Sans Souci celebrates diversity on Africa Day

Pupils receiving new smart ID cards from the Department of Home Affairs officials. From left are Yusuf Simons, provincial manager of Home Affairs with Grade 11 pupils Zia Ziegelaar, Siphosethu Vumisa, Naadirah Deyal, Agcobile Joka, Asive Tyobeka, Mbali Matches and Bongiwe Sakawuli, director of operations for the Cape Metro for Home Affairs.

Sans Souci Girls’ High School celebrated Africa Day last Friday, May 25, highlighting the diversity of the continent’s culture and of the pupils who attend the school.

Rebekah Brand Marais, a Grade 12 pupil from the school’s history society, gave a brief explanation of how Africa Day came about.

“On this day, May 25, in 1963, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was formed. At the beginning of the 21st century, the OAU became the African Union.The African Union is a body in Africa that serves the countries of Africa as a means to work as a collective to tackle challenges faced by certain African countries but also as a continent as a whole,” she said.

The pupils dressed up to represent various cultures, with Zulu, Xhosa and Cape Malay attire among the designs on display.

There were special performances with an African flavour from the junior and senior marimba band, the Jazz Cats, and a short play by Thula Sizwe, a cultural group.

Their orchestra played the theme song from The Lion King movie and there was a guest appearance by South African artist Niel Raderman.

The choir performed an emotional version of the anti-apartheid protest song Weeping and Grade 12 pupil, Nasi-Isipho Vayeka read a poem called, Am I a product of colonisation.

“For me celebrating African Day is celebrating being African. It something that should be celebrated everyday because we are in Africa so why should we feel alienated in Africa,” said Ms Vayeka.

Professor Brian Figaji, chairman of Wesgro, delivered a speech which highlighted mutual respect for one another and the challenges related to xenophobia. He mentioned the famous ‘I am an African’ speech by former president Thabo Mbeki.

“That is a specific call for all of us who live on this continent, to identify with the continent and its people by declaring ‘I am a African’,” said Professor Figaji.

As identity is an important concept for African Day, two officials from the Department of Home Affairs were present to give seven pupils their Smart ID cards.

Yusuf Simons, provincial manager for Home Affairs, said the pupils must safeguard their ID as it is an important mechanism for when they become eligible voters, need to look for jobs, open accounts and access government servers.

Principal Ruschda O’Shea said that it was important for Sans Souci Girls’ High School to celebrate Africa Day as they have girls from across the continent.

“It was also an opportunity to showcase the girls’ talents and an opportunity for our guests to experience the Sans Souci welcome and dynamic environment.” said Ms O’Shea.