Celebrating Ubuntu on Mandela Day 2012
Mandela Day is a call to people everywhere to do good deeds that motivate change within their communities, not just on Nelson Mandela’s birthday.
Inspired to take action and encourage change within his environment, a senior educator from Nizamia School in Pietermaritzburg took learners on a field trip to rural schools in the area to celebrate the legacy of Ubuntu on Mandela Day 2012.
Below is a report written by the educator, Mohamed Saeed, on how this Mandela Day initiative helped increase learner awareness and grew real interaction and sharing between learners:
Learners were awed by the simplicity of schooling in rural areas. The lack of even the basics astounded them – the scarcity of furniture, ill equipped classrooms, very basic seating arrangements, chickens running around, no tiles on the floor, the writing on the school walls, and the informal and approachable style of the principal dressed in his colourful Zulu outfit.
Moreover, learners were shocked to learn that learners at the rural school walk great distances to school and have to make do with little food doled out in the smallest of portions by the cook. Some even attend school bare foot.
This educational trip had a huge motivational effect on the learners. It increased their knowledge, they could visualise and humanise social issues. Through this intervention I found that learners had a better understanding of social issues.
Personally, this field trip was also a learning experience for me as it reinforced in me Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. I wondered how these learners could learn when their basic needs such as food, water and clothing are not sufficiently met.
Overall the exercise proved to be really successful: Learners from my school have reported that they understood what true poverty and life in the rural area is all about after having visited the rural school.