International Students Visit Local Schools for Africa Day

UKZN international students visited local schools in celebration of Africa Day.

International Students Visit Local Schools for Africa Day

International students at UKZN visited local schools, Isibonelo High School in KwaMashu, north of Durban and Sobantu Secondary School in Pietermaritzburg to celebrate Africa Day in a cultural exchange event organised by the University’s International Student Office.

Welcoming the students to the school, Isibonelo High School principal Mr Sithembiso Ntuli said he was excited and honoured by the UKZN visit to celebrate Africa. He acknowledged the students from various African countries, guests, and representatives of ward councillors for their presence and continuing to work with the school.

Head of the Student International Office, Ms Nombuso Mtshali, said the visit aimed to introduce UKZN international students to local schools, especially those in the townships and rural areas. She said there is a perception that students do not want to visit such areas and UKZN is working hard to close the gap and celebrate such events together as Africans.

Mtshali added the event was not only a celebration but an opportunity for the learners to learn more about their continent.

Learners presented and performed several activities for the visitors, including poems, plays, songs, and traditional dances from different parts of Africa. UKZN students also shared their countries’ history, poetry and dance.

Ms Adeyiga Abisoye and Mr Musa Olona from Nigeria performed an ensemble showcasing Yoruba attire, poetry and song, while Kenyan students Mr Gilbert Langat, Mr Gilbert Machani and Ms Caren Nyapola shared facts about their country, how to greet in Kiswahili and their traditional dance.

Media Studies PhD student, Langat called for unity and for Africans to fight with their brains and gain knowledge rather than waging war with one another. He said he really enjoyed visiting the school as it felt like home with the cultural exchange of presentations, music and dance.

Ms Magdalene Koech from Kenya said she was privileged to celebrate Africa Day by understanding different cultures, especially the Zulu culture, while Mr Arnold Gideon Irangi said the highlight of the visit was the play on gender-based violence performed by learners from Sobantu High School.

Representing the KwaMashu ward counsellor, Mr Bongani Dlamini thanked the school and the University for the collaboration and expressed the hope that this would create opportunities for the learners to study at UKZN. He urged the students and learners to continue to take pride in being African, to preserve resources so they benefit future generations and to take up the baton from those who came before.

Sobantu High School learner Ms Sinenhlanhla Gcabashe said the celebration taught her that “united we stand, divided we fall” and that Africans should unite and not discriminate against one another.

Grade 8 learner, Mr Kwazi Mlambo from Isibonelo High School, said the lesson he took from all the presentations and talks was that ‘we are all equal and we should never look down on other people.’

Words: Sithembile Shabangu

Photographs: Sethu Dlamini