Protest is slammed

South African parents protesting for schools to be openAs hundreds of parents and pupils took to the streets of Uitenhage on Wednesday to march against the shortage of teachers in their schools acting provincial education boss Mthunywa Ngonzo fired a salvo at them.

The march came after close to 100 angry parents closed 16 schools in the western parts of Uitenhage this week in a move aimed at forcing the department of education to act against teacher shortages.

“We want temporary teachers to get paid by the department because teachers are being paid by the school governing body,” school governing body spokesperson in the area Lourens Molsert said on Wednesday.

Ngonzo acknowledged a shortage of teachers throughout the province, but said the Uitenhage area was “not in the department’s priority”.

“The Uitenhage area is not even in our priority because in the past it has enjoyed an abundance of resources. There are schools which are really having a shortage of teachers. You go to Lusikisiki, Flagstaff or Libode in the Pondoland area and you will find our learners and teachers in difficult and stressful conditions,” said Ngonzo.

He said the department was attending to the problem of teacher shortages in the whole province and could not “specifically focus” on the Uitenhage area.

“We plead for community patience on this matter,” said Ngonzo.

He said the department would first have to move excess teachers to schools where there is a shortage and then attend to the problem in the Uitenhage area “if there is one”.

source: The New Age / SITHANDIWE VELAPHI

2013 Nelson Mandela Bay Book at PE Opera House

Alert! The programme for the second annual Nelson Mandela Bay Book Fair has been released. Some highlights from the fair, which will be held at The Opera House in Port Elizabeth from 14 – 16 March, include the following:

Thursday 14 March

Amabali Neentsomi: Workshop on African traditional story-telling in isiXhosa, facilitated by Jessica Mbangeni and Kholeka Sigenu.

Is Language Free? – New Activism in Language and Culture: Facilitated by Mcoseleli Dukisa with the panel consisting of Mandla Matyumza, Professor Ncedile Saule, Ntsiki Mazwai, Professor Cornelius Thomas, Dr. Don Mattera and Gontse Chaane.

Friday 15 March

Writing, Spirituality and Politics: Facilitated by Professor Xolela Mangcu, this presentation looks at what has been gained and lost against the backdrop of democratisation and shift in power to the majority of the citizenry in South Africa. How the changes impacted on the ability of writers to speak the truth to power.

The State of South African Literature: Facilitated by Sisi Maqagi with a panel consisting of Niq Mhlongo, Siphiwo Mahala, Mzi Mahola, Dr. Linda Kwatsha, Jessica Mbangeni and Buysile Western Kwenene.

Saturday 16 March

Workshop: Writing Poetry with Robert Berold.

Poetry Session: Don Mattera, Vonani Bila, Mzi Mahola, Ntsiki Mazwai, Mphutlane Bofelo, Madoda Ndlakuse, Sabata Mokae and Lesego Rampolokeng.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Book Fair (MBBF) is a project of Ikhwelo Writing Project and Imbizo Arts of South Africa. The project started in 2012. The organisers with the spirit of reaching out to all communities of the Nelson Mandela Bay hosted the Book Fair at Red Location Museum in 2012, and the 2013 edition will be hosted at The Opera House.

The purpose of the Book Fair is not tourist attraction but the promotion of the value of books and what they contain. The MBBF 2013 edition is made possible by the sponsorship from Eastern Cape Provincial Arts Council (ECPACC), Department of Arts and Culture (Nationally) and the Port Elizabeth Opera House. The guest writers invited for 2013 MBBF Edition are:

– Dr Don Matterra
– Jessica Mbangeni
– Niq Mhlongo
– Ntsiki Mazwai
– Boffelo Mpotlane
– Dr Simpiwe Sesanti
– Prof Ncedile Saule
– Dr Motsoko Pheko
– Duma kaNdlovu
– Siphiwo Mahala
– Lesego Rampolokeng

There will also be a host of local artists including Mzi Mahola, Prof Robert Berold (Rhodes University), Dr Linda Kwatsha (NMMU), Dr Cornelius Thomas (Rhodes University), Ntsika Tyatya, Babalwa Kona, Mthuthuzeli Zealand, Soga Mlandu, Mpumi Chilibe, etc.