Diepsloot school gets a spring clean

Akani textPlay Your Part’s clean-up campaign at Akani Primary, Diepsloot, got learners to not only tidy up their school but also learn the importance of a clean environment. (Images: Shamin Chibba)

Play Your Part was at Akani Primary School in Diepsloot for a clean-up campaign that taught pupils about the importance of keeping their environment free of litter.

Despite the morning heat, Miss Earth South Africa Carla Viktor and her runner-up, Jade Axon, as well as representatives from Play Your Part and GEM Project joined the schoolchildren on Saturday, 24 October, as they cleared the school of litter.

According to Play Your Part representatives, the campaign was in line with Brand South Africa’s mandate to build pride, patriotism and a spirit of active citizenship. Its Play Your Part programme aims to encourage South Africans to use some of their time, money, skills or goods to contribute to a better future for all.

Viktor, who was crowned Miss Earth South Africa in September, said the clean-up formed part of the environmental work she would undertake during her year as titleholder. However, her biggest initiatives would be greening projects. “It involves a lot of tree planting, a lot of educational work at schools, teaching the kids why it is important to clean up and recycle, and also getting them to be active citizens.”

At the same time as she undertakes her environmental work, she is also preparing for her next big project, that of winning the international Miss Earth pageant in Austria in December.

Akani 2Miss Earth South Africa Carla Viktor didn’t mind getting her hands dirty at the clean-up. Miss Earth South Africa and Play Your Part have partnered for similar initiatives before.

KEEPING THE ENVIRONMENT CLEAN IS A HABIT

Akani Primary principal Fikilie Dikgale said the aim of the clean-up was to remind children about keeping their school clean. “Repetition is very critical because the kids forget. Every quarter there needs to be a campaign like this so that they can be reminded that littering is not acceptable.

“The Brand South Africa initiative of Play Your Part is also very appropriate because Akani wants to do our part and you can see we are doing our part to keep the school clean.”

Akani’s general manager, Thoko Mbense, said that the habit of cleaning could filter into the Diepsloot community. “The kids needed to learn to pick up litter because not only is it done for the school but for the community too.”

She said that keeping their school clean should become embedded in their conscience. “You need to teach them almost everything and remind them. We want this to be a quarterly thing so that it can be part of their conscience.”

Akani, which is a Shangaan word meaning “to build”, was chosen as the location for the clean-up after Miss Earth South Africa representatives approached it about the initiative.

Akani 17Akani Primary learners had to throw the litter they had picked up into a Pikitup recycle truck.

GEM SPREADING THROUGH SOUTH AFRICA

Play Your Part invited GEM Project to help mobilise volunteers within and outside Diepsloot. GEM, which is an acronym for Going the Extra Mile, has mostly been active in Gauteng. But its founder, Camilo Ramada, said activations would spread beyond the province to Cape Town in January 2016. “In theory, we can be anywhere, but in practice we’re mostly in Johannesburg. But we are already preparing and planning activations in Cape Town from January onwards.”

The GEM app, which was developed in conjunction with Play Your Part, rewards volunteers for their good deeds. Volunteers can choose to participate in any campaign listed in the app. Once the good deed is done, they are eligible to receive a reward via the app, termed “a GEM”, which can be converted into a number of products such as airtime, data, pre-paid electricity, or even movie tickets.