Tolamo Primary School. Reedview, North West Province.
Part of the shared culture of teachers and students at rural schools, Christian hymns and sermons are all but required at school assemblies. Regardless of their church denomination, the Batswana in my area share a repertoire of gospel songs, sung in harmony to mark deaths, marriages, and the start of the schoolday. Even at primary school the children sing in four-part harmony, the grade 6 boys belting out in baritone voices that are totally incongruous with their small stature. The students conclude each assembly with the Lord’s Prayer, their arms folded tightly across their chest with their hands tucked under their elbows.
When one of my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers in South Africa asked a teacher at her school if South Africa’s constitution guaranteed separation of church and state, the teacher responded, “Yes….but it doesn’t work very well.”
Fine by me as long as they keep up the music.