At the recent Thanksgiving Assembly – and to packed-house of parents, students, teachers and friends, the senior class performed their version of the South African gumboot dance as part of their History of Africa main lesson course.
Remarked senior Axel Yannick Epie Nzima, “As is customary every year for the Thanksgiving Assembly, the senior class chooses a dance to perform and we chose the gumboot. Our performance starts off with a scene in which villagers are tending to their daily work when women from a nearby village enter and are greeted with open arms.”
“The gumboot dance originated in the gold mines of South Africa under the migrant labor system during Apartheid,” said senior Jaclyn Proctor. “It had aspects of tribal dance incorporated with components of miners every day work, such as: heavy rubber safety boots, gumboots, and constant bending due to confined work conditions. As the dance developed and became more popular, local mines held competitions to determine who had the best dance. Over time, the energetic gumboot dance became internationally known.”
The History of Africa 12th grade main lesson course presents students with a broad, general survey of African History in the hope that students can see more clearly the role of Africa in the world today. Emphasis is placed on the different cultures that arose on the continent, from ancient times, through the colonial period and up to the present – giving students a greater appreciation of the contributions and struggles of the African people. While lectures and reading packets serve as the basis of student learning, students also complete an artistic project inspired by current events in Africa.
“Our thanks to Mrs. Emmie Yaeger, Waldorf’s high school history teacher, for making the History of Africa main lesson course such an enjoyable one,” said Mr. Epie Nzima.
“And our thanks to Ms. Bonnie Bolz, Waldorf’s physical education and movement teacher, for introducing the dance to us, and to Mr. Lance Chaney, a Waldorf parent and trustee, for dedicating so much of his time to providing us with a steady beat to dance to,” said Miss Proctor.