Insurance Giant Backs Rural Schools

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By Surihe Gaomas and Lesley-Anne van Wyk OTJIMBINGWE Giving back to the community is one humble way of uplifting the lives of those in disadvantaged positions especially in rural areas. Some inhabitants believe most donations from both the Government and outside companies go toward the improvement of urban areas, especially schools. However, a much welcomed and appreciated change has offered relief to those overlooked rural settlements. Old Mutual on Friday donated school equipment to three schools in the Otjimbingwe and Omatjete areas. Speaking at the Otjiperongo Junior Secondary School, Alpheus !Naruseb said: “We have all come from humble beginnings. This sort of donation is a step towards allowing the way to be paved for others, indeed those who need it the most, to decide their destiny too.” He thanked Old Mutual for their donation of a fax and a photocopy machine to the rural school and for responding positively to his request on behalf of the schools. The minister pointed out that the donation was in line with the Old Mutual Foundation’s “quest to responsiveness to national development needs and indeed enhancing its role as a responsible corporate citizen”. The minister added that Old Mutual’s actions were “reaffirming the ideals of independence”. Old Mutual expressed the hope that the schools would use the equipment for the overall benefit of the learners. The acting principal of the Da Palm Secondary School in Otjimbingwe, Helena Xoagus, said that with the donation the school has the capability to start a much needed and desired computer laboratory for the Otjimbingwe community. The donation coincided with the Day of the African Child, which is held in solidarity and recognition of the atrocities that took place in South Africa in the Soweto Uprising on June 16, 1976. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the uprising that was sparked by the oppressive education laws of the apartheid government. Aside from the conditions in the township at the time, which included rampant crime and poverty, the school children protested against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction, the language of their oppressors, the National Party. South Africa commemorated the day with a five-kilometre march along the same route the 1976 protestors took. President Thabo Mbeki also joined in this activity. Other events to celebrate the day included the countrywide release of ‘Sarafina!’ a stage production inspired by the events of 1976. Activities at Otjimbingwe included drama works by the students, an Owambo dance, and Herero and Damara drills and poems. As the dust settled in the rays of sun filtering through the Otjimbingwe Community Hall windows, lines of poetry about colonialism were heard. Strong young voices carried powerful words such as “we are here to celebrate knowing our rights” and “let the past be left in the past.” A final cry from the floor of the packed hall was, “Children of Africa, today is your day.”