The South African Connection

mandela.jpg (2) As the world mourns the loss of Nelson Mandela and we all take time to reflect on this great man’s achievements, there is an even closer connection for me and a more personal impact. For you see:-

  • my daughter-in-law is Sth African
  • two of my grandchildren are Sth African
  • my oldest son lives in Johannesburg Sth Africa with his family.

One of the first places we visited on our first visit to Johannesburg was that of Soweto. The advice was to take a guided tour and one of the highlights of the tour was stepping through the home that was Mandela’s. When visiting Cape Town that same year it was with some disappointment to learn that all tours to Robin Island, where Mandela was imprisoned for so many years, were fully booked. Coming from a developed country to a third world country always adds an element of shock. It is heart breaking to see the conditions that many still live in, in this beautiful and stunning country. Although the country has a long way to  go in providing equal opportunity, erasing racism, reducing sheer volumes of poverty and unemployment; and overcoming corruption, the process is in place due to the great influence and example set by Mandela and the end of apartheid. It means that my grandchildren will mix with, attend school and make friends with black, white and coloured people. They will continue to build on the legacy that Mandela has provided for them and ensure that Sth Africa becomes as beautiful in nature as it is in its looks!

Nelson also emphasised the role that education can have and as such, we as  teachers can play a big role here as well. Wecan connect them globally. allow them to learn from and with each other, sharing their backgrounds, helping them understand each others cultures and beliefs. Misunderstanding leads to racism and conflict. Education can overcome this.

Thank you Nelson Mandela.

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