Talk to unite and rebuild citizens

2019-04-30 06:01
Michael Charton

Michael Charton

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Rustenburg Girls’ High School in Rondebosch is inviting everyone to a thought-provoking talk that will move people, unite and focus on national building.

As a school they feel transformation is vital as it extends into communities. Learners move on from school and Rustenburg wants to equip them to be responsible and active citizens.

The talk by Michael Charton, founder of Inherit SA, will take place at 18:00, on Thursday 9 May in the Kemp Hall at the school.

My Father’s Coat is the realisation of Charton’s decade-long ambition to make South African history more accessible. To open the hearts of South Africans to the past, so that the story is no longer used as a tool to inspire hatred and fear and division, but rather as a source of unity and nation-building.

Having been schooled at Rondebosch Boys’ High School, Charton’s life took an unexpected turn as a 20-year-old accounting student at Stellenbosch University, with a realisation that he had very little understanding of the country or how the South African tragedy had actually transpired.

An acknowledgement which for several years he wished to address. After completing his articles in 2004, he finally made the decision to study history.

A pursuit which not only opened his eyes to the extraordinary complexities and characters rolled up into the South African story, but it also sparked an awareness that many of South Africans, regardless of the level of education, carried a poor grasp of the dynamics which shaped our country.

Further, Charton had come to believe that despite the tragic history of South Africa, when viewed without political incentive, holds tremendous untapped powers of unity, healing and guidance.

Geila Wills, marketing and public relations manager at the school says over the last few years, Rustenberg Girls’ embarked on a journey of active transformation. The process began in early 2017 with facilitated workshops for the entire staff. The school also held a Dialogue Day in April last year which dealt with issues of identity, exclusion and belonging. This day involved the whole school and smaller group workshops where a team of teachers provided opportunities for learners to discuss relevant issues and concerns“In alignment with the school’s focus on transformation, we were proud to host Michael Charton, of Inherit South Africa.His idea was to condense some of the key dynamics of our past into a bite-sized story which is both compelling and balanced. A monumental and time-consuming challenge, but one which has given rise to a very unique product; providing new order and meaning to a notoriously complex subject,” says Wills.

Wills adds, this is no history lecture: “Instead, this is a story: a human story told by climbing into the boots of five prominent, interwoven protagonists spanning 200 turbulent years: Mzilikazi, Kruger, Rhodes, Smuts and Mandela. Never before has our past been explored in this manner.”

One of the teachers, Jan Thorne after attending the talk said: “My Father’s Coat is a deeply sincere and thoughtful offering to South Africans. It is an unpacking of our shared history as South Africans, told through storytelling, which ultimately shows how interconnected we are. There’s no one history of South Africa; there’s no one truth or one journey. Charton surprises the audience again and again by revisiting the stories we think we know, from perspectives we may never have considered.

“If you’re interested in coming closer to the heart of what it really means to belong to this land, then you’ll want to see this. Charton has offered South Africans – and anyone who loves this place and its people – a gift.”

This production is for anyone who is interested in healing through understanding and changing previously learned perspectives. (Not recommended for scholars younger than Grade 10 unless extremely interested in history).

V Tickets are available on Quicket. Tickets are R180 for adults and R100 for scholars.

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