The nursery has been founded by Lorraine 'Mama' Poswa, a leading figure in the community, with support from the ANC Support Group in London, and built by funds raised by 1 Pump Court, Barristers Chambers where Adrienne Barnett is a member as well as being on the editorial board of the Green Economics Institute. Adrienne Barnett was also active in promoting the ANC during the apartheid years, and is a barrister at law in South Africa and the UK. Dr Ursula Barnett has also been very active in the regime change in South Africa and both are on our editorial advisory board for the journal showing how the greening of south africa is central to its healing.
In order to make it possible to assist the children and their parents in what was an area to which forced resettlements took place under apartheid - and where resources are scarce, if you would like to help please contact Adrienne Barnett to help in on emai : email@example.com to support this very worthwhile and practical part of our work
The following is an early report from Adrienne Barnett and her collegue visiting the nursery:S A ProjectWe (Adrienne Barnett and Melanie Johnson) went from East London through the green, rolling hills of the Eastern Cape in South Africa on 24th March 2005 to visit the recently-completed Lorraine Poswa Pre-school. Our destination was the community headed by the late Chief Mzimkhulu Mdamase, about 7 miles outside Mthatha in the District of Libode.
Approximately 10 years ago, the local community, led by the indomitable Lorraine "Mama" Poswa, started a pre-school for under-sevens. At that stage, the legal starting age for primary school was seven, such primary education being provided free by the state. Children under seven living in more affluent communities inevitably attended (fee-paying) pre-primary school, which gave them an important head-start in the education process over children living in poorer communities.The community of Mzimkhulu was determined to ensure that their children had access to the same early educational opportunities and quality of learning as more affluent children.
The difficulty, of course was money. There was no money to and in Mama Poswa's house in bad weather; equipment was purchased by charging the parents R20 (about£2), which most could ill afford; the teachers frequently worked for little or no pay. The pre-purchase equipment, to pay the teachers, and certainly no money to build a school. Classes were held outside under the trees in summer, school group started with 35 children and one teacher; this increased to 60 children and 2 teachers.Despite all these financial and practical difficulties, the community were determined to keep the school going, and succeeded in doing so.
In 1999 the ANC Support Group in London started assisting the community with funding for the school. Monies were raised on an ad hoc basis to provide books and teaching materials and to pay the teachers. This assistance was vital in keeping the school going. However, what the community needed and wanted, first and foremost, was a school building. In an area subjected to extreme deprivation, the local community felt very strongly that they needed a building of their own, which could be utilised as a resource for the entire community.
When 1 Pump Court heard about thiswe thought - why don't we try to raise the funds to build the school? Two years later, as a result of a variety of fundraising activities, including a highly successful reception at the South African High Commission in Trafalgar Square, sufficient monies had been raised to build the first part of the school project. The land for the school was donated personally by Chief Mzimkhulu Mdamase as a gift to the community, and early in 2004 the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs carried out a site inspection and agreed to the building of the school. A project manager from Cape Town and a local architect from Mthatha were engaged, who worked closely with the local community in the construction of the school. And finally, at the end of December 2004, the school building was completed. The school is particularly important because it is in the area formerly known as the Transkei, intended by the architects of ‘grand apartheid' as a ‘homeland' for the Xhosa-speaking population of South Africa, in reality, as a means of reserving the vast, fertile areas of the country for the minority white population and limiting the black population to more arid, over-grazed areas where they were reserved as a labour-force as and when needed.
As a result, the community is typical of those in South Africa's rural areas who sustained the worst of the poverty, deprivation and oppression meted out by the apartheid system. The community continues to suffer from that legacy, with high unemployment and no access to basic services such as electricity, running water and sanitation (although some of these services are shortly to be provided, as part of the government's programme of upgrading services in rural areas). Yet far from submitting to these injustices, this community were at the forefront of the struggle against apartheid and demonstrated enormous courage, heroism and self-sacrifice in the process. The same determination which led the community in the fight against apartheid has led them now in their desire to create a better future for their children, the key element in which is, of course, education.
It was no easy task finding the school. "Look for a green bakkie (small truck) on the side of the road, about 10 kms outside Mthatha", Shakes Poswa, a leading community figure, had told us. Nothing could have prepared us for the reception that awaited us! Hundreds of children and members of the community met us at the roadside. A huge roar of welcome went up and the children thronged round our car and escorted us, singing and shouting, as we slowly drove down the track towards the school.
When we arrived at the small but impressive building, we were warmly greeted by Shakes(Shakespeare), his wife, the 2 teachers, and Walter Sambumbu (the architect) and the rest of the community
THE LORRAINE POSWA PRE-SCHOOL
In December 2004 the first phase of construction of the Lorraine Poswa Pre-School was completed, funded by 1 Pump Court Chambers. Please help us raise urgently needed funds for the remaining work.
Approximately 10 years ago, the community headed by the late Chief Mzimkhulu Mdamase in the District of Libode started a pre-school for under-sevens. Lead by the late Lorraine "Mama" Poswa, the local community were determined to ensure that their children had access to the same early educational opportunities as children living in the more affluent communities.
The community is situated 10 kms outside Mthatha in the area formerly known as the Transkei, and is typical of those in South Africa's rural areas who sustained the worst of the poverty, deprivation and injustice meted out by the apartheid system. There was no money to purchase equipment, to pay the teachers or to build a school. Despite all the financial and practical difficulties, the community were determined to keep the school going, and succeeded in doing so with some limited assistance from the ANC Support Group in London.
At the beginning of 2001 1 Pump Court resolved to raise the funds to build the school. After 2 years of successful fundraising, including a gala event at the South African High Commission, sufficient monies were raised to build the first part of the school. A project manager from Cape Town and an architect from Mthatha were engaged, who worked closely with local builders in constructing the school. Finally, at the end of December 2004, the school was completed. The community are delighted and proud to have, for the first time, a resource of their own. They anticipate that it will play an important part in enriching all their lives.
However, the building is not large enough to accommodate all the children who will be using the facility. The community will not turn away the increasing numbers of children who are attending, some of whom, no more than toddlers, are walking up to 6kms a day to get to the school.
Please email Adrienne Barnett directly with ideas and donations, and we will shortly be arranging a meeting with the community and supporters in order to find out what they would like to have in the way of specific support from the Green Economics Institute Miriam Kennet September 2007