Four students from Oakhill School took the opportunity to widen their horizons when they attended the Round Square Africa Region Conference last week. Oakhill was invited, as an observer school, to participate in this gathering of schools from our continent. With delegates from Nigeria, Kenya, Namibia and South Africa, these young representatives had the opportunity to experience ‘internationalism’ at its best.
Schools gathered at St Stithians Girls’ College for two days of ‘conferencing’ and then moved on to Camp Discovery, north of Pretoria, for further activity and adventure. Keynote speakers addressed delegates: Jeunesse Park, who initiated and runs Food and Trees for Africa; Rorisang Tshabalala, innovation strategist; Rachel Manyathi, teacher and ultra-distance marathon runner; Ruth Everson, published poet and short story writer. The award-winning production, Horn of Sorrow, moved the young audience with its tale of the plight of the black rhino in Africa. Young people put their heads together in Baraza groups to solve problems and to get to know each other.
The theme of the conference was, We are more than we are – we are one, and all activities were aimed at the realisation of the power to act for the common good. Delegates played out an interactive World at Lunch activity, which proved the point of hunger in our world. Groups spent a morning in service – at local crèches. A ‘democracy game’ taught them the relevance of true democracy, and a Walk of Silence encouraged the need for quiet time and reflection in this busy world.
Round Square is an organisation which unites similar-minded schools; encourages communication with schools all over the world; provides opportunity for student exchange and for working on international service projects. There is a real need for the young people of Knysna to experience this global community and Oakhill is thrilled by the possibility of joining Round Square.
Report: Sheila Pasio