Local LeadersOur community is the Coloured community of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. With special emphasis on leaders in the community who can in one way or the other be connected with Paterson High School. The Coloured community is the people of mixed race in South Africa. The school, Paterson High, is situated in a Coloured residential area. Although the majority of pupils attending the school are Coloured, the school have for years admitted pupils from all race groups of whom we are equally proud. Paterson High is one of the oldest existing Coloured high schools in the country. The school is situated in a lower-socio economic area, having been one of the first areas Coloureds moved to after the intro- duction of the Group Areas Act under Apartheid. Most of the other pupils attending the school also come from lower-socio economic communities. Yet, over the years the pupils and teachers have made their mark in trying to bring about change. Our school are proud of all its achievers and salute them all. The doors of learning are open to all and the school is a place of learning for all pupils. But the focus focus is on the Coloured community to see what some of their members accomplished as a source of information and inspiration to others who think we don’t really have leaders or role models.
Description of our Community
Summary of Our Project It would focus on leaders who had some connection with Paterson High School (Pupil/Teacher) and who are members of the Coloured community (people of mixed race). The main purpose of the project would be to focus on leaders from the school and community in order to give recogntion to them and to let the pupils and the world know that we definitely have leaders and role models coming from our community. This must be seen in the light of a community with different perspectives of the role and place of the Coloured community in South Africa. The perspectives include seeing the Coloured community as part of the Black community and on the other hand seeing it as a group with an own. We are all part of the HUMAN RACE, but there is no denying the existence of different communities even race groups. it is unfortunate that race came to be used for prejudice, apartheid, demeaning and people. Because of the differences in background and the identification with various other races/groups there can be some confusion and an identity crisis for some. We want our pupils and people to know that there are leaders and people we can look up to. We may even disagree with some people, but if they represent a group, we have to give recognition to them in most instances.
Pupils taking part in the project learned about RESEARCH, GROUP WORK, ASSIGNMENT & PROJECT DEVELOPMENT, HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY, POLITICS, COMPUTERS , WORD- PROCESSING, the INTERNET andd INTERVIEWING. The first thing we had to do was to inform pupils about the project. After that interested parties were invited to join the project group. First we had to decide on a category in which all pupils could partici- pate. GROUP WORK skills had to be developed and applied. The had to learn and develop skills for research purposes and to complete assignments, reports and projects. They learned something about history-how and why some of these leaders got to be involved, they learned about geography-places, politics-power/struggle/democracy, computers-some were exposed to it for the first time, wordpro- cessing to compile their research in reports, the internet-how it works and interviewing skills-to get information from people.
Tools used included TELEPHONE INTERVIEWS & GENERAL COMMUNICATION & INFOR- MATION purposes. DIGITAL STILL CAMERAS were used for some photos. SCANNERS were used to SCAN pictures and information. ‘PAPER’ TOOLS included BOOKS, NEWSPAPERS, MAGAZINES, NEWSLETTERS, SCRAPBOOKS and notes taken from interviews. The technology was on loan and the paper tools were from libraries, the school, individuals and organisations.
In our community we are the only school participating in the CYBERFAIR and also the only linked to the internet through our sponsors. Since most of the schools in our community don’t even have computers and pupils are not exposed to it, we seem to be fortunate to be exposed to such technology. Most of the personal information were received through telephonic contact by pupils. Most of the leaders are not available locally and not easy to get hold of. But everybody pupils, teachers, people in general who were told about it and the subjects that were told about it, seemed to be excited by it.
The difference in the school community is that teachers and pupils who were never aware of some of the leaders and their connection to the school seem to be interested in getting more information about the project. Firstly, they had to be informed about computers, the internet and how technology make it possible for information to become available all over the world in record time. The story concerning the leaders were secondary for some. The project for us was to expose our leaders primarily. Explaining the computer and technology side were difficult for some pupils who lacked broader know- ledge. Also there seem to be an interest to get to know about other leaders, as well.
Here we wish to thank Mr Aldrin Slater from the company Rhone Polenc. We also wish to thank his manager, Ian Murphy. Mr Slater was of tremendous help. His patience, his effort, his interest and his willingness to be involved can only be commented. Our secretary, Mrs Mercia Baatjies, through her initiave in keeping a scrapbook and record of the achievements and newsworthy activities of Patersonians was a valuable source of information. A big thank you to her. Our principal, Mr R.A. Peterson, for giving me as teacher the freedom to attempt any project that contribute to a better education for the pupil and linking them with the real world and the ‘world’. Thank you, sir. For the leaders who participated in interviews and who supplied information and things. Thanks. Thank you also for your efforts, for being role models, for offering yourself for a better life and future for others. Thank you to the members of the Computer Society of South Africa and all the other persons involved in the CyberFair. Thank you to our members and fellow pupils. Working together was exciting! Thank you to all participants whose contributions gives new insights!
This project made us realise how little we know of our community. We have build up links with some of the leaders who through organisations might in some way help with other school projects. We have learned that through people becoming active and involved in projects, they seem to learn more. We have come to realise that education is about being involved. We definitely want to learn more about ourselves, because only than can we truly become what we want to become.