Day 4: Monday was the day we’d all been waiting for. We were all really excited, driving up to the school, to meet the rest of the staff and the pupils. Although, we were nervous too as this was a new experience for everyone, except Mamma G of course. However, upon arrival, it was clear that we didn’t need to be nervous. The school had such a welcoming atmosphere, with pupils,or ‘learners’ as they are known here, greeting us with handshakes and smiles. We were taken straight to the headteacher’s office and were introduced to the man himself- Mr Khathi. He made sure we felt at ease and took us to join the school’s assembly, which takes place outside in the sunshine. Here we were introduced to everyone and this is where Jill’s new nickname was created (lots of the pupils mistook her name for ‘Jail.’) From then on, we spent the day visiting various classes answering questions about Scottish life and asking questions about life in South Africa. It was really interesting to hear about some of the similarities the teenagers here have with teens at home, as well as the differences. For example, we discovered that the music tastes here are roughly the same as they are at home. Most of the girls flutter over Justin Bieber and Niki Minaj whilst the boys were rapping us verses from Lil Wayne and Jay-z. They even managed to persuade us to sing a few lines from Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’- the tone deaf version! This is something we would probably never do at home but the fact that the children have no inhibitions makes you feel comfortable and gave us more confidence to sing along with them. Amy even demonstrated some Scottish dancing in front of the classes in exchange for some lessons on Zulu moves. However, Mrs G was not willing to allow these lessons to take place in the pupils’ homes. Her response to one boy’s question, ‘Amy could you come to my house and teach me how to dance?’ was ‘NO HOME VISITS!’ *See Mrs G’s rules. Case closed, although it did not stop another boy from asking us ‘Are you taken or available?’ Don’t worry- Mamma G was on the scene! Other than that, lots of the pupils were surprised by our school uniform. Their school colour is burgundy and all of the girls must have their hair tightly braided. They were amazed that you can wear your hair down in Scotland.
By lunchtime we had made some friends who kindly gave us a tour of their school. They took us down the hill to “Pola shopping centre”- their tuck shop and we really enjoyed spending time with the other pupils and learning about their school life throughout the rest of the day.
We heard the quote above in the car on the way to school that morning. After spending a day at Ikusasalethu High School we realised the truth in it. It was clear that the pupils were happy to be in school and they appreciate all the opportunities education can bring them.