BELA Bill Outrage
In November 2017, when the BELA Billwas published for public comment, an atmosphere of outrage and dread settled on homeschoolers in South Africa. Will home schooling become illegal, or too difficult? Will it still be possible to choose the kind of education that you as a parent considers in the best interest of your children?
Homeschoolers Rise to the Occasion
Soon it became apparent that homeschoolers were not going to quietly lie down and disappear. As responsible and concerned citizens they flooded the DBE with their comments on the BELA Bill. The same happened after the Draft Policy on Home Education was published a few weeks later. Rising above their doubts and fears, homeschoolers reaffirmed their right to direct their children’s education in their children’s best interests.
Hope in Russia
To the attendees from South Africa the Global Home Education Conference 2018 in Russia was a confirmation of this hope in a better future, where families can be reunited and live a meaningful life together – yes, in home education. In the former Soviet country home education is flourishing, as families take the responsibility for raising their children themselves, instead of abdicating this right to the state.
Whose idea was the Indaba?
The attendees from South Africa were Shirley and Riaan Erwee; Megan Puchert; Bouwe, Debbie and Diederik van der Eems; and Uda, Katrina and Karin van Oostrum, who also serves on the Board of the GHEC. Together with the GHEX board representatives from Kenya and Uganda, Liz Gitonga and Godfrey Kyazze, respectively, the South African delegation decided to launch our own African Home Education Indaba (AHEI), to celebrate home schooling in Africa! Together with the East Africa Community of Homeschoolers the Pestalozzi Trust is hosting and organising AHEI – the African Home Education Indaba. This is a feast, a celebration, for all homeschooling families in Africa.
Indaba a symbol of hope
The Indaba is a confirmation of parents’ belief in a better future for their families. The Pestalozzi Trust, the legal defence fund for home schooling in South Africa, has since its inception had close contact with the homeschooling organisations in countries like the USA and Canada, where homeschooling has been legal and flourishing for decades. The very fact that homeschooling was legalised in South Africa was a direct result of a letter writing campaign supported by homeschoolers in the USA. Homeschooling is a universal language of parents who love their offspring: homeschoolers unite across the world, and now also in Africa. Although the right to home education is protected in international treaties and documents like the UDHR (1948), parents all over the world, Africa included, continually have to fight for their right to decide which education will be in the best interest of their children.
Who’ll attend the Indaba?
AHEI is for every homeschooler in South Africa. Let us show our strength! You can’t afford to stay at home! Book your place here. Starting out? Come and find all the info you need – learn from the experts, chat to fellow homeschoolers, enjoy the time with your family. Veteran? Get clarity on those aspects you have never really understood; strengthen your family ties, receive new insights and vistas.
Who’ll speak at the Indaba?
Meet international speakers and experts in real life: Dr. Brian Ray, Mike Donnelly, Canute Waswwwwa, Dr. Debra Bell, Liz Gitonga, Martie du Plessis, Peter Stock, Dr. Renuka Ramroop, Alexey Komov, Karin van Oostrum, … the list goes on and on. See our facebook page and our website for more info on the speakers. These speakers have graciously agreed to share their wisdom with us, some travelling many hours to reach us, to talk to us.
Which topics will be dealt with?
Themes that will be dealt with include the following (see the full programme on www.ghex.africa):
- The Practice of Home Education: The Nuts and Bolts of Home Education
- Parents and families share their journeys
- Home Education as a Human Right
- Approaches to Home Education
- Home Education Regulation: What is in the Best Interests of the Children?
- Freedom in Home Education
- How do I guarantee Success in Home Education?
- Support Structures in Home Education: Join up!
- It takes a village…: Home Education and the Community
Ample time has been allowed for networking and for catching up with friends and speakers. A curriculum expo will be held on Saturday the 19th of October, but some curriculum suppliers will already be exhibiting on the Thursday and the Friday. The film SELF-TAUGHT will be shown on Thursday night the 17th of October, and on Friday the 18th of October a Potjiekos competition will be held. Entry forms are available here. The closing date for the competition has been extended to 16/10/2019. A full kiddies’ programme will also be offered, including horse riding, jumping castle, kinderkinetics, cooking demonstrations, self-defence demonstrations, marimba class, guitar demonstrations, music by homeschoolers, first aid demonstrations. A kiosk will also be available for snacks and lunches. The CEO of Brainline Learning World, Coleen Cronjé, has offered their lovely premises as the venue for the Indaba. Brainline is also graciously sponsoring a typical South African “pap & wors” supper for those watching the film on Thursday night.
Why the Indaba?
- Because we are celebrating families reunited and lives saved.
- Because the joys of home schooling so far surpass the woes.
- Because in the face of the BELA Bill, we need to confirm our belief that we are acting in our children’s best interests, and we need to confirm it publicly, together.
- Because we are celebrating 21 years of the existence of the Pestalozzi Trust, defending homeschoolers’ right to home education.
- Because in spite of many obstacles – legal, social and political – families still flock together in times of crisis, and protect and guide their young ones.
- Because, while home schooling has come of age in Africa, the best is yet to come!