Belle Primary School had been selected as the site for the South Kids activity of the gathering in Soweto. It is situated just next to the Hector Petersen Museum and its staff seemed very keen to be part of the event. The passion of their involvement took most of us by surprise.
Mme ma Sambo,
Ba vulele, ba ngene
Be so kind to open the gates, and allow our visitors in.
Thank you, if you allow, with your blessings then in they’ll come.
They sang this over and over with increasing intensity. Down through the centre came a group of young boys in gumboots, who performed an energetic dance for us. They then jogged back and soon came a party of little children in traditional dress waving South African flags. They opened the gates and took each of us by the hand into the school, as the corridor of learners continued their song. Eventually we made it to a verandah where we were formally greeted by the Principal. She explained to the students that they were honoured by these visitors from the other southern countries, including Australia. The learners replied in perfect chorus, ‘Good morning Principal, Educators and Visitors’. Each of the educators had come dressed in a traditional costume, including some beautiful Shweshwe prints and a gloriously beaded Zulu outfit.