Showing posts from August, 2013

Lessons we can learn from poor schools to curb dropout rates

I listened to a colleague telling me how difficult it is to get teachers to come and teach in the Lavender Hill belt of schools. Farieda says that people think you will become a casualty of crime or that teaching in the area is non-existent.
Farieda, a Maths specialist, says even she would say she is teaching in Retreat at times because people are quick to even judge your competence when you say you are teaching in Lavender Hill. Ivor, the Head of the school who is listening to this exchange, retorts rather abruptly : “ They have lost the plot… it is a privilege to teach in an area like Lavender Hill.” This is the training ground for teachers.”
I fully agree with Ivor. In fact, I think all teachers should do community service in poor areas so that they can identify fully with the challenges of educating our youth who are stuck in such webs. We will quickly learn how our own glib recipes of “how to apply Blooms Taxonomy” will become our own nightmare!

In these schools the odds are stacked…

Tribute to Eddie Lewin, My Brother-in-law

Today was a sad day for the Lewin Family. We lay our brother to rest after a short, sharp battle with cancer.

I was greatly honoured to pay tribute to Eddie who has been a pillar of strength to his family and the extended family.

I chose to share two extraordinary qualities Eddie possessed and the life lessons we have learnt from these.
And here follows a snapshot of the tribute.

Eddie, the Master builder of relationships.

Eddie was able to embrace people from all walks of life, from the young to the old, from the poor to the super rich. That was just the way he was. He was a real down to earth guy; what you saw is what you got. Because of his caring and sharing nature and being a natural nurturer, he kept his family - Geraldine and their four strappy sons - together as a unit. Raising children is difficult. We see how broken families are and how children are neglected or abused by their parents. Not so with Eddie. Although he will be the first to acknowledge that his sons were no angels a…

In a man's world at The Artscape Women and Humanity Arts Festival

Thanks to my dear lifelong friend, Carol van der Rheede,I went to see the stage production, "In a Man's world" at the Artscape Women and Humanity Arts Festival on the opening night of the festival last Thursday.

The Opening Ceremony
The ceremony of the opening night was a well orchestrated inclusive multi-sensory experience. Besides one or two longwinded speeches, it was indeed a powerful statement of how we can embrace all - the 'humanity' aspect. I was fascinated with a young girl - wheelchair bound- who exuded confidence and charisma despite the adult crowd.

The arts have a particular responsibility to keep alive the conversations about the ongoing challenges facing people - including all the groups at risk like those with disabilities, women who face untold abuse and even men who are steeped in the macho culture that pervades our nation. It is a bold artistic response of Artscape to tackle head on the all pervasive macho culture and the various  forms of cult…

Our Lunch Date at Somerbosch Wine Farm in Stellenbosch

Celebrating Women’s Day with my three sisters at the Bistro at Somerbosch Wine farm was a winner.
Lunch was served on the lawns under clear, windless skies. The sprawling grey vineyards with farmworker cottages stuck in the distance and the blue-grey mountains looking on, soothed the senses.
Lunch time As a starter, most of us opted for the vegetable soup of the day served with a rather scant serving of bread. After ordering another mini- breadbasket – with its half slices, we gently told the waiter that as township folk, we need REAL slices thus the running bread order. This explanation lifted the waiter’s puzzled look ( and I think, slight irritation) and quickly got him to add ‘more bread?’ when he visited our table.
So, in between all the chatter and the madness we somehow bring into our spaces, we downed generous servings of Somerbosch Sauvignon Blanc and tucked into our main course, Thai chicken served with salsa and fragrant rice.  The chicken was delicious but again, rather smal…

Women's Day, Women's Month: A Tribute to ALL of our Female Champion teachers

Blessed am I to be surrounded by throngs of woman educators teaching our children; women who demonstrate remarkable resilience to carve a better future for their proteges...
Thus I
Salute all the phenomenal women who never make the headlines.

Praise all the teachers of our children who perform tsunamic wonders when they transform the lives of many a broken child.

Respect all my sisters who often quietly offer their unselfish service to build families, communities and countries.
Pay tribute to all those nurturers, the courageous, fearless, august compatriots who defy the odds that life often sling at them;
You are the bedrock

You are our heroes

Celebrating Women: Lynn Brown shows us learning is a lifelong journey

I love being surrounded by positive people, energising souls that do not allow others to determine their destiny for them. Lynn Brown, my colleague, is one of those young women that you want  around when life's dark moments can become overwhelming. You see, if you are one of those superficial people who make quick judgements about others, based purely on your own outlook on life, you may never get to see the deeper layers of young women like Lynn.

Dynamite package
I suppose to the more conservative eye, Lynn may be too much of a free spirit; too daring at times in terms of dress and attitude, the murmurs sometimes go. But, that's the superficial stuff. I wonder how many people have engaged this fun-loving, gorgeous woman? Besides having a full-time day job and being a single mom of a super young lad, Lynn has been studying part-time to become a teacher for a while now. She tells me she has almost completed her teacher's training, but she has set her goals higher.


Metro South Education District and our Women's Day 2013 celebrations

The pitch of our Women’s Day celebrations at our district was perfect. The setting was glamorous, the mood was jovial and the speakers were brilliant.
Are we heeding the clarion call to eradicate violence as a key barrier?
We had three speakers. Valdi van Reenen-Le Roux, Director of Trauma Centre, was our keynote speaker. The other two presenters were learners: Michael from Strandfontein High school and Lauren from Wynberg Girls’ High school. The speakers had a mission: they were there to raise our awareness of the violence against women and against our children, especially against the girl child. More importantly, these speakers were there to question whether we are enabling or disengaged change agents.

Have we taken up the baton from the 20,000 South African women who on 9 August, 1956 had made sacrifices against all odds? How are we using our human agency to fight the violence against women and children? Why is  there silence around issues of structural violence in our schools, in our…