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iSimangaliso celebrates African World Heritage Day
In celebration of African World Heritage Day on 5th of May 2018, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority and the Seychelles Island Foundation (SIF) partnered to exchange information about two of their respective World Heritage Sites.
The main aim of the African World Heritage celebration is to increase global awareness of African Heritage. A number of activities were organised on the continent by various African countries to celebrate this day, with a special focus on the active involvement of youth as future custodians of our irreplaceable cultural and natural heritage.
iSimangaliso selected two local schools that recently visited iSimangaliso on a school excursion, (above) Ikusasalethu High School and (below) Echwebeni Primary School, to participate in the letter exchange with schools in the Seychelles Islands.
In the Seychelles, learners from the Aldabra and Vallee de Mai World Heritage Sites (managed by SIF) wrote letters to learners living in and around iSimangaliso (managed by the iSimangaliso Authority). Through poems, pictures and stories, the learners from each site shared experiences of their unique natural heritage.
Maria Brioche, Education and Outreach Programme Officer at SIF noted that their foundation is “very interested in doing this exchange with the children living near the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, as it is a great opportunity to strengthen the ties between fellow African UNESCO World Heritage Sites”.
According to Mrs Khambule, an educator at Echwebeni, “one of the great things about being a neighbouring school to iSimangaliso is that we get free access to the park for an educational trip. This gives our learners a perfect opportunity to learn about their World Heritage Site and their natural and cultural values. This is how we create future conservationists who will conserve South Africa’s natural and cultural landscape.”
The South African learners were very excited to share their part of the world with another country. “This exchange gives Ikusasalethu an opportunity to create a relationship with schools in the Seychelles. We also want the learners in the Seychelles to see how beautiful iSimangaliso is and how many rare animals and plants we have. We want them to see how special iSimangaliso is to us,” stated Mxolisi Mgenge, a learner at Ikusasalethu High.
The knowledge exchange had a positive effect on the students. “Our learners feel special now that they can communicate with other children in the Seychelles… they are even more participative in class,” reported the deputy principal of the Ikusasalethu High, Mrs Gumede.
Sifiso Vumase, Environmental Education Officer at the iSimangaliso Authority, was deeply impressed by the educators and learners of Ikusasalethu High and Echwebeni Primary. “These schools were so ready to participate and you can see that the learners put so much effort into their letters. They really wanted the Seychelles to see what they learnt at iSimangaliso and how much fun they had on their visit to the Park. It is great to see the passion the learners have for iSimangaliso”.