A shining star in the middle of a township
South Africa: The first Waldorf kindergarten in a South African township was founded in July 1987 and later developed into a proper school. Today about 360 children and 20 teachers attend Inkanyezi Waldorf School and the community centre on London Road in Alexandra (except during the World Cup 2010, when all schools were closed).
Alexandra is a densely populated township in the middle of Johannesburg and London Road is a thoroughfare. Several times children, parents and teachers alike had to fight for their school to create and maintain a place of peace amidst violence and social unrest. In 1992, the “Guardian” newspaper published a report: “A small star shines in the darkness of Alexandra” referring to the name Inkanyezi, which means “starlight”. Even today one can still see bullet holes in the walls of the school – a reminder of those difficult times.
Over the years Inkanyezi has evoked much positive amazement, mainly due to its activities offered, such as painting, handicrafts, eurythmy, fairy tales and stories, all of which are completely unknown to the average township people. In fact, it is not uncommon that Inkanyezi students perform Shakespeare's Othello or visit a community centre for adults with special needs.
On the playground strict rules apply and fights are not allowed on the school’s property. Inner calm is restored especially on Thursday mornings, when everyone gathers for the children’s service, which from the beginning has been a key element for the people at this school.
Since 1989 the Friends of Waldorf Education support the development of the Inkanyezi School, funding buildings, paying salaries for many years, and making mentoring visits possible. Today, although the school receives a government grant, financial resources are still not sufficient to cover the entire budget. Thus, to be able to continue admitting children from financially disadvantaged families, the school is in need of further donations.