. Although the sun bakes fiercely here in the Swartland, we are willing to make that sacrifice.

There is nothing more therapeutic than surrendering yourself to the rhythms of nature. Simple pleasures abound. A critter that would normally scare the daylights out of our children, become an object of wonder – science in motion.
 Just this afternoon, while the family kids – Sasha, Nazeer and Reagan – were relaxing on the inflatable mattress ( that also doubles as a raft), a worm was crawling up Nazeer’s arm. Sasha sh…

Steenberg Primary celebrates their jubilee anniversary

There are so many celebrations happening this week. Steenberg Primary School has had their 60th Anniversary Thanksgiving service today.  All the speakers and performers are directly connected to the school - either as an alumnus, past principal or educator.  And of course, Lavinia, Lameez and Derrick, three of our principals are also there to celebrate with Cassy, her staff and her community.

The Deep roots of Steenberg Primary

One of the speakers is Mr Herbert, a past principal. Mr Herbert takes us on a fascinating trip down memory lane, explaining that the kaleidoscope of the historical mural of Steenberg Primary is a rich one; a history that is rooted in the apartheid repressive era and a symbol of people's resistance and resilience to pursue the path of education for liberation.  We hear how Steenberg Primary started out as a 'plankie' school and how the school had successfully got the City council to condemn the prefabricated building as a health and safety risk.      W…

Basil's birthday becomes a 2-day event in Somerset West surrounds

We love Birthday Parties

My family loves birthdays and we love to celebrate. I for one, love theme birthday parties and the crazier the better. Even our children get excited when there is a birthday pending because they know something is going to happen.  Basil, however, is the more sober one. He is the one who would take on the philosopher look and attitude and see the Big Day as just another moment in history. But that is where I and the children create balance and perspective. Oh no, there is no quiet passing of time at all as far as we are concerned. Last year we went to the Barnyard Theatre in Tygervalley to see the Rock show and did we have fun!  One would have sworn we are the birthday crew - dancing and rocking to the music and chomping away at pizzas and downing either cooldrink or a glass o' wine.

This year was different though. You see, our children are outgrowing us to a large extent and so with we decided to go it alone this year with their blessings; they had their own…

Delta Primary is Big on Care and Support

I love visiting Delta Primary School. The latest visit is to determine whether the school is on track with their planning re their temporary re-location. Delta was one of the schools identified for a makeover by the Department of Education. The prefabricated block of classrooms will be demolished. The irony is that Delta was recently given a makeover of that very prefab block by YPO who had selected the school as their South African beneficiary in 2011. When the school heard that they were identified as an ASIDI school, they contacted Gabby (YPO) and between the two parties, they decided to have a few trees removed and donated to another place of need.  The new Delta is going to have a school hall, a library and a Grade R wing – a dream come true for Bridget and her staff.
A snapshot of Bridget, the Head of the school
Bridget is one of the most caring principals I know and having been principal at Delta for yonks, she knows her community extremely well. Most times I  would hear some hor…

Aluta Continua with the SMT Leadership Conference at Joie de Vivre, DAY 2 Snapshots...

Remember I have confessed that I was exhausted and merely held buoyant by the energizing space I found myself in? Thus, when my alarm went off faithfully at 5h45, I wanted to snuff the life out of my blackberry! Yep, Day 2 of systems thinking and peer learning have dawned and Rashida was already waiting for me to join her for our morning swim.So, off we go, Rashida diving in and I- knowing my limits - walk purposefully to the shallow section as the entry point. Our conversation becomes a tapestry of the day before and the shifts happening at Lourier. We celebrate the news of a new kitchen almost roof height and the arrival of an intercom system if the beneficiary comes to the party. Now and then our chat is punctuated with morning greetings to our Arise and Shine Women’s conference group and to our colleagues who have also started stirring to the sounds of Saturday.We spend a glorious hour in the pool and then join the rest of the group in the dining hall for breakfast.We don’t have mu…

SMT Leadership Conference at Joie de Vivre Day 1


Here we are at Joie de Vivre Conference Centre in Paarl, ready to start our 2-day conference arranged for the Senior Management Teams of Levana Primary and Lourier Primary school.  All of us had just completed our normal day's work and trekked all the way from Cape Town to our 'think tank' space in the countryside. What bliss it is to be in the company of people who stretch one and of course, they get stretched as well. We came here, ready to challenge ourselves. Levana Primary and Lourier Primary SMTs have clear expectations: they want to build teams, they want to strengthen the school clusters so that we do not operate as silos, they want to build friendships they say and they want to raise their game as leaders at their respective schools.

 The expectations of our special delegates are music to our ears. Over the two days of presentations, conversations and team building activities, we aim to deepen our insights with regard to o…

We are all gaga over Princess Bella

My word... just when I thought our empty nest is closer than we think, we become the extended parents and siblings of our latest arrival.

Everybody was in an expectant frame of mind because our latest addition to the family was due to arrive on Sunday. The two pappas - Brett and Christo - had paid the lobola money so that Mamma Sasha could finally have her Princess.  Ooooh... and we agonised over names just before Princess Bella arrived. Mamma Sasha had us all write down names that went into a draw and Princess came out tops. I opted for Kia and later Venus, but no, the jury had decided: our green-eyed baba was going to be Princess. Bella was another favourite by Pappa Brett.

Even the cost of Princess was negotiated. Brett claimed he had no 'naming' rights and thus he would pay less.    I of course, made a forced payment after advancing the loan for the labola due. When the money was repaid after much haggling, may I add, there was a hundred rand short.  I suppose one could say…

Lourier Primary School is moving their Flywheel

There is an Adam Small link to Lourier Primary
Lourier Primary school has a rich history closely tied to South Africa’s outstanding dramatist and poet, Adam Small. I read in the ATKV’s magazine, Taalgenoot, that Adam Small received the Hertzog prize in September  2012, 47 yearsafter he had written the timeless drama, Kanna hy kÔ hystoe. (Kanna comes home). Adam Small says his father was the principal of Lourier Primary and this is where he, Adam, learnt about urban poverty on the Cape Flats.  This is what he had to say: “ Hier het ek Kaaps leer ken. Dis waar my protes poësie – my siel – beslag gekry het. Jy skryf omdat jy gehoor wil wees, maar jy skryf ook omdat ander mense gehoor wil wees.” (Thank goodness Google has translation capabilities!)
Well, I am sure Adam Small will be pleased to hear that Lourier Primary school wants to be seen AND heard. Despite the harsh socio-economic conditions and the challenges that have caused Lourier to experience major wobbles, we know that the schoo…

Hillwood Primary School hosts an Art exhibition in Lavender Hill

Imagine the thrill of going to an Art exhibition of children's artwork only AND then imagine the elation of attending an Historic first Art Exhibition hosted by Hillwood Primary School in Lavender Hill. Zain, the art teacher of the group of learners who had never drawn or painted before, explained how the art group started.

  “ I started with 7 learners and then the group grew to 57”, said Zain proudly. “ Now the group has 19 regular artists.  I don’t tell them what to draw; I allow their imaginations to dictate what appears on the page. I started playing Kenny G songs for them at the beginning, trying to create a calming atmosphere. There is lots of trauma in Lavender Hill and these learners have so many odds against them. But look at their masterpieces. I am privileged to have them as part of the art group.”

How humbling.  Zain explained that he wanted to give back to the community because he was helped by the community organization, New World Foundation, himself. He wants to help …