Monthly Archives: November 2012

this month at the media centre….

we planted an indigenous olive tree on the school grounds just below the netball courts.

about the tree

Kara received the tree when she attended the memorial service of the late Neville Alexander. An activist, socialist; teacher & author; academic Neville Alexander changed form this year and the tree was to be planted in a public space, in his memory.

Taken from the link supplied above, “there are three key ideas running through all Neville Alexander’s work:

  • The fundamental necessity for South Africans to move away from Race consciousness. He was scathing about any attempts to pigeon-hole or analyse South Africans in terms of apartheid’s old so-called “Race” categories and insisted on the needto think in terms of the far more real and relevant categories of class, gender and language.
  • He believed passionately in the importance of children learning to read, write and think in their own mother tongue. At the same time he fully understood the need for mastery in an international langue and thus promoted bi-lingual, indeed multi-lingual, education.
  • The struggle for a socialist world of justice and equality for all.”

See also Esley Philander’s CTV tribute piece.

Because of his unwavering belief in the need for us to speak each other’s languages, we christened the tree: umthi welwimi- the tree of languages. Among ourselves, we call the tree Ashika, Neville Alexander… The tree will serve as a reminder for all of us to do the hard work of striving towards speaking each other’s languages…allowing ourselves to sound foolish and be laughed at as we sentence by sentence build a new way of being in our broken, bleeding land.

The tree was also planted in solidarity with the movement for the freedom of Palestine from the on-going reality of Apartheid under the Israeli state. To this day, Israel uproots and burns olive trees in Palestine as a form of punishment. Not only do these trees serve vital economic purposes for the Palestinians, but they are also viewed as spiritual conduits through which a family maintains its conversation with their ancestors.

See: for more information

“Olive trees are holy; what faith, what religion allows this to happen? How does any human being have the heart to kill trees like this?” Farmer Abu Latifa speaking of the uprooting of the olive grove that he had grown over 40 years.

May Ashika’s roots grow strong as she reminds us of those who came before us and who we fight alongside.