A group of 17 South African teachers will come to McClymonds High School this Friday for an evening of music, performance, food, culture, and fun entitled “UBUNTU: South Africa Comes to Mack,” organized by the McClymonds Youth and Family Center, Culture Keepers after school program.
Culture Keepers, a program of the McClymonds Youth and Family Center that was funded by Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, has been focusing for the past few years on identity development, mentorship and genealogy.
This year, in addition to that work, Culture Keepers is organizing a group of 20 students and 10 mentors who will travel to South Africa in July for a two -week cultural exchange project.
“I want to go to South Africa because I want to travel! I’ve never been out of the country or out of the state, and I want to open my eyes to new sites,” said senior Alexis Hill.
Said senior Umiika Rose, “I’ve been to China, and I have seen how traveling has expanded my mindset and has given me great confidence by helping me conquer my fears of flying on an airplane.”
Added senior Cierra Marzett, “It’s important for me to go to South Africa so that I can learn more about the people I come from,” In preparation for the cultural exchange, McClymonds’ students has established a partnership with LEAP Science and Math Schools in South Africa and the organization Teach for Africa.
In preparation for the trip, McClymonds has reached out to a South African group of educators who have been visiting the Bay Area.
During the past month, 17 teachers from the LEAP Science and Math Schools have been serving as guest teachers throughout the area as part of Teach for Africa’s Global Teachers Institute: South Africa-USA Educator Exchange Program.
McClymonds and LEAP have a similar academic focus. McClymonds is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineer, Math) school, and LEAP’s primary focuses are science and math, which gives them a lot in common.
The name of Friday evening’s cultural event is UBUNTU, a South African word meaning “humanity to others” or “I am because we are.”
“It is important for McClymonds to host this group of South African teachers for solidarity. We are a Pan-African family and whenever we travel, we are not visitors, we are home,” said Dr. Siri Brown, chair of the African American Studies Department at Merritt College.
Said McClymonds sophomore Hailey King, “This is important because a lot of people in our community would otherwise, not be able to have this kind of experience or opportunity. They always say that youth like us are disadvantaged. Well, a trip like going to South Africa will help give us an advantage in this world.”
“UBUNTU: South Africa Comes to Mack” will be held on Friday, March 27, 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. in the game room at McClymonds High School in the game room, 2607 Myrtle Ave. in Oakland.