The transformation of transgender women into goddesses for an annual Hindu festival takes place in an atmosphere of reverent, somber concentration. Laugh lines vanish, replaced by an impassive mask. Skin becomes stone. As they prepared to perform in the Mayana Kollai festival in a fishing village in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, some of the dancers slipped into trances so deep it appeared they might have fainted.
I am in Mthatha with a delegation led by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, visiting various rural schools to draw attention to the inequalities in our education system and highlight the need for the formulation of detailed and precise norms and standards setting out, at the very least, the minimum conditions in which children will be able to learn with dignity.
I will write a more reflective piece when I get time. Meanwhile I post a few pictures taken yesterday.
At Putuma Junior Secondary School more than hundred children cram into one classroom. The school is known for its choir which won the national championship last year. This is a picture of one children in grade 9.
At Sea View Secondary School only 13% of matrics passed last year. These unfinished classrooms are being built by the community. Students waiting for fellow class mates to complete their lesson in the classroom they share, hang out in these unfinished classrooms.