The balls got bigger…this was always this biggest indication that winter was surely on its way. It wasn’t because of the cold, but rather the heat which determined the size and strength. As the cold months approached us, small and hard cricket balls turned into softer, inflated soccer balls as football became the major sport played at every primary school around South Africa.
It had been years since I last had thought about this, yet when I drove into Sam Nzima Primary School, in the surrounding community of Lilydale, the memories came rushing back. We approached to throngs of young learners chasing around, shooting balls and scoring goals on the temperamentally grassy pitch.
This post is not about football as I merely wanted to draw the comparison to a school which was last featured playing cricket on this blog. In between that time, a lot has changed for the better at Sam Nzima School.
As Sam Nzima is one of the primary schools which receives assistance from the Londolozi Learning Centre it is both reassuring and inspiring to see that the long term benefits of staff and guest’s time, efforts and donations are really gaining momentum. Each time that I visit the school, there seems to be a new hive of activity, development and engagement from every person involved.
The young boys throng around in their masses, chasing after a football, imitating their favorite soccer heroes. Young girls are caught up in dancing lessons representing their heritage. Teachers are always working with and developing a new individual to ensure they do not get left behind. A water pump has been installed which provides water for the vegetable gardens that are being grown at the school.
New buildings that were built by the parents of the learners have truly become classrooms. Colour, shapes, maps and aids now adorn the walls, surrounding the packed room of young people who are seizing the opportunity that is being presented to them. The school is living, breathing and rapidly moving forward into the future.
To experience how the school is improving is to be inspired. A report, blog post and even video footage is enlightening to see, however the true reality lies in experiencing it for yourself. It is a pulse that has started beating. Amidst the sumptuous cuisine, stunning wildlife and luxurious rooms that are offered at Londolozi, lies the more subtle aspects of a true African experience – the people….and to see these young learners is to see the real future of South Africa.
Written, filmed and photographed by: Rich Laburn