On Monday 10th April, a party of excited Yr 7 and 8 pupils from Winterfold House School, Chaddesley Corbett departed on an educational trip of a lifetime to South Africa.
The children had many amazing experiences, the first being a tour of the Langa Township in Cape Town which, despite showing signs of progress is still an eye opener for everyone to see the extremes of poverty amongst the wealth in the rest of Cape Town.
Rugby and netball fixtures in Cape Town and Durban were tough contests. The girls played very well and won the second fixture in Cape Town and had a very close couple of matches in Durban. The boys experienced the typically tough South African games of rugby. The second time improved throughout - the first team had two draws and a close 34-27 loss in Durban. It was also a new experience for the boys to play rugby in bare feet! The teams were able to watch and support each other’s matches which created a real sense of camaraderie between all of the teams and an appreciation of each other’s sport.
Whilst in Cape Town, the pupils enjoyed a trip to Robben Island where they learnt about Nelson Mandela and the struggle against apartheid.
Following visits to Seal island, the V & A waterfront, surfing lessons in Durban, a Super 15 rugby match to watch the Sharks v Melbourne Rebels and Ushaka marine world, the tour party headed to Ubizane for the game drives.
Ubizane is a special place to stay and has giraffe, rhino, lots of monkeys, warthog, zebra, crocodiles and various antelope etc. in their reserve. These animals are free to roam and it was a thrill to see giraffe outside bedroom windows in the morning along with impala. The monkeys proved to be expert sugar thieves at breakfast! The early morning game drive gave the pupils an opportunity to see rhinos, buffalo and other wildlife. The elephants and lions proved to be elusive this time though. On an afternoon estuary cruise, they then saw crocodiles, playful hippos, fish eagles and other wildlife.
The final part of the tour was a stay at Shakaland where everyone enjoyed a cultural show with traditional music and dancing, spear throwing, mock stick fighting and a night in Zulu huts.
Without doubt, the highlight of the tour for all pupils and supporters was their visit to Winterfold House School’s sister school, Ncemaneni. A humbling and emotional experience, it was a privilege to hear their head girl, Zandile Mdunge, speak about how the partnership between the two schools has improved the education for the ‘learners’ at Ncemaneni (this is how they refer to their pupils).
Money raised by Winterfold pupils, parents and sponsors resulted in the opening of a new Science laboratory. The Headmaster, Armstrong Mthembu expressed his thanks and explained how the building is already transforming the teaching of the subject. Zandile hopes to become a doctor so that she can help solve the problems around HIV and TB in the village community. It really was an inspirational day and everyone at Winterfold will continue to do as much as possible to help the learners at Ncemaneni.
Quotes from Winterfold pupils and supporters:
- “The highlight for us was Ncemaneni. A real leveller and eye opener. An experience we will never forget.”
- “Thank you so much for a life changing tour of SA, such an amazing experience and it's been a privilege to be part of it.”
- “My visit to Ncemaneni has really changed my outlook on life. I understand how lucky I am and won’t take things for granted anymore.”
- “The sport, surfing, waterslides and safaris were so much fun and it is the best trip I have ever been on!”
Mr James Brinkley, Tour Leader said “the children were a fantastic group to take on tour and will have memories and lessons that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Their behaviour and organisation for 12 & 13 year olds on the other side of the world was superb”.