By Loyiso Gxothiwe
Good Shepherd Primary School Grade 7 pupil, Sonwabiso Makhaleni, clears her throat and looks as her classmate pins a large poster with facts about food and water preservation about a minute into her presentation. “Today we are celebrating Nelson Mandela’s legacy. Madiba sacrificed many years of his life in order for us to be where we are today in this country,” declares Makhaleni looking pensively at her peers. “Let’s preserve the environment and its resources so that the people that come after us can also enjoy this country like we are able to do today,” she adds.
Makhaleni, her Good Shepherd schoolmates and pupils from a fellow Grahamstown school, Fikizolo Primary School were a part of a Trading Live initiative partnership with Children of the Soil (COTS). COTS are based in Grahamstown and aim to promote environmental awareness and other related projects at schools and communities.
This school project involved Grade 7 learners from Good Shepherd and Fikizolo taking 67 minutes to visit each other’s schools over a period of three days to address environmental issues, learn from their peers and plant gardens in each other’s schools. The last day which was 9 August 2015 was hosted by Good Shepherd and comprised of students giving presentations on what they had learnt from their time together with the COTS team.
Nosiphiwe Ngqwala from Children of the Soil addressed the pupils on water issues and the importance of food preservation to fight hunger after pupils from both schools had finished giving their presentations.
After Ngqwala finishes her lesson, she asks the group for closing remarks and what they intend on doing to help preserve the environment. Makhaleni raises her hand quickly and rushes to the front of the class, “The most important thing I’ve learnt this week is that being fair to the environment is being fair to myself and the people I share the world with”.