We are always wary when venturing into South Africa, especially Johannesburg. The drive from the airport acts as a litmus test for the current state of the slums and the development in the city.
We have worked across South Africa for many years and we love to be immersed in the schools and communities there. Our experience with the Makuleke, a Tsonga tribe, is indelible. In 1969 they were forcibly removed from their homes by the apartheid government and their land was incorporated into Kruger National Park. While the park is known for its beauty, incredible animals, bird life and 1000s of baobab trees that may well come alive each twilight to dance, it cannot be forgotten that the Makuleke no longer live on their land.
Our partners are the key to our success, with Monash South Africa (MSA) working with us in the Zandspruit Primary School and other schools in Gauteng in Johannesburg. Children in the Wilderness (CITW) teach the children from the Makuleke community, and Spell It South Africa brings the South African collections of the African Children’s Stories to life.
MSA and Ducere worked together in township areas in the West Rand, aiming to improve literacy in the public school sector. Since this work began, two collections have been published – one from the students at Zandspruit Primary School and the second one based on Nelson Mandela’s Legacy, which was launched just before Mandela Day in July 2016.
South African children know the importance of learning, recognising the influence of their President, the hero Nelson Mandela, who made schooling accessible to everyone for the first time. Nasreen Ismail recognised the greatness of Mandela when she wrote,
‘He believed that all children deserved to get an education regardless of their skin colour’.