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Showing posts from July, 2012

A tribute to my sister, Glenda who left us in 2010

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On  30 July 2010, my dearest sister, departed from us, expected at some point, yet unexpected when the day finally hit us. The more the cancer anchored itself, the more Glenda's mental and spiritual spirit ballooned. I dunno how she did it and even the medical staff were in awe of her power.

After battling with an aggressive cancer for 4 years, Glenda, the supreme fighter, finally succumbed.  Even on the day we finally took her to hospital because she took a bad turn, Glenda showed her superhuman strength.  She could not even walk but she remained calm and dignified as we waited at Constantiaberg reception.  A past student of mine was attending to us.  He told us we could take Glenda up to the ward while he waited for authorisation from the Medical Aid. He could see the pain wracking her face.  But no, my strong-willed, stubborn sis insisted that we wait for the authorisation.  I was so relieved when Glenda was finally made comfortable in her hospital bed.  That was on Wednesday ea…

Westerford High School gets a 3D tour of Lavender Hill-Steenberg schools

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I was blessed to be invited by educator Keith Niekerk to be part of Westerford High School’s Lecture Series which was launched this year. The focus of my talk “3D Reflections of School Life in the Lavender Hill-Steenberg area on the Cape Flats” was a tribute to the 16 schools that show amazing hope and resilience despite all the odds stacked against them. As life would have it, I listened to the discussion on SAFM on the latest report released by the World Bank about the poverty levels in our country. I hear that the top end 20% still own 70% of our country’s wealth – no surprise at all.
I reached Westerford, joined in on the “Cake Day” treat and off I went to my lecture room. I compliment the learners on their beautiful school and therapeutic garden setting. I share with them that I could just drive through their gates and ring the bell for attention at their school. At most of the schools I serve I say, the gates are locked and there are security personnel manning these gates. Then o…

MADIBA DAY 2012 MAGIC - CAUGHT DOING GOOD AT SCHOOLS IN THE SOUTH

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Madiba Day is always a fantastic day to see how ordinary folk and companies take their  PSP (Personal Sustainability Project, a phrase coined by Adam Werbach) seriously. 
I spent the greater part of the morning in the Ocean View belt, another improverished area which seldom makes the headlines. The schools in the area make magic every day for the community. The learners at the schools are blessed to have such dedicated, passionate community workers who shower them with so much love, care and support.
Off to Compass Bakery, looking for a Madiba Partner
So, off went Helen – our engine at the Circuit office – and I, straight to Compass Bakery. We met Miguel of Compass Bakery who listened to our request to partner with them for the day. He was thrilled with the idea because his wife had just called to hear what he was doing to celebrate our beloved Father of the Nation’s 94th birthday. And here we walk in and provide him with an answer. How cool is that? A few minutes later Helen and I trek…

Teacher, You’re a Firefighter, says Levana's Head…

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On my beat at Levana Primary School...
I was chatting to Ivor Nober, proud principal of Levana Primary School in Lavender Hill. Today I was briefed on amongst other interesting developments at the school, the talent show, “Safe Road To Fame”, that the seven schools in the Lavender Hill belt will be staging in August. This show is going to be a stellar event because our children, despite their depressed circumstances, have unbelievable talent.

Now, about three years ago, Ivor and his staff had their first icy winter season. They experienced a wobble because the school was labelled a “poor performing” school on the  Learner Performance league tables. Ivor and his staff were deeply stung; their body language mirrored  the vulnerability of their own learners. Yet, this distressing academic league table status catapulted Ivor and his staff on to the high road to excellence. There was a different energy as Ivor steered himself and his colleagues to transform the school. 
So, between bullet sh…

IP CAPS Orientation Sessions are A RESOUNDING SUCCESS

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Ordinary teachers do extraordinary things at CAPS Orientation Sessions: Viva to our Heroes!
I know the IP CAPS Training or Orientation Session is geared towards teachers because all teachers must be ready to teach the CAPS syllabus by 2013.  We flooded the teacher fraternity with reminders of the 'invitation' to attend the sessions. Yet, strangely, this flurry of activity excluded to a large extent the very leaders - the school principals and district officials - who have the responsibility to build on the foundation laid by the CAPS orientation sessions. Let me explain my soul-searching journey that is causing me to interrogate my role in our changing education landscape...
I was part of the CAPS 3-day Teachers’ Orientation Programme for Intermediate Phase hosted at Muizenberg Junior School. There were about 250 attendees who attended presentations facilitated by 24 Lead Teachers, the colleagues of these teachers.




Lead Teachers thrown in the lions' den?


The 24 Lead Teac…

Dialogue with Professor Jonathan Jansen: Lessons from the Spear incident.

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You are seldom disappointed when storyteller, Professor Jonathan Jansen takes the floor. Rapport comes naturally even on this typical winter's afternoon. Off we go with Jonathan to Namibia, meeting a few young people and community members whom he had engaged on his recent travels to our neighbour. We hear our neighbours are calmer, happier and more aligned although they too have a difficult past.


Before we know it, we are travelling south again, crossing the Orange River and land straight in Spear Land. We hear lessons drawn from the Spear incident interspersed with just an adequate dose of contextual information to aid understanding. The Spear outcry demonstrated that we are still a deeply wounded nation - so angry and volatile that we forego reason and debate. It highlighted the failings of our education system and the incident also made us more aware of the thinness of our democracy.  


These complexities of our realities are narrated with the simplicity mastered by an authentic, …