Over the past 30 years Germany, South Africa and the DSP have been building bridges on various levels to overcome the walls that divide us. In 2019 we therefore celebrate “30 years of encounter” with a varied programme of political discussions, workshops, sport- and cultural events under the umbrella theme “Education builds bridges”.
On 9 November 1989 the Berlin Wall fell and led the way to the process of reunification of Germany on 3 October 1990. 30 years ago this event became a symbol for the end of the Cold War, the breakdown of the Soviet Union and the end of the bipolar world system.
In South Africa there was also a transformation process taking place concurrently.
On 15 August 1989 F. W. de Klerk was appointed as the President of South Africa. He opened a dialog with the ANC and announced the end of the Apartheid system. After some negotiations Nelson Mandela was released on 11 February 1990, after 27 years in prison. This day became symbolic of the political transformation process that led to democratic elections and a new democratic constitution of South Africa.
Introduction of the NSek branch (Teilzweig) 1989/1990
At the very same time, the German schools in southern Africa decided to open their doors to enrol learners from the nearby townships. A branch with English as medium of instruction was introduced, after receiving a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Germany, that the costs would be fully covered.
Thereafter the relationships with the primary schools in the townships were consolidated and a preparation course (like today’s Saturday School) was implemented to select talented learners. In Johannesburg the first class was enrolled in 1989. In Pretoria it was in 1990 when the first 6c (Standard 6 = Grade 8) was enrolled.
From this point onwards the German Schools are „Begegnungsschulen” (Schools of Encounter).
In 2019 we are aware that the process of reuniting the nation in Germany is still not finalised after 30 years. The process of reconciliation in South Africa might even span over several generations to come.
Against this background we celebrate the success of the DSP as a School of Encounter. Here outreach takes place within a microcosm between black and white, rich and poor, Germans and South Africans. The school community has accepted the challenge for outreach and reconciliation and achieves remarkable results to support the transformation process in South Africa!
Head of New Secondary School
Tel: +27 (0)12 803-4106/7/8