Khoi language for pupils

2019-02-19 06:00
Denver Breda and Joe Klein.

Denver Breda and Joe Klein.

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Hillwood Primary School in Lavender Hill has become the first school to offer the Khoisan language at school as an extramural activity.

The language has made it to the list of their extramural activities like golf, swimming, snooker, pool, darts, knitting, paceball, soccer, handball, boxing, Isixhosa, computers and book club among others. The Khoisan language subject started this term and it has garnered a lot of interest from the learners.

School coordinator or champion teacher Joe Klein, who teaches Afrikaans at the school, says one day in class he asked the learners if they really know where coloured people come from and their true history. “Nobody really knew a thing, [no-one] really understood the history of us coloured people. That was a great concern for me. As people we ought to know our culture, our history and our ancestors. For us to be able to do things and move forward we must really understand the past. So I thought something needs to change for our learners and they need to be taught these things,” he says.

Klein says schools are not only for academics but to teach learners holistically, so he felt it was important to introduce the Khoi language at school. “Because there was a guy (Denver Breda) who always tagged me on Facebook when it comes to the Khoisan things, I thought he would be a good fit to teach the learners. He has been taking the class and learners are very much interested in the language. Surprisingly it is not only the coloured peopled that are in this class – we also have Xhosa-speaking learners in the class. At the moment we have about 50 learners in the class,” he says.

Denver Breda, a community member is taking the lessons.

Hillwood Primary School principal Gavin Alkana says learners and parents are very excited that the Khoi language has been introduced.

“Everyone is really loving it. It was to discover who you are, where you come from, and not to be shy about your past. Our children have an identity crisis at times, and therefore go to drugs and gangsterism. To counter this we introduce so many after-school activities. Khoi-San is also part of our Grade 5 curriculum. We are not allowed to make it part of the formal curriculum; however, we felt we want our learners to be expose to Khoi as many of the so-called coloured people came from the Khoi-San,” he says.

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