The Times South Africa recently published an article about
the German exchange students who have been attending Ponelopele Oracle
Secondary School in Ivory Park, Midrand, North of Johannesburg since November
last year. Laura Fricke and Joschka Geczy, both 17 years old arrived in
South Africa last year and have been living with host families in Tembisa, East
Rand and Kaalfontein Midrand. They may
be different from everyone else in the township, but they say the only thing
different about them is their skin colour.
“I am very impressed by the level of discipline at the
school”, Geczy said. “The teachers here take their work very seriously,
ultimately leading to pupils taking their work very seriously”. Fircke said the
uniform gave them another sense of belonging. “It does not make us look and
feel any different from the rest of the pupils and the teachers don’t treat us
any different from them”, she said.
The no-fee school produced Gauteng’s top matriculant of
2013, Praise Ndebele, 18, who achieved eight distinctions, including full marks
for Maths and Science.
Fricke and Geczy are part of the AFS Intercultural Programme
– an exchange programme operating in more than 50 countries. They arrived in
South Africa late last year and have been living with host families in Tembisa,
East Rand and Kaalfontein, Midrand. They were named Rethabile (“we are happy”
in Sesotho) and Jabulani (“rejoice” or “be happy” in isiZulu) by their host
“mothers”. “My mom (Rosina Mokoena) is overprotective of me and my four
“sisters”. People here are friendly and very accommodating”, Fricke said.
The pair will be in the country until August.