The Words Open Worlds (WOW) projects at the Woordfees has been enriching learners’ lives for more than a decade. The project has assisted thousands of students over the years, notably helping students with funding to study at the university.
This year’s WOW events included a day for matriculants, a teacher’s day, a media course and the massive WOW Karnaval.
According to Jeneen Willows, who works with student recruitment for WOW, these projects create educational and cultural opportunities for learners. Willows organised the school media course with the help of Media24.
At the start of the media course Jacolette Kloppers, editor: special projects at Landbouweekblad, asked the hundreds of school-going journalists what media they consume. They responded in unison: “Son!”
Kloppers explained the success of the newspaper to the learners by using this popular tabloid newspaper as an example. “Die Son reflects its readership community, in other words those that read this newspaper see themselves in it,” she said.
Around 1300 matriculants gathered in a hall at Coetzenburg – the very place where they would graduate if they attend Stellenbosch University from next year onwards.
Dr Gillian Arendse from the recruitment division of Stellenbosch University (SU), encouraged these pupils to become Maties next year. “A Matie is not only someone who studies here, but a Matie is someone who has mastered the transition into excellence,” he told pupils.
Two celebrity guests surprised the learners: Irshaad Ally, an actor in the award-winning South African film, Four Corners and star of the new KykNet show Suidooster; and Hildegardt Silkiewicz, who plays the role of Bonita in 7de Laan.
Ivor Price, RSG presenter and SABC2 news anchor, interviewed the two guests and took questions from the crowd. Price has been working closely with WOW for more than 10 years.
Fiona van Kerwel, WOW project manager, oversaw the teacher’s day event at De Vette Mossel. The teachers enjoyed a breakfast and performances by Ricky D and Marion Holm who performed a skit from her one-woman show, Die Kaap is weer holms. Teachers were thus celebrated for the contributions they make to education.
Van Kerwel said: “WOW can be agents of change in a world where learners and teachers sometimes lose hope or perspective.” According to her, the WOW attendees therefore need to be celebrated for keeping hope and perspective alive.