Vista Nova High School Grade 10 pupil Dayyaan Edries and his teacher Pertunia Mutheiwana came up tops among 64 participants in this year’s Nkosi Albert Luthuli Young Historians’ Award, which was held at the Department of Basic Education in Pretoria from Friday September 29 to Monday October 2.
The annual competition is an initiative by the national Department of Basic Education to strengthen history as a subject of choice in schools.
The competition is named after Nobel Peace Laureate Nkosi Albert John Luthuli, who apart from his fight for total emancipation of the oppressed, was a distinguished educationist, having taken up his first teaching assignment at Adams College, where he completed his Higher Teachers’ Training Course.
Sixty four Grade 8 to 11 history pupils and 12 teachers from eight provinces took part in the competition.
Dayyaan’s research focused on “A life story of a former activist in Bonteheuwel, who emulates the values of Oliver Tambo in addressing issues of non-racialism and socio-economic inequalities”. He interviewed Quentin Michaels from Bonteheuwel to highlight the impact he had in the Bonteheuwel community and verified the information by interviewing Neville van der Rheede and Charlene Edum.
Ms Mutheiwana said she introduced the implementation of oral history to pupils at Vista Nova and explained that although the school has a special educational needs background, it has been imperative to her to make pupils realise that disability does not hinder their chances of succeeding in all spheres of life.
Deputy director-general for social cohesion and equity, Noleen Dodgen said that through the competition the pupils and teachers are accessing the memory of ordinary citizens.
“History is not only about our heroes, but also about everyday people in our communities. Their names may not appear in the history books, but they have made an immense contribution to get us where we are today,” said Ms Dodgen.