Our Peace Runners were excited to visit Sea Point Primary School in Cape Town. We were last here in 2013; almost hard to imagine that it was 9 years ago, as the memory of our warm welcome is still fresh in our memories.
This welcome message reminds us that at the core of all our hopes is a longing for a country and a world that is united and not separated by outer differences - a world that embraces diversity across the board whether it be in race, religion, age, gender. South Africans proudly describe themselves as the Rainbow Nation, a term so aptly coined by our late Archbishop Desmond Tutu. And in the words of our beloved Nelson Mandela, during his inauguration speech in 1994, he expressed his hopes for the country in the following way, "...a rainbow nation at peace with itself, and the world."
What a fitting name for the school, Sea Point Primary, as it has a direct view of the Atlantic ocean. Breathtaking!
Thank-you to Principal Francois for giving us this opportunity to meet with the entire school. Here the team joins the older learners in their first assembly of the morning and Balarka introduces the Peace Run and the team.
We are told that today's school assembly was held because medals and certificates will be awarded (after our presentation) to learners for good work and exemplary behaviour, which forms an integral part of the school's belief in continual positive reinforcement.
Country guessing game with Penny, and her clue is that her grandparents come from the country that has a very cute, fluffy animal that loves to eat bamboo!
So many eager hands to guess where Shree is from.
We think it's unanimous, almost everyone here would like to be part of our Peace Run team. Of course you can - our key prerequisite being that everyone learns our motto, "Peace begins with me!"
Thank-you for a wonderful assembly Sea Point Primary and for embracing the message of the Peace Run.
...a good opportunity for the boys to strike a pose!
Our second assembly of the morning was with the younger learners of Sea Point Primary. Here Abhijatri introduces the team and asks whether anyone knows how many countries there are in the world, "Is it under 200?" The Peace Run team have visited 160 of the 195 countries in the world.
So many hands! Your country clue was too easy Penny!
Everyone listens intently to Shree.
Three of the school's custodians are happy to add their wishes for peace.
Thank-you Sea Point Primary and to Principal Francois, the teachers and learners. A magical morning.
Our next school for the day is located in a township called Gugulethu, which is a shortened version of the Xhosa words, "igugu lethu," which means "our pride".
We are happy to be welcomed by Bonga Primary School. Today we will not be addressing the learners of the school as it is the period for learner assessments. Instead we were invited by Councillor Mzwakhe Nqavashe to plant a tree as a symbol of peace at the school.
We will be planting a Spekboom tree (endemic to Southern Africa), chosen primarily for its ease of growth and its astounding drought resistance capability. It is said to survive on as little as 250 to 300mm of water per year; this is particularly relevant in our water-scarce country. In recent years, the spekboom tree has also been commended for its carbon-sequestration abilities. We love the idea that our Peace Tree will be standing with all trees in the world to fight against climate change.
Tata, is Bonga Primary's school gardener, who we are told is a real Mr Green Fingers and can grow anything. Here he prepares the soil with compost and phosphate before the planting ceremony.
What a glowing smile!
We hold a small ceremony to inaugurate our Peace Tree which in this photo includes from left to right, Principal Zita (holding the Peace Torch), Councillor Mzwakhe, Tata and Shree.
The Peace Tree and plaque has been planted on the edge of the school quadrangle where learners and teachers pass by on a daily basis. We hope that as the Spekboom sapling takes root and grows , that similarly the message of peace will resonate and grow in the hearts of all at Bonga Primary.
The plaque captures the aphorism written by Sri Chinmoy the founder of the Peace Run, "A moment's peace can and will make the world beautiful."
Here Principal Zita thanks the Peace Run team and emphasises his support for teaching the value of peace to all the young learners at the school so that it can be carried into the community alike.
Councillor Mzwakhe says that the culmination of today's events has been an exciting journey with the planting of the Peace Tree and that he and Principal Zita could hold the Peace Torch as a symbol of peace.
Abhijatri thanks Bonga Primary for this opportunity to visit the school and to share the message of peace. We are particularly grateful to Councillor Mzwakhe for his positive response and communications in coordinating and making today's tree inauguration ceremony possible. We look forward to further tree planting and Peace Run school visit opportunities with you.
Joyfulness - one of the many values that are cherished and nurtured at the school.
We love their motto.
Thank-you once again Councillor Mzwakhe and Bonga Primary!
Gugulethu is a lower socio-economic area and people are very enterprising in making successful businesses with virtually no resources.
A beautiful sunny day and in the far horizon we can see the edge of the iconic Table Mountain that is seen as a symbol of hope for many people. Even Nelson Mandela commented on how Table Mountain had been a source of hope for him during his years on Robben Island.
Our third and final school of the day is Holy Cross RC Primary School located in District Six.
Learners file together to gather for the outdoor assembly with the Peace Run team. We love how the motto, "Enter to learn, leave to serve." is also valued here.
Our Peace Run team is fond of visiting Holy Cross Primary School having visited the school both in 2017 and 2018. Our last Peace Run visit from 2018 is showcased on their school banner in blue in the background, and a photo of Shree, Penny and Mrs Zweni holding the Peace Torch can be seen.
We marvel at the school's library, which was a recent addition since our last visit. This room was originally used for the school assemblies which has since been beautifully transformed into a bright and welcoming library. Who wouldn't want to spend time here!
Here we all gather outdoors.
Mrs Zweni welcomes the Peace Run team and encourages the learners to listen closely to the message that the Peace Run team wish to convey. Today's assembly is also opened with well-known Catholic prayers so beautifully and soulfully recited by the learners.
Balarka introduces our team and shares how happy we are to be back at the school.
Everyone takes a moment to try feel peace within.
This young learner was so excited to see Abhijatri's watch and asked if it was a GPS sports watch. We see an avid runner and sportsman in the making!
We all sing the World Harmony Run song with actions!
Here Mrs Cloete thanks the team for sharing the important message of peace, saying that it is a message that can't reach far enough and we can't hear it often enough.
A group of learners line up in pairs to carry the Peace Torch in a Peace Run relay!
It's definitely easier to run down the hill.
Here Mrs Zweni and one of the head teachers take the opportunity to run with the Peace Torch up the hill.
With the end of our school visits for the day, our team head to Sunset Beach to run barefoot on the seemingly endless line of soft, white sand with South Africa's best known landmark, Table Mountain in glorious view.