Mholo

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    I feel awful that I haven’t been able to keep up with my blog as regularly as I had anticipated. I haven’t been able to carry my laptop around freely to and from work as I thought I would be able to. So, until the last few days I have been in a hostel and left my laptop there until I found a place to stay for the remainder of the winter!

    So, yipeeee, I finally found a place to stay! Well, obviously I had been staying somewhere up until this point! I was staying in a backpacker’s hostel called the Green Elephant! I stayed there for about a week and a half, but it was time to go! I met some amazing people there from all over the world and made great friends, but it’s a very busy place and my experience in South Africa is having such a profound impact on me that I need some quite space to absorb and reflect what I am experiencing.

    So, what am I experiencing? It’s a struggle to find the words to articulate my thoughts about Cape Town. It’s noted as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Lush vegetation, pristine beaches, towering palm trees and people of all shades. However, the paradox of the blatantly visible, deeply rooted disparity between wealth and poverty have perplexed, disturbed and torn my psyche in two. I am humbled and grateful to be able to spend time with the people from the Philippi townships. I have never met more glowing people. They have the most kind and generous spirits. The kids and teens are brilliant! The women are embracing and a joy to be around!

    Within the next few weeks I will be interviewing students in the Gap Year program.
    The Gap Year is one of the SAEP’s longest and most successful program. The Gap Year is a program for students who are either preparing to take the matric exam, or have already taken it and not received high enough grades to qualify for University. The matric exam is a national mandated exam that all students must take in order to qualify for University. Their scores determine what programs in University they are eligible for, if they get in at all. The SAEP helps to prepare students for the important matric exam through tutoring and mentor programs, formal classroom instruction and a host of extracurricular activities. The Gap Year helps students prepare for educational opportunities beyond the high school level.  See here for more information about education in South Africa: http://www.southafrica.info/about/education/education.htm

    I had the pleasure of talking to the Gap Year interns for an hour today about the importance of oral history interviews. They told me that “it’s traditional for their grandmothers to tell them about their past.” One young man said, “if we don’t know our past, then we won’t know about the mistakes that have been made.” Another young woman said, “Our parents fought very hard for us.” Many more profound thoughts were expressed as we got to know one another better! At the end of the lesson I gave one student my camera, had one student conduct a mock interview and another person was the interviewee. We all had a great time! The youth are teaching Xhosa! I love trying to learn the language…the?? Huh!!! No, on average the youth here speak about 3-5 languages! Amazing! Well, that’s all for today. I’m headed to the new place! It’s rainy in Cape Town, but I barely notice because I’m still floating above the clouds!

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    ~ by spirittrickey on June 3, 2009.

    One Response to “Mholo”

    1. Spirit, please continue to be blessed! I love reading your blog, it makes me so happy and takes me to another place, just for a few minutes I’m happy and free girl! I adore you’re experience! I have a question, when the students take that exam and they don’t receive the appropriate score, what do they do in the interim?

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