Today was a complete surprise. The teachers planned the program and they shared their insights and their thanks with us. They presented me with two beautiful African bowls which was unexpected and so meaningful. They called me Masechaba, the Mother of the Nation. They honored me with this title and I am humbled by it. There were thank-you speeches, and singing and dancing and happiness filled the room. It was an unforgettable morning.
Then just when we thought it was over, the drama students gave a surprise farewell party for Dr. Makalela. They had gifts and cake and we started singing and dancing all over again. Although the project was officially over, we spent the afternoon in the computer lab. The teachers were busy on many projects, but they also wanted to make sure that they emailed their American partners. After dinner, we watched the final performance of the student dramatic troupe. They presented a play, a poem and songs. These students are incredible actors and have promising stage careers. The students gave up their winter break to stay at the university to perform for us.
Most of us are staying over for the Rural Teachers Conference tomorrow, so we haven’t said goodbye. It will be difficult to do. I’m sharing my last LWP journal and two of the wonderful speeches that we heard today.
I am Grateful for LWP
By Roxanne Henkin
I am grateful for the wonderful experience of this writing project and for the past two weeks that we have been able to work together. Every person in the Limpopo Writing Project is precious and to be cherished. I am grateful that I have met Solomon and have been able to hear his stories about the realities of life and the uncertain consequences that follow. I am grateful for Mokgadi, for her strength and her leadership. I am grateful for Esther, for her stories about her childhood, and for the energy that she brought us. I am grateful for Thelma, for her experience teaching second language children and for her guidance in the project.
I am grateful for Seipati, for her incredible story about her brother and for experiences that she shared with us. I am grateful for Thoko for her strength and her beautiful hats that light up our room. I am grateful for Cony and I am glad that when she finally shared, she was a writer. I am grateful for Makoma, for her passion for education, and her desire to always learn more. I am grateful for Masilo for her commitment to social justice and to children’s rights. I am grateful for Sehume, for the laughter and warmth and just plain fun she brought to us every day. I am grateful for Hobs, for his enthusiasm and the quiet way he shares his questions.
I am grateful for Nteveleni, who even though I was never able to pronounce his name led us on our writing journey and was always using the technology to check my blog. I am grateful to Joyce, for her powerful stories and the way she truly loved her friends and her dog. I am grateful for Dr. Leketi Makalela, for his incredible energy, his friendship and his commitment to the Limpopo Writing Project. I am grateful to Lehlogonolo, whose name I could never pronounce and so finally she told me to call her Blessing. And she was the biggest blessing to our project making sure that everything ran smoothly. I am also grateful for Pheladi, Blessings partner in checking all the details and facilitating the project. Thank-you, thank-you! And I am grateful to Ngokoana, my African sister, thanking you for devoting your time to this project.
Most of all, I am grateful to all of you for taking me into your hearts, for sharing your lives with me and for your love. As we say in Hebrew, Shalom, go in peace. You will remain with me always.
THANK YOU SPEECH
By MOKGADI LEKOTA
I am here on behalf of the group. Whatever I am going to say I will be representing you all because you all contributed towards this piece of writing. I am just a mouth piece to deliver the news of thanks to LWP.
This group is very much thankful about the contribution made by Pheladi, Lehlogonolo, Prof. Leketi Makalela and Dr Roxanne Henkin towards their development. We were led by an inspirational leader. The knowledge gained is really indispensible.
It is our pleasure to let you know that we do not regret ourselves by forfeiting all our family matters during this winter vacation. We are really developed, empowered, capacitated, reformed, born again and we also grew mentally.
We gained a lot and forward we go.
Amongst others we have take away to our schools
Development of writing skills.
Selection of learners for bursary.
Initiation of reading clubs.
Clustering with neighbouring schools for sharing what we gained – and even even community members
Thanks for our connections with our fellow Americans in SAWP the pairing done will keep the writing ball rolling.
This is going to be endless bonding – a chain starting with us locally, passing via Texas and proceeding endlessly.
As far as technology is concerned we are advanced, we are no longer novices. We now know more about skype, blog, face book, not forgetting the issue of been televised on DSTV channel CBNCA. What an exposure.
Challenges: No manna from heaven – you cannot appreciate and sit back
First is literature production – to write our own publications
To assess learners’ writing progress, ensure that they can write their own thinking, no matter how short.
As part of thanks, we must keep the LWP alive and producing. Go back and be writing addicts to keep the journey of incredible adventure on.
Sustain your e-mail addresses because as long it is not accessed then it will cease.
There is nothing impossible inside the willing heart.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
Thanks from Nteveleni
As a writer and a poet, let me start with a quote, though I won’t be quoting it verbatim. I quote, “One cannot choose when to be born, where to be born and you cannot choose parents, but you can choose who you want to be in life.” You can choose to be in the LWP like we did, and you can choose to love and share like Roxanne always does.
I have been given a very tough assignment. I have been requested by my colleagues, my brothers and sisters to present a gift to the precious gift of Limpopo, our one and only Masechaba (the mother of the nation), the one whose sense of down earthiness gives her a distinguished scholarly appearance. She is also my facebook friend.