Today, we went back to school for another action-packed day. To start the day off, the Matseliso students burst into song which was followed by inspirational performances from both cultures before we were split into 2 groups. We were given the choice whether we wanted to learn to cook a traditional African meal or to experience singing together with the Matseliso choir. Being that we have never tried it cooked a traditional African meal before, we decided to have a go at the “bake off”.
When we arrived at the food tech rooms, we were greeted by the students, keen to teach us about the food in their culture. We each chose pairs and were put together with another pair from Matseliso and set off to work. In the given time period of 1 hour, we were set the task of making pap, sausages and chakalaka. First we made the chakalaka which is a recipe involving carrots, baked beans, chile, onion, pepper, oil, salt and pepper and curry powder mixed together with a spicy taste. Then we started on the pap, a rice-based recipe which simply constited of adding maize to boiling water. And finally, we had to cook sausages to add to the meal.
When we had finished cooking the teacher judged our dishes on how clean we had kept our cooking areas, presentation of the food and also the taste of the food. After she had tasted all the groups food she announced the winner which turned out to be mine and Emma's group. We were very happy and pleasantly surprised that we had managed to cook a traditional South African dish and even got compliments from teachers and students. Afterwards we all took our food to the rest of the group who had been singing whilst we were cooking and they also really liked the dish. Many of us are planning to make it when we get home as we liked it so much!
Emma & Sarah
On our third day in Soweto after an already action packed day we went on a short tour in the centre of Soweto called Vilakazi Street. It's packed full of stores and street vendors which makes it a very exciting place to visit. It is also packed full of history and many historical events, mainly leading back to the Apartheid have happened on that very street. However first of all we went to a snake house. Inside a seemingly plain building there was a small monkey and parrot in the entrance before leading onto a larger room full of snakes and other exotic animals. One of my personal favourites was the albino hedgehog which was definitely a new experience for everyone. When it came to the time where we could hold a snake there were only a few volunteers to hold a python over three metres long. ( insert snake photo). After the snake house we started to walk down Vilakazi street. The first place we stopped at was the corner where Hector Pieterson was killed in the 1970s when students protested the use of Afrikaans in their schools. It has been remembered as a momentous event and a huge tragedy in South Africa's history. He was thirteen years old and was shot for being present at a rally that he was not meant to be part of. We then stopped quickly at a street vendor and some people bought small trinkets to remember their time in South Africa and we all also tried a local treat that was like popcorn. After that we walked slightly more up the street until we came to where Nelson Mandela live pre prison and before he became president. We couldn't go inside but it is now a museum and the South Africans respect and live for Mandela is shown in the way they speak of him and what he has done for their country. To finish our tour of Vilakazi Street we went to Bishop Desmond Tutus house where our guide ,Booysie, explained that while Mandela was in prison Tutu fought for blacks to be given equal rights and like Mandela also won a novel prize for his work. Overall it was an amazing visit and I would definitely go back.
Today we made a trip to a big football club's training centre in South Africa, the team went by the name of the Kaizer Chiefs. When our minibus strolled into the Kaizer Chief's FC training ground it had us all looking out the window in amazement at the unbelievable facilities that this club had.
We were welcomed with love and peace by the staff and players of Kaizer Chiefs. Before they had there second training session of the day the players came out and took pictures with learners of Culcheth high school and Matseliso High School. They took us round all the their training facilities which were very impressive , a few of the club legends stopped there work to teach us something and we were able to take pictures with them!
The club was brilliant with us because they welcomed us with opened arms and showed almost everything that the training centre had to offer, I personally think none of it would have happened without the help of some of the teachers from Matseliso High School who arranged such a great day out for us all. The whole group thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I'm sure will never forget it.
Carlos & George
This morning we went back to school and had a really interesting day. First of all we were split into two groups, one group went back into lessons, this time I went to a geography one, and learnt about global warming and climate change. I was amazed at the knowledge of the Mateliso students on the topic and how they can think on their feet during a for and against debate, here they also used correct scientific knowledge to back up their point. The other group learnt about the Aparthied in South Africa and what it was all about. After this, we all came back together for the big question. Here the South African students and the Culcheth students ask questions based on certain topics, some topics today went from food to politics. Students from one school asked a question and then other people from that school add their own views and knowledge. Then we had the opportunity to go and meet the students again and ask them questions, whilst walking around the school trying to get our bearings. Overall it was a very good day full of new exciting experiences!!!
Today we had the honour of visiting Kliptown, and as soon as we got there we were greeted by Bob, the founder of the Kliptown youth services available to them all. We were then introduced to our tour guide, unloaded the bags of clothes we have all brought and then set off to start the journey around the town. As soon as we turned onto one of the main streets, it was obvious that the poverty had a huge effect visually and on the environment itself, however had the absolute opposite effect on the people from the outset and throughout the whole town. All of the children were smiling, playing, and happy, as young as 4 or 5 wondering around the streets on their own. This however did not change anything as the spirits and character of these young children was absolutely amazing! They all said hello to every one of us, waved and high fives us and loved to just speak to us all; and vice versa!! To me, I feel that the people had such a positive outlook on something that we would see as something so negative and limiting to a persons quality of life and their smiles, mentality and friendliness absolutely radiated. After a tour around
Kliptown, we all gathered back for a performance just for us, put together by adults and children that lasted about 25 minutes - consisting of cultural and historical songs, and lively dances by the children, each and every one of them eager to showcase all of their talent. The day ended with us meeting some of the children when they saw the clothes that we had brought over, all incredibly excited and seemingly shocked at what was infront of them. They were all so happy and appreciative, and it truly showed that these children even from such a young age are hugely impacted by their conditions and living capabilities, yet not in the way that I thought. My opinion and outlook has been totally changed, that I can say only has happened through this first hand experience and meeting of the residents of this incredible environment.
Today we visited, the highly anticipated, Kliptown after our visit to Matseliso High School and the Nike Centre. We piled into our mini buses and set off, preparing ourselves for what we were about to experience. As we were driving, you could see a clear decline in the surrounding area and landscape; from cars, to people/horses pulling carts; from paved roads, to dirt tracks; from the beautifully built houses, to scraps of metal thrown together. We pulled into a train station car park and to our right was a wall with "KLIPTOWN" written in huge decorative graffiti and then we turned right and entered Kliptown. Driving down this long dirt road, it finally hit me that I was about to witness the scene of something I have only ever seen on tv or in textbooks.
We arrived at S.K.Y. (Soweto Kliptown Youth) a charity based in Kliptown, for Kliptown, where we were greeted by Brother Bob - he founded this charity when he was just 16! It is 30 years old this year. He explained to us what was going to happen then introduced us to our tour guide Zimi, someone who was born here and Brother Bob has practically raised him since he was a child. The welcoming we received and the feelings we felt are indescribable, but we were overcome with so much emotion as they addressed us as brothers and sisters. Thus we began our tour of the informal settlement.
At first, I was overwhelmed by the contrast between the developed urban area on one side of the railway - including the heritage centre - and the sheer poverty of the shanty town on the other. We continued with our tour and we encountered lots of young children, very fascinated and intrigued by us. Many children no older than 5 were following us around and showing us their homes and different areas; they were so full of life and energy, it was absolutely heartwarming. A gentleman even converts his home into a tuck shop during the day and changes back to his family home for the night.
Every single resident of Kliptown has built a home for themselves. The scraps of metal that had be thrown together, to me, felt like much more of a home than the some of the beautifully built stone houses. Their personalities struck me, as they were so confident and comfortable, giving such a community feel. The whole thing was honestly very overwhelming because we were witnessing things that many people don't ever get the chance to. It's going to be impossible to describe to anyone back at home.
After our tour finished, the S.K.Y community greeted us with singing, dancing, storytelling, art exhibitions, etc. This part of the day was incredible, the amount of talent and confidence from all of the children and members of the community was implausible and something that you would never witness back at home, in England. Once the greetings were finished, we gathered outdoors to distribute our agglomeration of donations to the children of Kliptown. The happiness radiating from them and the way you feel after gifting them is something that I cannot describe with words. It was an eye opening experience and something that I and everyone else here will never forget.
So, to start our day, we went back to Matselliso High School so that we could get a true comparison of both schools, and also to see all our friends!
When we arrived, we were greeted with the same amount of love and enthusiasm as the previous day, and were made to feel as if we were a key part of their school. After having a quick chat and a catch up with the Matseliso students, we were split into three separate groups and we headed off to some of the ongoing classes.
The first lesson my group went into was a comprehension class. They were discussing the rules of their school and giving their opinions on how they could be improved or altered to make them better. Everyone got involved, and the encouragement and respect that each pupil had for one another was amazing to experience! After their debating and discussing they began to ask us questions about our life in comparison to theirs. One of the topics we got onto was school sports. After talking about the different sporting opportunities Culcheth high school offered, we then asked them about the sports they can do at their school. The teacher explained that the opportunities were very limited because of funding and lack of facilities and fundamental resources. I think that made us appreciate how lucky we actually are, to have the opportunities and the facilities to pursue what ever ambitions we may have.
We next moved onto the science/dt classrooms. As soon as we walked in, we were welcomed with lots of smiley and warm faces, all waving and greeting us into their classroom. When we had introduced ourselves, we sat down and were told that some students were going to present their work to us. They had been assigned a task to make a model of an everyday item out of recyclable materials, like plastic bottles, cardboard boxes ect. The presentation that stuck of for me was a boy that had made a door alarm. When he stepped up ready to present, he was obviously very nervous (as we all would be) but got right into his explanation about how his gadget works and the advantages and disadvantages of it, with the encouragement of his peers. Then it was the moment of truth... He put his alarm on the door, and we all waited in anticipation to see if it would work. He opened the door and a loud alarm came from the tiny gadget! The boys face lit up, and the whole room erupted with praise and cheer for his success! I found, that with the encouraging given, I could now understand where a lot of them get their confidence from that a lot of us from Culcheth lack. The overwhelming sense of community and love that you experience whenever in the presence of a South African student really makes you feel like you can be yourself and not to be afraid of saying something wrong or being a bit different, because deep down that doesn’t really matter!
The overall experience of going around the school today, and observing the different classes really made me appreciate how fortunate we are as a school, with all the opportunities that we have, but also how we, as students, could actually learn a lot from how the South Africans and how they treat school and the people in it! They are such an inspiration, and I can’t wait to find out even more about them as the week goes on!
We had our walk along Vilakazi street cut short due to an almighty downpour! We ended up in 'Just Badela' a traditional South African Braai grill/ butchers for our evening meal where we feasted on barbecued meats, shakalaka, pap and dumplings. The students cleared their plates and even went for seconds... whilst the cooks complained that we had brought the 'Manchester' weather with us!