Two decades ago, on Wednesday, 27 April 1994, South Africans from all backgrounds, creeds and races lined up at voting stations across the country to make their mark on a ballot in the country’s very first democratic general elections. Freedom Day celebrates freedom and commemorates these first post-apartheid elections. However one big question that is currently rooming the minds of South Africans and their admirers is whether or not there is actual freedom amidst abject poverty, the high unemployment rate as well as the never ending violence and crime. For the South Africans youth born after 1994, the ‘born-frees’, their country is a very different place to the one where their parents grew up in. But the question that still remains is, are our youth especially those coming from the disadvantaged communities fully aware of the significance and the dynamics behind South Africa being the ‘Rainbow Nation?’
To grapple more on this question, on the 30th of April Africa Unite in partnership with the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) hosted an inter-high school quiz with 8 high schools from the Western Cape. The quiz was held at Zonnebloem Nest Senior School and the theme of the day was, ‘My South Africa My Pride.’ Three participants each between grade 8 and 10 were selected from the 8 contesting schools.
Among these schools four are part of the Africa Unite School Clubs and four others were selected from the surrounding townships.
The schools were as follows:
– Bloekombos High School – Kraaifontein
– Hector Peterson High School – Kraaifontein
– Masibambane Secondary School – Kraaifontein
– Phakama High School – Philippi
– Salt River High School – Salt River
– Simunye High School – Delft
– Spes Bona High School – Athlone
– Zonnebloem Nest Senior School – Zonnebloem
The above schools were all asked 10 questions each which were largely focusing on South Africa’s history, politics, sports, economy and social dynamics.
Some of the questions asked where on the recent xenophobic attacks, the leadership of South Africa, the role and responsibilities of different government departments and other pre- and post-apartheid questions. The learners were really excited and displayed a high level of knowledge which culminated into a stiff competition as most of them were well prepared.
Midway through the quiz Phakama High School was leading; however Zonnebloem Nest Senior School finished strongly and clinched the first price with 25 points.
The rest of the winners were as follows:
• Phakama High – 21 points
• Masibambane Secondary School – 20 points
• Simunye High – 17 points
• Hector Peterson High – 16 points
• Spes Bona – 16 points
• Salt River High – 15 points
• Bloekombos High – 12 points.
Our guest of the day from Government Communication and Information System, Mr Sikelele, spoke in length and he encouraged the learners to be proud of their country and its legacy as it is one of the main reasons why South Africa celebrates Freedom Day today. He also emphasised that this freedom did not come easily as we were supported by our fellow African countries. Mr Sikelele used this platform to warn the learners on the dangers of the current wave of xenophobia which has crippled the country. The learners were mandated to take this message to their respective schools in order to create schools that are xenophobia free- because “No organisation can develop in isolation: it shapes its environment and itself shaped in turn: We remain in touch with our own past, intimately involved in the South Africa of the present and conscious of our responsibilities to its future.”
He also mentioned that he was amazed by the level of knowledge which some learners had and it would be better if this kind of an educative event could be held regularly with more schools.
He then handed over trophies and medals to the top three winning schools.
Africa Unite would like to thank all the participating schools who contributed in making this day a success as well as the Government Communication and Information System for generously providing the trophies for the learners.
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