Primary schools twinning programme
Funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund has allowed the Harlequin Foundation to expand the eMzantsi primary schools twinning programme for three years from 2009.
While performing at the eMzantsi Carnival is the ostensible reason for the programme, the workshops from term 2 to term 4 have another more profound motivation. They provide a safe space for children from different cultures and backgrounds to interact, have fun and build relationships. Every fortnight they take it in turns to travel to each otherís schools in the eMzantsi minibus and they get to know another community on the way. For many children, it is the first time they have been out of their suburb and into a neighbouring but very different environment.
While eMzantsi is well known for its intercultural focus, the programme is not only breaking down barriers along racial lines. The involvement of the LSEN school is allowing special needs children the chance to interact with their differently-abled peers, and discover talents in each other they never knew they had.
This is a very simple way to confront fears and banish stereotypes. While UCT is monitoring the short term effect of the programme on childrenís attitudes towards each other, the long term impact of this interaction is difficult to quantify. But if it allows even a few children a positive experience of a neighbouring community that they would not otherwise have had, it is making a valuable contribution to community-building and nation-building in the south peninsula.