27Jan2017 - 4

Francis Drake Lecture ‘Growing up In South Africa’

On Monday children in Forms V to VIII were captivated by the confident and interesting talk Jonah Rufaro Gasuro gave about ‘Growing up In South Africa.’ Born in Zimbabwe, Jonah moved to South Africa when he was very young and grew up in the city of Johannesburg until he recently came to England to take up a Scholarship place at Stowe School . Jonah talked to the children about the differences and similarities between our two countries including the climate, rural and urban farming and the expectations between our schools. Jonah explained that family and farming are very important to his culture and that he takes frequent trips back to where his family comes from. He expressed how important Nelson Mandela was to the development of the new South Africa, the ‘Rainbow Nation.’ Jonah demonstrated some of the 11 official languages of South Africa and introduced the children to several key words including ‘Ubuntu’ which means togetherness and being part of a community and ‘Awe’ (pronounced awee) a Zulu word which can be used to mean almost anything!

We can learn a lot from Jonah. This month the children have been set Challenges for the FDA to celebrate 100 years since Shackleton demonstrated extreme endurance, perseverance and resilience. Similarly, at just 15, Jonah has found himself thousands of miles from home this year. He is facing many new challenges with the impressive view that ‘nothing is impossible’. He is an amazing ambassador for South Africa. His message was clear, that this experience here has taught him that he is truly South African, that family, respect and love is everything. Jonah spoke passionately and eloquently about his country, culture and education. He emphasised that the world is different and the best way to understand it, is to be exposed to it. Children in South Africa are big dreamers and are usually afraid of what the future holds. Here we can question what our teachers tell us and curiosity is the key to knowledge.

Report by Verity Sanders