Saturday, 14 August 2010

African Convention of Principals: Maseru, August 2010

On reflecting on 2010, I realize again that I have been privileged to attend amazing conferences this year.

The most personally fulfilling was the one I attended in Maseru. The African Convention of Principals was held in Maseru in August, and was attended by principals from Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa.

Although academic for four days, the Wednesday in the middle was an opportunity for principals to share a day out together, visiting places of interest around Lesotho. Principals went to Katse and Mohale dams from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, some went to Thaba Bosiu, the historical place of birth of the Basotho, Kome Caves, and I went to Semonkong and the Maletsunyane Falls, the highest falls in southern Africa.

What a long journey and a wonderful personal experience! We travelled for four and a half hours in a full sixty seater bus, alighted in a rural village and blindly made our way into the mountains on foot for an hour of fast walking to find the falls. The return journey was slightly faster and after leaving in the very early morning, we returned to Maseru in the dark.

The personal connections between very different people were initiated. Principals from foreign African countries ended up sitting next to each other for hours on end, or ended up walking with someone who, in real life, they would never have met. I walked through rural Lesotho, a lone white woman, deep in conversation with two Basotho principals and surrounded by Basotho people young and old, all who greeted me in Sesotho, as a fellow human being. I was unaware of my difference until a young child stopped, stared and burst out laughing. Only then did I realize that, yes, I had a white skin, and that the child probably had never seen someone like me!

I returned to Maseru, and then to Cape Town, humbled by my experience, and with the thought, again, that our Pinelands North pupils are so privileged to be at a school like ours, in South Africa in 2010. Walk through our doors – you will love what you see and feel!