South Africa: In the isolated area of Madietane in Limpopo Province there is a small Waldorf School called Lesedi. With the help of seven teachers and other people who take care of the daily tasks at the school, the school offers 150 children an education, as well as a place to stay in the school hostel. The hostel makes it possible for the children from neighbouring villages, whose parents are not able to afford transport costs, to attend school.
The poverty of her family, who lived in the homeland, left Emily Moabelo with no other choice, but to leave Madietane and go to Johannesburg to look for a job. She found a job as housekeeper in a very well to do household. After a while, her employers, who had not failed to notice that the young Emily Moabelo was very talented, offered to pay for her to study at Baobab College in Johannesburg.
As soon as Emily had received her certificate, she returned to Madietane to do something about the desolate state of the educational institutions there. In 1990 she founded a kindergarten with 30 children, two nursery school teachers and a cook, which later grew to be the Lesedi Waldorf School.
Due to the rapid growth from kindergarten to primary school, they started running out of space. First they moved into the church, where the end of term performances take place until this day, and then they moved into a former clinic, which had been founded by a German doctor, who was returning to Germany and who gave the school the building. Since then the Lesedi Waldorf School has its own property, which has been renovated and extended thanks to many donations. There are now classrooms, huts for the teachers and a kitchen.
In 2006 the school suffered a severe blow when Emily Moabelo and two further co-workers were killed in a car accident. The staff continued to run the school, but they were not able to prevent a financial crisis, because they didn’t have enough knowledge about bookkeeping and fundraising. The Federation of Waldorf Schools in South Africa and the Friends of Waldorf Education were able to ensure the continued existence of the school. In the end the great effort was worth it, the regular payments from the government resumed and the school slowly recovered. Today the school is steadily growing and the buildings are being upgraded, step by step, so that the children can have the best possible environment in which to live and learn.
Click here for the South African fairy tale The most precious light of all, which is told at Lesedi Waldorf School.