After the Youth Day long week-end, Westerford High School held a ‘Madiba Week’.

Youth Day, on 16 June, marked the 41-year anniversary commemorating the role of students who were killed fighting for their rights against the unequal, brutally oppressive education system set up by the Apartheid Government. On this day we remember those who fought and died in the struggle for the generations to come, and we recognise the power of a mobilised youth.
During ‘Madiba Week’, a full week of events and activities to benefit the greater community was organised by the thriving service and cultural microcosm which is Westerford High School. The Week meant celebrating Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy as well as striving, as the Youth, to be immersed fully in both learning about South Africa’s past and taking up Madiba’s call to take on the task of bettering the country’s future.

Although the official Mandela Day on 18 July is yet to come, we recognise that the 67 minutes of good-deed-doing on this day - symbolic of our former president’s 67 years of service to the nation -  often comes to an end at the completion of the 67 minutes, and many continue with life as before, leaving behind the initiative to strive for others.The aim of Mandela Week was to mobilise the pupils of Westerford, providing opportunities for them to become fully immersed in community projects which fight poverty - an enormous obstacle which face so many South Africans on a daily basis.   Ideally, these endeavours will be carried beyond the Week into the daily lives of the pupil body.

Approximately 42% of South Africa’s population is aged below 35, and so the Youth remain the vanguard for political action in South Africa, handed the responsibility of carrying through the transformation of the country which was sparked by the 1976 Soweto Uprising. Our ‘Madiba Week’ emphasised that need for the mobilisation of the Youth.To start the week off Minister Lindiwe Sisulu addressed the School and challenged us to get involved in projects which serve to help and uplift those less fortunate than we are. She pointed to the critical role which the Youth has as future leaders of our country and guardians of our rights, responsibilities and of the freedom of which she, her parents, Madiba and so many others dreamt and fought for.

The programme for the rest of the week was:

Tuesday, SJA (Student Jewish Association)hosted a Challah-making event during second break; all bread was donated to The Haven Night Shelter.
Habitat for Humanity made sandwiches which were donated to an after-school centre in Imizamo Yethu.

Wednesday: Interact organised a Civvies Day. The funds raised went to ‘Life Matters’ - for books for Grade 2 children at under-resourced schools, and towards scientific calculator purchases for the school at Zithulele in the Transkei.

MADD (Music, Art, Dance and Drama) and GSI (Green Schools Initiative) collaborated to decorate and fill pot-plants which will go to a local Children’s Home. 

Thursday: Interact hosted an Ecobrick-making workshop; all the bricks will be donated to Waste-ED and Greenpop to build houses for homeless Capetonians. 

Friday: Drama Society organised for a group of Westerford pupils to watch The Fall at the Baxter Theatre. The Fall is a topical theatre piece composed by eight UCT drama graduates, based on their personal journeys as people of colour within their struggle to get their voices heard, starting with the #RhodesMustFall movement in 2015, focusing on the internal processes of the students and the conversations around organising the famous march to parliament.

“Whether you change the linen or stitch up wounds, cook the food or dispense the medicines, it is in your hands to help build a public service worthy of all those who gave their lives for the dream of democracy.”  Nelson Mandela

This is a reminder that we need to strive to make every day a Mandela Day.

                                                                                          Hanna Lehtinen, Grade 12