Last week, the whole school enjoyed learning about South Africa in our Cultural Diversity Week. Learning and celebrating the culture of this colourful country was brought to life as it was woven into many aspects of school over the week; Mr Hatch even created a South African menu! Here are some of the highlights.
Children worked in a carousel of mixed age groups each day to learn about South African stories, food, craft and creatures. We were pleased to welcome some of our South African parents into school, to share first-hand information about ways of life and notable people from South Africa. Each class engaged in a drumming and dance workshops - even the teachers had a go!
Pupils in Years 5&6 have read and reflected on parts of an essential modern classic “Journey to Jo’ burg” by Beverley Naidoo and Mr Kumar’s classes have produced descriptive writing inspired by the sights of some of South Africa’s famous landmarks.
Pupils have been learning about the life of Nelson Mandela and designing their own symbols of the diversity of SA.
Year 7 have looked at South Africa with its original Dutch Indian Company connection following through the the forming of the country in 1910 and finally we looked at the emergence of Apartheid through Gov legislation, the incidence at Sharpesville, the murder of Stephen Biko and its eventual end through internal and external progress and then the ballot box.
Workshop lessons with years 6-8 have been based on an old fable called ‘Why the Hare’s Nose is slit’. The pupils created their own creation fable and performed it focusing on an element of the world and why it exists the way it does. This included stories about how the Giraffe got its long neck and how fish got their gills.
The tables in the Art studio were moved to one side and all materials laid on the floor in a style mirroring that of the South African artist Esther Mahlanga. The children produced some inspiring designs. One lesson involved Year 4 working alongside our nursery children. It was a special learning time and what culture week is all about, drawing alongside each other and learning about each other.
In South African culture masks usually have a spiritual and religious meanings. They are used in ritual dances and social and religious events. A special status is attributed to the artists that create masks to those that wear them in ceremonies. Pupils have designed their own masks uniquely designed to represent their own personalities.
African Drumming Workshops
Djembé are fantastic for getting fast results! These African drums have sonorous tonal qualities and are relatively simple to play, meaning the children worked on hypnotising beats! Every pupil in each class had djembé for the entire session and were invited to respond to aural and visual cues. There was also an opportunity for some to play a performance piece in the South Africa Showcase assembly.
African Dance Workshops
Africa is a continent of many countries and potentially hundreds of dances around certain rhythms. The children’s dance workshop incorporated movements inspired by elements of everyday village life, for example, sowing seed or washing clothes. Within the workshops the African dance teacher took the pupils through the chosen dance, explaining its meaning and significance along the way.
South African Showcase Assembly
The whole school gathered at 2.15pm today for a special South African themed assembly to showcase some of the learning activities that have taken place this week. Children were keen to share what they had experience and learnt about music, dance, drama, literature and history of South Africa. The Middle, Senior and Chamber choir performed three African themes anthems and we were treated to some wonderful African dance and drumming performances. We have learnt so much this week reflecting the diversity of the Rainbow Nation and we captured the spirit of all that is amazing about South Africa and her people.