Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Pinterest is completely flooded with turkeys at the moment - it must be Thanksgiving in the US. From my non-American perspective, it's still easy to see what a huge deal it is for their country and it's considered one of their most important holidays. It's been making me reflect on South African holidays. According to the governmental website, we have the following holidays on our calendar this year:
1 January New Year's Day
2 January Public holiday
21 March Human Rights Day
6 April  Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)
9 April  Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27 April Freedom Day
1 May Workers' Day
16 June Youth Day
9 August National Women's Day
24 September Heritage Day
16 December Day of Reconciliation
17 December Public holiday
25 December Christmas Day
26 December Day of Goodwill

Phew, that seems like a lot!  As South Africa is a relatively new country, we celebrate things like our Constitution (Human Rights Day), our first free elections (Freedom Day), and reconciliation (Day of Reconciliation). We also celebrate the role of various groups against apartheid- such as labour movements (Workers' Day), students (Youth Day) and women (Women's Day). I think these are all great things to celebrate, and it's even better since we get all of these days as public holidays*.

When I was growing up, I had very little appreciation for all of these holidays, apart from the fact that they usually meant a day off school. Our South African holidays mark important, often tragic, events which happened on our way to a democracy. I hope that students in schools today will have the stories explained to them, even if they are violent, to show our new generations how far we have come. I would like to explain to my students what each of these holidays are, and why they can be proud of their country.

In other news, I had my first job interview yesterday. The panel were lovely, and although I was a bundle of nerves I seemed to make a good impression. Sadly, I did not get the position, though the principal of the school told me on the phone that she thinks I will make a great teacher. While I'm a bit sad that I didn't get the post, her words did help to boost my confidence. For now, it's back to sending out CVs and hoping.

*Unless you work at a private school, which I found out while teaching at Queenspark. They pick and choose which holidays they take, since they don't operate on the government calendar.

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