Young Sowetans represent SA in France

By admin
13 June 2013

Eight young learners from Winnie Ngwekazi Primary School in Pimville, Soweto, returned home on Tuesday from Paris, France, where they were invited to represent South Africa in children's parliament, which was held at the French National Assembly.

With the assistance of their teachers ? eight learners aged 11 and 12 from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and with a strong academic record and good life skills ? were chosen.

“I was amazed and wanted to make sure that they didn’t think twice about choosing me because I needed it,” said Sabelo Ntshingila (12).

The programme was made possible by the department of arts and culture in association with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. “They assisted the delegates and their parents with all expenses and arrangements, from transport to passport and visa applications,” said school principal Phumla Mabilo.

Under the theme “Freedom, Equality, Fraternity” the delegates ? with the help of one of their teachers, Bheki Radebe ? researched the topic, wrote an essay and then translated it into French. “We worked so hard to make sure that we did our best to make South Africa proud; not everyone gets the opportunity to represent their country,” said Sabelo.

None of the kids had ever left the country or flown before. “I was so excited; I didn’t know how to contain myself,” said Sabelo.

Nokubonga Ndlovu (12) stood in front of 577 children, the president of the French National Assembly and the French minister for education, and received a round of applause for their speech. “I couldn’t believe I was giving a speech to ministers and the president [of the French National Assembly],” said Nokubonga.

“I will never forget this trip; I enjoyed flying, visiting the Eiffel Tower and parliament,” she said.

Proud teacher Bheki said, “It was a collective effort, and the children worked hard; we need to have more schools involved in these programmes because they have the ability to change a child’s life.”

-Koketso Mashika


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