Our American friends Tracy and Coop recently brought us some wonderful “toiletry kits” for youth who lack these essential items. The kits include a bar of soap, facecloth, toothbrush, and toothpaste, and are an improvement on the loose bars of soap and toothpaste Jim used to carry in the trunk (boot) of his car!
To live in South Africa, you must learn to live with the ambiguity of the place. If you can’t cope with ambiguity, I recommend Canada or Australia. (The Long View: Getting Beyond the Drama of South Africa’s Headlines, J.P. Landman)
Tyler is 15 attends grade 8. When Jim met him he discovered that Tyler was struggling to read and words and sentences seemed to appear in duplicate. Jim arranged for Tyler to have an eye examination (one hour long!) by a community-minded optometrist and Rotary member. Not surprisingly, Tyler needed glasses and needs to do daily eye exercises to improve his eye control. The examination and glasses were provided free of of charge.
Concordia High School is the newest school in the township. It opened in January 2012 and caters to both black and coloured students. English is the language of instruction for black learners, and Afrikaans is the language of instruction for Coloured learners. The black students study their home language ( isiXhosa) as the 2nd language requirement, while the coloured students take English.
Concordia is the school where Jim has been working with youth involved in 3 gangs. Recently, Jim took 3 boys from one of the gangs to meet with Sergeant Lumkwana of the South African Police. The meeting went very well. The following day, Sergeant Lumkwana came to the school such that he and Jim could simultaneously meet with 17 members of 2 gangs.
While progress is being made with the gangster boys, one boy was badly beaten last Saturday and another was stabbed once on the way home from school 2 days ago. However, there have been no further fights or stabbings on the school premises. The reason we are working with the boys is because this issue has become a significant distraction for many of the teachers, school administrators, and responsible students. Furthermore, many of the gangster boys also want the violence to end.
The boys finished their end of term exams a few days ago and now enjoy a 10 day vacation from school. Hopefully their tutor, Miss Janet, will also take a little break.
Clarke LOVES running on the beach and in and out of the ocean. He says “I’m not returning to Canada. I’m staying in South Africa”.
To learn more about the some of the racial issues impacting South Africa, watch this informative video entitled: I’m Not Black, I’m Coloured – Identity Crisis at the Cape of Good Hope (2009)
Video link: https://vimeo.com/23617382
Janet, Jim, & Clarke