Resource 3: Safety

Teacher resource for planning or adapting to use with pupils

Safety starts with the spirit of Ubuntu by Buyi Mbambo

When I was growing up I felt safe. I could walk everywhere by myself; I could go to the forest to collect wood; I could go to the river, even if I was the only one on the long, winding footpath. The only things I was afraid of were imaginary ghosts, wild rats, and maybe the cattle I would cross paths with.

The sight of a human being, an adult, was a welcome one, because whatever came from them was filled with love and concern. Yes, adults would be angry that I was on my own late in the afternoon; they would wait for me and help me put the bucket on my head. They would make sure I took the safest route home; sometimes they would shout for people to meet me half way. On the way to and from school, there would always be an adult curious about where we were going, concerned about how late we were, or about our appearance.

In my mind, as a child, adults were nosey. They did not hesitate to go home and tell my parents they had seen me doing something wrong; by the time I reached home I would have been ‘talked to’ seriously by all adults, whether they knew me or not. Nosey or not, I had a privileged childhood, as did many of today’s adults.

A lot has changed for today’s children. Families have been broken up by a number of factors; the culture and spirit of concern and high regard for children, and for one another, has been destroyed. Children and families live more and more in isolation and there is a general hesitancy about becoming ‘involved’ in the affairs of your neighbour, even if your involvement could save a life.

Extract taken from: Children First

Building concepts and vocabulary

Words and phrases you could discuss in this passage are:

imaginary ghosts; route; curious; nosey; did not hesitate; a privileged childhood; culture and spirit of concern; in isolation; a general hesitancy; becoming ‘involved’.

See whether there are pupils who can explain these words and phrases. Try to explain in English, with the help of examples. Then do not hesitate to use home language equivalents to help them understand.

Building understanding of punctuation usage

One feature of the punctuation of this passage you could discuss is the use of the semi-colon (;). The semi-colon separates two pieces of writing which are structurally complete sentences. However, the meaning of the one piece has a close connection to the other, and you want to show that close connection through the punctuation you use. The reader does not pause as long for a semi-colon as for a full stop. Look with your pupils at the places where semi-colons are used, and talk about the structure of a sentence.

Resource 2: Lesson transcript

Resource 4: Who is my father?