A Big Request for a Belated Birthday Gift for Inkanyezi, the first Waldorf School in Alexandra, Johannesburg, South Africa (1988 – 2010)

The Inkanyezi School is a miracle of survival with teachers and parents having the ultimate courage to persevere notwithstanding a history of shootings, repeated burglaries, car-hijackings and a climate of drugs and crime all around. It certainly could be called something of a social experiment to start a school in such an environment where half a million people exist in the perimeter one square mile. But the founders and all those trying to assist the school pedagogically and financially were determined to make it a beacon of hope in a destitute situation. The name Inkanyezi, which stands for Star in Zulu, can truly be understood as a Star of Hope.

The best way to convince oneself of the validity of this enterprise is by looking at the faces of the children and see their determination to succeed, their eagerness to learn, the trust in their teachers. And look at the teachers in the way that they are role models for the children in the way they act, dress and speak, loving their profession while guiding the children to their true destinations.

Because of the quality of education offered in the school, the number of “learners” has dramatically risen from 12 in first grade to 358 in Kindergarten and seven grades combined. The parents now insist that an additional 8th and 9th grade should be added. Money has already been given by the Friends of Rudolf Steiner Education in Germany to build the additional two class rooms needed for this purpose.

The grounds have been changed over the years from a bare wasteland into a green garden with shade trees and weaver birds nestling in the branches.

As wonderful as this is, the school only consists of class room spaces and urgently needs a building where the combined school community of pupils, parents, dignitaries and other guests can assemble.

An ecologically-sound BIG HALL with a stage would be THE ANSWER to this need.

This hall would be a multi-purpose space where all the class plays and concerts would be performed and where on a daily basis gym classes, basket ball and Eurythmy lessons could take place. The school already rents out class rooms on weekends for Church services and Choir practices. This way the Big Hall could also generate a little income for the school. Not only the school would benefit, but the Hall would be a Cultural Center for the surrounding residents.

A belated Birthday Gift like this would be a way of honoring the school, which has withstood the storms of time during the Apartheid era and during its aftermath. It would also honor the teachers of whom many have been faithful to Inkanyezi for since its beginning.

It would be ideal if a small delegation from the US would make first hand observations, preferably with a cameraman among them. Truus Geraets, one of the founders, would only be too happy to accompany and guide the small group.

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