Archive for the ‘Rhini’ tag
- The Makana Municipality has agreed to sponsor Noluthando Hall for the Peace Day Celebration = song competition. Thank you to the Special Programmes Unit!
- Erika Wertlen, Jared Lang, Keagan Prince and Roderick Zipp have agreed to be the judges for the song competition. Thank you very much for your involvement and interest!
- There will be special guests artists who are going to perform one or a few songs: Inyaniso, Keagan Prince and Roderick Zipp! We are very much looking forward to your performance!
- Corinne Cooper and the Village Scribe Association will provide the prizes for the winners: a professional recording of the best song combined with a music music video on YouTube, and for the best rapper and singer an Inyaniso CD and a pair of head phones.
- A short film about the awareNet Peace Day Project will be screened at the official Peace One Day Concert at the O2 Arena in London, UK.
- There will be articles about this event in the Grocott’s Mail issue on the 20/09/11 and after the show.
- Y4Y Radio Grahamstown designated two shows to our music event. Listen to us on both Thursdays, 15/09/11 and 22/09/11 at 5pm!
The VSA and a lot of amazing partners become serious now about the awareNet theme Song Project. You probably wonder what it’s all about. Let me explain. It’s going to be an amazing story for Peace Day, I hope.
It all started with the idea that awareNet needs a song for the learners and all partners to sing, to identify, to unify and to let everyone feel the strength. Music is an expression of life. Gabriel Spilkin kindly offered to produce a song in a style that was determined by the awareNet users: We added a poll to awareNet. At the moment it looks like HipHop, RnB and House are the favourites. Thank you for donating your professional work, Gabriel!
The local band Inyaniso (on YouTube) kindly offered to train kids from four schools (Mahlasela PSS, Nyaluza SS, Mary Waters HS and VGHS) how to sing and rap. Our first session took place yesterday at Mahlasela PSS and the artists Zukani, Melikhaya, Sivuyile and Lunga did wonders to the faces and the bodies of the learners. Thank you for your spirit! From being scared and shy they slowly took a liking in the idea and started tapping their feet and quickly trying to learn the words. Smiles! The best thing that could happen was that the equipment didn’t work, so we had to listen to a song by Inyaniso from their car’s loudspeakers. Classic! And can you believe it: One of the learners was already playing the exact song from his phone even though it’s not even published yet! How is that?! - These kids are amazingly connected and just naturally using technology as part of their life.
We are also very grateful to Corinne Cooper, owner of SonicArtStudio and lecturer of Sound Technology at Rhodes University. She offered to work with the kids on the song and to record them after they have shown their performance on stage on Peace Day. This is absolutely fantastic. The VSA is very much looking forward to having a song that can be played and sung online and offline. We will make sure that people will listen to it not only in Africa, but overseas and in connection with the aware Yet? Campaign.
What I currently work on is to find a suitable hall for the music event on Peace Day and to find some form of sponsorship to pay for the rent, the music equipment, the advertising and some material. If you think this is a good project and this is worth a donation, please contact us. I will keep you updated about the project. Watch this space and follow us on facebook and twitter!
Movie night on Youth Day: “Alive with Possibility” for awareNet users – Call for donations! 1 comment
The VSA has recently started a partnership with Symphonia, an Organisational Change practice. They have sent us this most exciting documentary called “Alive with Possibility” featuring world renowned leadership experts Ben & Roz Zander, endorsed by Desmond Tutu and Wendy Ackerman. We are going to make this documentary available for all awareNet users, introducing it during a movie night, followed by an awareNet session.
“The purpose of this documentary is to remind South Africans that this is indeed a country that is alive with possibility. We sometimes forget this, as we are bombarded by downward spiral stories wherever we go. The documentary reminds us that it is the people of South Africa that makes this such a special place. We can choose moment by moment whether we are going to continue to focus on what is NOT working (and get more depressed and disillusioned) or we can focus on what is working and enroll others in a conversation of possibility.” (Symphonia)
We think that this documentary is indeed very special and will help motivating young people in finding their way of life with a positive spin. We are currently organising a movie night on Youth Day (16/06/11) at Mary Waters High School in Grahamstown, followed by an awareNet session, during which all spectators will document their thoughts and emotions that arose during the show in a collaborative project. The documentary and the project will be available online for all other users afterwards for comments and possible further activities.
Symphonia generously provides the documentary for free and the VSA provides equipment and assistance during the show. The Mary Waters High School opens its doors of the show room and the computer lab during a public holiday. Now, we call on you to make a small donation to finance transport and snacks&cool drinks for 30 learners on the day. Altogether, we don’t need more than about R1000. Please, help us and contact us now (leave a comment or send an email or make an anonymous donation).
Thank you very much!
There is this sad, recurring trend of Grahamstown township schools being threatened with closure. This is even more unfortunate when you consider that the town holds a very important role in South African Black education. Nathaniel Nyaluza High School and Andrew Moyakhe Primary School are among the oldest schools in the Eastern Cape.
It is also interesting to note that, with the exception of Nombulelo Secondary School, township schools are named after someone who must have been very important in the community at some point. Makana Primary School, for example, is named after a very influencial Xhosa seer of the 19th century.
Andrew Moyakhe Primary School, Benjamin Mahlasela Secondary School and Makana Primary School might close down in the not so distant future because they fail to attract learners. Perhaps it’s just normal evolution, but the schools have important sentimental value.
Mary Waters Hoerskool was dependent on temporary teachers and now those teachers have moved on. Although the school is not threatened with closure, it is sad to note that it is struggling just because of the negligance of the DoE (Department of Education).
Many of us, including me, do not know the history behind the names these schools are named after. The first time I took an interest in these names was when I started working for the VSA and had to go to the schools regularly. Maybe if we knew, we would play a more active role in helping with their upkeep.
What is the point of all this? Just that these are not just our childrens’ schools but most of us – those who grew up in the town – studied in these schools too. How about working together towards documenting their history and that of their namesakes?
The VSA started a great collaboration with Rhodes’ Community Engagement. CE organised 10 volunteers who are going to work with us for the year 2011. We are very happy to welcome such a large group of motivated, young and active students. Thank you very much for your interest!
The volunteers are going to join Thozi, Rhini’s community coordinator, into the awareNet classes at the various schools in Rhini to work together with the learners and assist Thozi in his work, ie. teaching. All of them are experienced Internet users and professional social networkers who cannot wait to get into contact – personally and electronically – with all those learners who have very little experience in this field.
We believe that they will be a great inspiration for them (eg. by blogging about their own experiences and personal views on awareNet) and that they will motivate them to become more innovative and self-confident in the awareNet network. We hope that, together, they can work on important projects that will be published in Upstart for a greater audience, and that the learners will start discussing their opinions, issues and concerns more openly with increasing trust in the young volunteers – something that is usually missing in the South African traditional way of teaching.
The VSA has some exciting new developments to report:
- Anna Wertlen is currently writing a proposal to the Makana Municipality for the usage of a large building in Joza-Rhini. Several stakeholders are interested to move into the building to strengthen and widen partnerships to serve the community, eg. RLabs, the Centre for Social Development, The Makana Science Alliance, the Mobile Science Lab and Upstart, except from the VSA apparently. This development is very exciting and promising. The Makana Science Alliance also showed interest in placing science content onto awareNet and offering online teaching.
- Our proposal to the UK Department of International Development for academic research on and implementation of the Village Scribe Project made it onto the short list. Final decisions are expected in April.
- Ron Wertlen is currently working on a study into the Potential to Utilize Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to Promote Inclusion, Public Participation and Accountability in Local Governance in South Africa. This feeds us a lot of useful information and opens up future possibilities for eKhaya ICT.
- Manuela Walsdorf-Maul, a lecturer of the Technical University, is visiting the Eastern Cape tomorrow to explore possibilities for a collaboration with the VSA and Bulungula Incubator to build additional classrooms for the No ofisi School in Nqileni.
- We are working on an awareNet spin-off, it’s a commercial product, it is cool and builds on perhaps 3 or 4 key insights. These are things we knew, and that loads of visitors to the projects reaffirmed by saying, “Wouldn’t is be groovy if we could do that?” Well, finally, it will be possible. More news before the end of 2011.
- The VSA is a partner of Rhodes University International School. Together, we offer a course to students from USA and Italy called Environment, Development, Sustainability in (South) Africa, whereby the VSA offers the elective ICT4D with the possibility to visit Rhini and Bulungula. Mid April we will know how many students will attend.
- Ron Wertlen submitted a solicited proposal to USAASA. The agency is currently ramping up their access intiatives, including the broader themes of training and software, but mainly pure access to communication signals. Being one of their focus regions, the Eastern Cape is hopeful of receiving USAASA support, and we are hoping that some of our initiatives, will be funded. We’ll know soon if our proposal has been accepted.
- We handed in our application for registration as a South African non-profit organisation and are waiting to be accepted. This will give us the possibility to apply for volunteer work from the German Weltwärts Programme and Rhodes University Community Engagement.
Thozi Ngeju works for the VSA and is the community coordinator for the Grahamstown-Rhini region.
He teaches awareNet to the learners at various different schools in the township.
(Click here to find out more about Thozi.)
"So far January has been slow because of the holiday. However, I’d like
to note that this should be a very busy months, in terms of preparation. I need to contact the Grahamstown schools that I’d worked with already – Nathaniel Nyaluza High School, Mary Waters Hoer Skool, Benjamin Mahlasela Secondary School, Fikizolo Primary School, C.M Vellem Primary School, Ntsika Secondary School, T.E.M Mrwetyana Secondary School and Nombulelo Secondary School. It would be nice to carry on from where the learners and I had left off. There were those schools that I did not work with but who had shown an interest (Ntaba Maria Primary School, Archie Mbolekwa Higher Primary School and George Dickerson Primary School; and those (D.D Siwisa Primary School) who, apparently, had computers but needed to find and set them up in some room and get Internet connection. I have to find out the progress on those. Besides these, I have been working on the South African Quotations project on awareNet that I don’t think I’ll ever finish because there are so many books, periodicals, video clips and cassette tapes (with the help of the Cory Library) that I need to browse through to say I went through sufficient data for the project to deserve its title. I also tried to start another project on awareNet about the township taverns in Grahamstown. For the uninitiated, the definition of a tavern in the townships is “a place where people can have a good time, get drunk and listen to loud music from a jukebox”. But I met there too many former classmates that have lost a sense of direction that it depressed me so much I’m not sure if I want to work on the project anymore."