Luhlaza-Inda-School-Exchange (2003-2006)

The relationship between Inda-Gymnasium in Aachen and Luhlaza High School in Khayelitsha began in the form of pen pals involving grade 9 and grade 10 learners of both schools. In 2003 Ms Booi of Luhlaza and Ms Heidrun Cleven of Inda facilitated the first exchange. Five learners and Ms Booi herself arrived in Germany on the 1st of July 2003 and were welcomed by their hosts at Inda-Gymnasium. They stayed for the whole month of July.

The learners from Khayelitsha participated in language lessons (German and English) and during a project week together with their hosts and the German artists Uta Göbel-Groß and Brele Scholz and the South African artist Thulani Shuku, who also lives in Khayelitsha, they painted the huge outside wall of the sports-hall of the school.

During the swap-process to create the wall-art the learners actually “created” the Partnership logo!

The aim of this first exchange was to strengthen the partnership between the two schools, to communicate directly with each other, to get to know the different cultures and differences concerning the two schools and to exchange views on the ecological programmes. Everyone involved in the exchange agreed that these aims were met and that the exchange was a great success.

The connection between the guests and the hosts lasted for a few years and some friendships still continue. There was a great demand by the German learners to visit their new friends in Khayelitsha, but it was agreed, that it would be too dangerous for German youths and that Inda-Gymnasium could not take the responsibility for a vice-versa exchange at that time.

Consequently only one student, who was already 18 years old, came to Cape Town in December 2004 for a private visit – together with three Partnership officials. She did not stay with her “partner” in Khayelitsha, but with some ASA-exchange students in a student house in Observatory. She got a warm welcome at Luhlaza High in Khayelitsha and could team up with the five exchange students from 2003. She could also help two learners, who were unable to pay their school fees. “This example alone shows how great the impact of a school partnership can be. One simply has to take the first step!” Nora, the German exchange student, stated.

A vice-versa exchange finally happened in 2006. The school exchange even got its own official name: LISE (Luhlaza-Inda-School-Exchange). In April another group of five learners from Luhlaza High together with their teacher Kunji Socikwa came to visit Aachen. They created a huge flower made out of old Highway signposts as a piece of modern recycling-art together with their hosts at Inda-Gymnasium. And in October a group of German learners visited Cape Town. They stayed in a hostel in Woodstock and attended classes at Luhlaza while being carried 30 km out of town every day.

Unfortunately the school exchange came to an end after both principles at both schools resigned in the following year and the new principles were not interested in the exchange programme.