The smiles say it all! Elizabethfontien Primary School is over the Pakhuis Pass travelling towards the Tankwa Karoo from Clanwilliam. It is a school with no designated library, but books wherever they can fit them in. The donated dictionaries were welcomed enthusiastically – as was the idea of workshops with Children’s Book Network later this month. Principal Annetjie Dames looked thoughtful at stories of Red Hill’s library container. ‘Hmm,’ she said, ‘we could do with a container round here.’ Anyone able to help?
This is the only primary school that I know of that has an affectionate nickname – ‘Betjiesfontein’. We were treated to a rehearsal of the traditional reel dance in the school hall (which also doubles as three classrooms most of the time) and the children danced in their school uniforms and bare feet. They wear out three pairs of veldskoene (heavy red leather lace-up shoes that are traditional in the Cederberg area) a year; such is the speed of the footwork!
There will be more about reel dancing on this website, firstly because it tells a story in a different way. Secondly because the children from Betjiesfontein will feature in the Cederberg Stories project. In fact they have promised to come and dance for us on Heritage Day.
Also worth knowing is that this small school on the other side of the mountains has a reading history, having won the national READ Education Trust award in 2000 in competition with more than 500 schools. Their reel-mistress, Mariette Kotze also won the READ gold medal for her work in reading.
Our friends and colleagues in Rotary Cape of Good Hope have kindly donated forty copies of The Usborne Illustrated English Dictionary to CBN for this project. This excellent and highly accessible dictionary is particularly useful to children who speak English as a second, third – or even fourth language.
The Dictionary 4Life – www.dictionary4life .com – is a free-standing project in association with the Rotary Club of Battersea, Brixton and Clapham and Usborne Publishing company and in cooperation with Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland.
Pictured: Main picture Principal Annetjie Dames. Gallery picture Reel-mistress Mariette Kotze.
For more information on the dictionary project go to www.dictionaryforlife.co
For more on Usborne Publishers go to www.usborne.com