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South African freedom fighter visits Settle Primary School
9:00am Saturday 9th March 2013 in News
South African freedom fighter Zola Sibeko visited Settle Primary School.
A contemporary and friend of Nelson Mandela, Zola grew up in Kwesana, where Settle has a partner school – a link which has strengthened considerably since its inception around three years ago. Zola, who fought against the apartheid regime alongside Mr Mandela, now lives in the UK and came to Settle to express his gratitude for the benefits the partnership with Kwesana is bringing to his home town.
Zola said: “The link is making an immense difference to life in Kwesana. Thanks to Settle Primary School they have an extra teacher in Kwesana and are developing initiatives inspired and made possible by the friendship.” Kwesana headteacher Jennifer Mbatani has visited Settle and Settle governor Gillian Gape, teaching assistant Sarah Entwistle and IT technician Richard Freytag went to South Africa last year to help out in the school.
Following the visits, the children in both schools have established strong links, communicating regularly and sharing experiences of life in both towns. Since the exchange, thanks to fundraising in Settle, Kwesana has set up baking classes and is expanding its sport provision to offer further opportunities in rugby and athletics. Settle headteacher Richard Wright said: “The link has also started to expand into the wider community, which is fantastic.
“Fundraising has gone to help Kwesana set up a garden area to teach cultivation skills to the children, and our partner ChipMonks, the children’s day nursery, is supporting the partnership by funding a gardener to work on this project in Kwesana.”
Zola spent time with class six, working with them on their topic War and Conflict.
Mr Wright said: “We were delighted and honoured to welcome Zola to our school.
“It was inspiring for class six to meet someone so closely connected with the struggle against apartheid, bringing an aspect of the world’s recent history to life, prompting lots of questions and thought around the War and Conflict topic.
“I would like to thank him for giving up his time to visit our school.”