A group of Sixth Form girls from Portsmouth High School made the 6,000 mile journey to South Africa, on the final day of the summer term, for an educational and cultural experience of a lifetime.
The girls stayed at Spion Kop Lodge, near Ladysmith (about 300 miles south of Johannesburg) on the edge of a game reserve and within sight of the Battle of Spion Kop, one of the battles of the Boer War, which took place in 1900. They learnt about the war, had a guided battlefield tour and discussed the history of South Africa including a personal experience of what life was like under Apartheid from Raymond one of the lodge owners. During the moving afternoon, Imogen Dyne, 17, managed to find her great-uncle’s name on a memorial from the Battle of Spion Kop.
The girls and accompanying teachers also spent time at Schitsdrift School, the local Zulu school, delivering lessons and spending time playing games and sport outside of the classroom. The Zulu children were from very humble backgrounds but the delight in their faces every morning when the girls arrived was an unforgettable experience for all.
There was also time to take part in many cultural experiences. As well as the battlefields tour there was a chance to witness the large game animals native to South Africa including elephants, giraffe, rhino and many more, whilst taking in the stunning scenery of the Drakensburg Mountains.
‘The highlight of the trip for me was teaching the children at Schitsdrift School,’ said Felicity Duck, 17. ‘It was beautiful and moving to see how grateful and touched the children were simply for our time. It made me realise how lucky I really am to receive such a wonderful education with brilliant opportunities such as the chance to go on this trip. This was an unforgettable, enriching experience that I will never forget.’
‘This was a fantastic two week experience, which will stay with the girls for many years to come,’ said Paul Simpson one of the teachers on the trip.