Community Partnerships – A VITAL ROLE

By Steuart Pennington

Community partnerships are important, whether they be between a town and the community which it serves, or a business and the community it draws its labour from, or a privileged school and the under-resourced schools serving the community in its area.

We constantly read about South Africa society being divided, being unequal, being marginalized.

Sadly, we read little about the extraordinary energy to reverse this, to connect, to equalize and to include those communities that have been, and still are, marginalized.

It is true that we have first-world excellence living side-by-side with the challenges of the developing world; opulent suburbs across the road from shantytowns; superbly resourced schools down the road from depressingly under-resourced schools.

Community partnerships are essential if we are to draw these different worlds together.

Shea O’Connor Combined

Emiyezaneni High
The Audience
Art Exhibition

The Michaelhouse Community Partnership Trust (MCPT), situated in the Midlands of Natal is one such initiative, spending increasing energy on building partnerships with local under-resourced schools.

This energy extends to improving academic excellence, developing talent on the sports field, and the encouragement and celebration of culture.

On 18 Sept MCPT hosted 13 under-resourced schools to compete in an Art and Choir competition from Grade R to Grade 12.

Truly, the Art was superb, the Choir energy was pulsating; the rhythm extraordinary; the singing beautiful; the harmonies melodious; the dancing unbelievably vibrant – not to forget the exuberant audience response.

The schools that competed were Bruntville Primary; Corrie Lynn Primary; Crystal Springs Primary; Curry’s Post Primary; Dabulamanzi Combined; Esiphethwini Sendiza Primary; Hawkstove Primary; Jabula Combined; Lions River Primary; Nottingham Road Primary; Sibonokuhle Primary; Emiyezaneni High; Shea O’Connor Combined – all located in the Midlands of Natal, many on the famous Midlands Meander.

Ever heard of them?

Jabula Combined

So, as I mentioned to begin with, we live in a very separate, divided and marginalized society.

Community partnerships are not just important, they are a must if we are to build our future together.

Some of the proud Prize Winners from Esiphethwini Sendiza Primary