South Africa 25 October: Johannesburg - Pretoria
Southern Africa 25 Oct, 2013
Johannesburg and Pretoria
We were very happy to start the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run in Johannesburg at the Inkanyezi Waldorf School in Alexandria, visiting our old friends at this unique school. Alexandria township, made famous by former residents like ex President Nelson Mandela, holds a special place in the heart of Johannesburg.
Running into the school through Alex.
Our team was bolstered by Mary from Lesotho (holding the South African flag) and Anna from Zambia (holding the torch) both of whom were on the Peace Run for the first time.
Mark and Aion plunged right in upon arrival after 24 hours flying, plus a 9-hr layover in Hong Kong.
Today is the last full day that Penny and Cliff are with the Run. Although they grew up in Johannesburg their Chinese background shows through and the school children invariably guess that they are Chinese before they say anything!
In the background a class is learning groundskeeping skills, laying sod, pruning and planting seed.
We were very happy to offer a certificate of appreciation and a print of Sri Chinmoy's "Happiness" painting were presented by Dhiraja to Dimitri, chosen for his peaceful and calm demeanor.
Solly, the headmaster, who came out of retirement to run the school had so much love for the students that it seemed to shine through at each moment!
What a great run we had through Alex with the school. It was full of joy and enthusiam. It started gently...
We are hoping to meet the President this weekend and present this flag signed by all the students to him. It says "We the children of South Africa pledge to work for peace and harmony in our beautiful country"
Mary, originally of Lesotho, shares the torch with Headmaster Solly Mashiloane in his office. Here they create a tableau vivant in homage to Vermeer for Balarka's camera.
A drummer added a beat to the Peace Run Song played over the loud speaker giving the school children a lot of energy.
Allie van Niekerk, the Deputy Principal of Arcadia Primary School very kindly arranged the visit to the school at short notice.
Zandile and Chipo took turns reading a Peace Run essay they wrote for the occasion reproduced in part below:
The school's fastest boy runner and girl runner carry the torch round the school followed by an enthusiastic throng.
We arrived at Village Waldorf School at 12:40h, and were happy to give our Peace Run presentation to a beautiful school.
Stacey presented this beautiful painting on peace by Sri Chinmoy to to the school's Elizabeth Swanpoel. I noticed the staff and students later looking at the painting with great interest. Our certificate of appreciation was presented later outside to Linda Raubenheiner and students Chloe, Kopantsho and Nica.
We were very happy to be able finish off our run for the day at Freedom Park in Pretoria. Freedom Park is a beautiful monument to freedom that has been constructed on a hill overlooking the city. Here we are running up the hill.
At the amphitheatre of Freedom Park, Acting Department Head Tembeka Ngcebetsha received the Peace Torch and presented her own pledge for peace.
Balarka spoke for a few minutes on how the ideals of the Peace Run resonate so powerful with those of Freedom Park. The Peace Runners felt that Sri Chinmoy, the founder of the run, would have seen the visit to Freedom Park and Freedom Park itself as such a victory for for world peace. In Sri Chinmoy's own words:
We presented a certificate of our deep appreciation to Freedom Park for allowing us to pay homage to this beautiful place.
Holding the torch with Elsa is Preeti (right) who was kind enough to offer to guide us around the park later.
Our group tour begins at the Wall of Names which commemorates those who perished in the struggle for freedom.