“The power of you”

Once again, learners from the DSK had the opportunity to partake in the Good Hope Seminary High School Diversity Summit. This year’s topic focused on ‘The power of you’. I would like to thank the principal of the school, Leon Linz for his commitment to helping learners find their voices and their rightful place in society.

It was not only learners from the Cape Town’s inner city high schools who were invited to share their personal stories, Mrs Mamphela Ramphele, a South African politician and former anti-apartheid activist, shared her experiences while encouraging the audience to believe in themselves, to celebrate their uniqueness and to stand up for what they believe in. Transformation, in her opinion, is profound meaningful change that enables South Africans and people living in South Africa to have equal rights and opportunities. She motivated the audience to start the process for themselves by imagining a South Africa they want to be a part of. She also explained that right comes with responsibilities that should be internalised and lived. She said the spirit of ubuntu would only be meaningful again again if people stop blaming politics and others for what has gone wrong in South Africa and take action to shape a peaceful and prosperous country.

The second half of the event gave learners the opportunity to share their stories and visions of a future South Africa. These were profound and sometimes emotional but their testimonies made it clear that we need to look at ourselves first, to accept who we are and learn to take ownership in order to shape our destiny.Three inspiring learners from the DSK shared their stories, Nkululeko Deda, a DSK Alumni, spoke of his life describing how he made use of the opportunity to get a good education to support his destitute mother and three siblings.

Isabel Werth (Grade 11) spoke about how she felt isolated by her class peers by being labelled a white privileged person. She felt people had not taken the time to get to know her or realise that she too, despite her colour, also experiences difficulties in life, as do we all – in her case dealing with her deteriorating vision in both eyes due to an inherited condition made worse by sever allergies.

Tracy Dudusani (Grade 10) spoke last, she was born in Cape Town and grew up with her family from Rwanda who came to South Africa as refugees. Tracy had to cope with peoples’ judgements about her not being truly Rwandan nor truly South African. She spoke of being affected by xenophobia, being bullied at school and ending up at the DSK thus having to function and adapt in three different cultural environments; German at school, South African outside of school and her Rwandan home culture.

What the audience learnt is that one should always give people a chance to tell their story before putting them in a box or labelling them in any way. I believe everyone left the event with hope and the knowledge that our actions do make a difference. Solidarity, taking responsibility and uplifting lives should be everyone’s compass, guiding us to meaningful every day transformation.

Silke Werth