Pick A Pal
Another project under the Proud Partners banner was driven by Welgemoed Pre-primary School under the leadership of the then principal, Ronel Barkhuizen, who was also one of Proud Partners’ founder members. She called the project Pick a Pal and 14 schools in the Western Cape participated in it.

Proud Partners believes the focus should fall on the new generations in order to change existing perceptions. One way of doing so is to ensure exposure to one another from a young age. Pre-school children are definitely not too young to learn and apply Proud Partners' principles. Children do not have natural prejudices; they are taught these by adults and society.

Pick a Pal is the ideal project for any school. Once again it will not require too much time or effort, but the effects could be far-reaching.

This project entails a school, or even just a class, joining hands with a similar school or class from a disadvantaged community or of a different culture.

The teachers of the schools meet once a term for a music workshop, to which each one brings a song or dance to teach the others. For example, a teacher from Welgemoed will teach Jan Pierewiet and Twinkle Twinkle little Star to the Khayelitsha teacher, while the latter will demonstrate a Xhosa song and dance. The music is recorded so everyone can take a copy back to school to teach to their own learners.

Twice a year a 'morning concert' is held where the children come together and everyone can sing the Afrikaans, English and Xhosa or Sotho songs to and with one another.

If a school or class does not have a tape-recorder, the school or class that can afford it will try to assist by means of a special Proud Partners fund-raising. The idea is for children of a young age to learn to reach out to others and take the initiative themselves in order to achieve results, instead of simply asking their parents for the money.

Here the children move closer to the children from the other community or culture on a personal level. Each child receives a photo of a friend in that school and they then communicate by means of drawings and taped conversations. Simple information is conveyed, e.g. the friend's name, age, how many brothers and sisters he or she has, what kinds of pets, etc. Later on other interesting information such as Christmas customs and favourite games can be provided.

Where possible, a special visiting day is arranged during which the children meet one another personally and spend time together.


Ronel Barkhuizen
In  The  Media