It’s been a flurry to term-end. So many happenings and much excitement with the Junior Primary wrapping up the final week with their fabulous Showcase. It has been an incredibly productive time and a big shout-out to our teachers who have been so busy not only here but in our work in the greater community. The effort, the ideas and the willingness has been extraordinary and we are delighted to work with such a dedicated team.
Khanyisela Workshop at Royal Drakensberg Primary School – Idah Radebe
The Khanyisela Project supports a group of Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in the Amazizi community. The teachers who work at these crèche’s are invited to a workshop held at Royal Drakensberg Primary School(RDPS) hosted and presented by the RDPS teachers. On Saturday the 21 of August 2021 we had the second workshop of the year. Three taxis arrived to deliver the 48 enthusiastic ladies who were ready to see what the day had in store for them.
The RDPS teachers had arranged all the activities. The theme was a cost effective teaching approach, using nature and items we would usually throw away to make resources and be the centre of our teaching. An introduction was done and we began the day’s activity with some animal inspired stretching to wake up both our bodies and our brains. This was such fun for all involved and set the tone for the rest of the morning.
The first station was the exploration of clay which was sourced from the village and easily accessible to the ECD’s. The ladies were given a mat where they had to use the clay to make shapes, numbers and simple pictures. They were then given some to show their creativity in the “Create Your Own Clay Masterpiece” activity.
The second station was a ball skills and gross motor development station. This included a cup made from a 2L milk bottle used to throw and catch a tennis ball. The next part of this station was weaving with toilet rolls and painting with water on the concrete. These activities reinforced our aim of showing the ladies how it doesn’t have to cost money for activities to be effective.
The third station was a purely nature based leaf area where the ladies enjoyed playing with the leaves before selecting the best ones for leaf rubbing and tracing. The leaves were used as the base for an art project as well as a sorting station.
The last station was an auditory and movement Scavenger Hunt where the ladies explored the school, listening to the sounds nature whilst getting their bodies moving with balance beams and rhythm exercises.
The teachers were so excited at the end of the day with many of them mentioning how they could use what they have learnt at their crèches. With excitement still fresh in the air the ladies received the resources from the day and climbed onto the taxis after another successful morning at RDPS.
The Pre School Farming Journey – Nikiwe Ngcobo
This term’s theme in the pre-school was all about farming. Our aim is to teach the little ones that not only does a farm have animals but it also consists of plants that need to be taken care of too.
Our first stop of the farming journey began at Mkhulu Peter’s garden where we visited the chickens. It was a lovely surprise for the children as they got to learn how chickens breed, how and what they are fed and where they coop themselves every evening.
We continued our farming journey when we went to The Cavern to see the horses where we also learnt how and what they are fed. It was a bit challenging to get the children to feed the horses as some were scared they might get kicked, but we taught them that “only the brave achieve and experience great things” which was the way of motivating the little ones to give it a try.
Our third stop of our journey was to Mkhulu Johan’s cattle farm where the children saw cows with their calves. The children were also shown and taught about the pecan nut trees. The children really enjoyed riding on the mini tractor on the farm. It sparked their imagination by thinking that they could drive it. It was a lot of fun! A big thank you to Mkhulu Johan and Gogo Bettsie for the biscuits and juice they had prepared for the children and teachers after a long day at their farm.
Our last stop on this journey took place at the Van Vuuren farm, where children saw sheep and their lambs, geese, turkeys and chickens. They learned that the animals also have a parent who looks after their young ones even in hard times, when they saw a sick sheep suckling her lamb. They were also treated to cake and a very exciting treasure hunt around the farm while the teachers enjoyed a lovely cup of coffee. Thank you very much Gogo Sherry.
After this incredible journey we spoke about what they loved at the farms and made animal sounds in class to remind us once again about farming and how important it is to all of us.
Behind the curtains of The Royal Drakensberg Showcase – Britt Houghting
Each year the Primary School learners present a play for their family and friends. It is an eagerly anticipated event in the calendar. Due to Covid-19, the appearance of this play has changed but the excitement and passion that the learners share on stage remains the same.
This year, each grade worked tirelessly to prepare a special piece to share on the stage.
The Grade 1s practiced their choral verse skills and presented a lovely poem with dogs, dads and cars. They developed their skills and can now project their voices very well. It brought joy to the audience to see them sharing their poem and dancing with enthusiasm on the stage.
The Grade 2s prepared and practiced a comical poem about zebras. They embraced their poem and enjoyed the laughter that bubbled up from the audience. They made it very clear that thinking about a zebra can make one’s imagination run wild. They also shared a lovely dance with the audience and showed off their Kung Fu skills.
As it was their last performance with RDPS, the Grade 3s practiced and presented a lovely skit about a sneaky hare. Their skit was based on an African tale where a hare tricks some of the animals into a game of tug-of-war. Each learner had a special part to play and embraced these roles exceptionally well. They stepped out of their comfort zones to share the story with us. We are extremely proud of them all.
In April 2021, we were devastated by the loss of one of our Grade 3 learners, Nkanyezi Ndaba. The rest of his class performed a dance to the Mango Groove song, Special Star as a tribute to Nkanyezi. He will always be our star and this is the meaning of his name.
The showcase ended with a bang. The learners all performed a lovely dance about waving your own flag. Much to the surprise of the audience, we encouraged them all to join is as we ended with the well-known Macarena.
We are also extremely proud of our learners for performing their pieces over two nights so that more friends and family could enjoy it with us. Both performances were spectacular and we commend all our learners for their hard work, commitment and passion that they put into the showcase. It is so inspiring to see our learners have the courage to go up on stage and perform in front of an audience.
We would like to thank the teachers for assisting with the preparation and organisation of the event. We are so grateful to the Cavern Resort for not only hosting this special event but also for giving the learners a delicious dinner and for setting out a lovely tea for the audience.
We look forward to preparing for the next showcase in 2022.
Interhouse Athletics Day – Melanie Van Zyl
Throughout the term the RDP learners have worked extremely, hard pushing themselves every week to improve on their cross-country times. As their names moved to the top of the board, they tried harder and harder each week. Our champion, Slindokuhle, who ran five laps in just over 50 minutes walked away with his gold medal and scored 20 points for the Bushbucks.
We ended a very eventful third term with an incredibly fun filled and exciting day at RDPS with our interhouse athletics. The learners were all dressed in their house colours, Bushbucks in red and Duikers in yellow. Each class did four different races including three legged races, egg and spoon races and motorbikes and even dress up races. There were many laughs, chants and songs from the side-lines. The event ended with a tug of war between the two teams and a very exciting teacher tug of war and the main event – the parents’ races. The Duikers walked away with the trophy. The Bushbucks did not walk away empty handed as they won the Spirit trophy. Well done, Duikers!
The learners were spoilt by an alumnus who brought them biscuits after all their running around – thank you Noah! Thank you to the parents who were able to be on the side-lines to support their brilliant children.
Teacher corner with Mike Greeff – Cait Gordon
We welcomed Mike as our head of school at the beginning of this term. I spent some time chatting to him and here are few responses that will help us to get to know him a little better.
1. What is your favourite childhood memory?
Hot summer’s day water fights with my Mom and Dad, sisters and brother on the front lawn and all finishing up drenched, tucking into cold watermelon.
2. How did you find your way to RDPS?
This should be an easy question and it isn’t! I wasn’t looking yet the post on the internet found me, I applied, we met and here I am. When I drove into the valley for the first time, I did know that this was right; wonderful people, natural beauty, meaningful involvement and God’s presence. I am delighted to be here.
3. What is your favourite number?
The whole world loves 7 and I do too but my favourite number is 84, you’ll have to work out why.
4. If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?
To be able to make myself invisible. Why? Wow – imagine the fun you could have being invisible.
5. What is your most prized possession and why?
A piece of art given to my Dad when he had completed forty years of service with his employer. He had to work hard as a diamond cutter and it reminds me of his dedication and love for his family that he worked so diligently for all of his adult life. I inherited it and it stays with me all the time.
6. Where would we find you on the weekend?
If I had my way, I would be in the bush, with no electricity and no cell phone reception, with Fiona, my wife, as company.
7. What song would you choose to play every time you entered a room?
‘Stairway to Heaven’ by Led Zeppelin. Now there’s a song and a group to give my age away!
Or, I have to admit, ‘Dance Monkey’ by Tones and I.
And, can I have one more, ‘Woods” by Majozi.
And failing that, OK, I’ll stop at three.
8. If you could be an animal, what would it be and why?
I think I’m expected to say a lion or a leopard or an elephant but it has to be a giraffe. They are strong but gentle, fast but dignified, uniquely beautiful and then just think of that view! A giraffe is such a distinctly African animal. And if I can’t be a giraffe I would be happy as one of my five dogs.
9. What is your favourite food?
Pizza! And my second most favourite food is pizza and in third place is pizza.
10. Where would your dream holiday be?
And we end with the easiest question! My dream holiday would be in the Kruger National Park (see question 6 above). The Kruger National Park is a calming, spirit-filled place that no other country can hope to copy. It is a national pride and my own very happy place.
A Final Word
Last but certainly not least we welcome Mike Greeff. Mike is our Head of School and Khanyisela Project Coordinator. What a lovely introduction from Cait and some wonderful insight into Mkulu Mike who has already made significant advancements in our combined efforts to grow our community. We truly are living out our vision;
Transforming rural communities through quality education initiatives.
As we partner we create greater possibilities for our community and most importantly for the children. They remain our hope for a brighter future. They are shining lights and their potential is just waiting to be sparked.
To all our supporters, near and far, thank you for continuing to motivate us in this essential work. We look forward to term 4, which will be a rapid downhill run to Christmas!
Our best wishes always,
Megan & Loretta