Archived Stories for Union County Public Schools
Students get modern look at South Africa
On Tuesday, March 11, Alex Adkins (husband of media assistant Kim Adkins) shared his experiences in South Africa with English teacher Stacy Vickers’ English II classes. Adkins traveled to South Africa in 2009 with his son Mason to experience a safari. Vickers’ English II classes are studying South Africa through the film Cry, Freedom and informational articles about Apartheid and Nelson Mandela.
Adkins began with the history of how he came to take the trip. “I attended a Hunter’s Banquet and Lecture with Dr. Paige Patterson from the Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary,” said Adkins. Patterson spoke about hunting in other parts of the world, which interested Adkins. He went home, engaged in research, and found an essay contest to win a three week free hunt through McLaren Safaris. Adkins entered the contest and won.
In his presentation, Adkins discussed not only hunting in South Africa but also the culture and economic and political climate. He described rural life in South Africa, explaining that there is very low population with low income but high taxes. He explained how in South Africa 50% of people’s income is taxed then there is a value added sales tax on purchased items.
There were several details that surprised students. For example, in South Africa since most of the land is privately owned, animals belong to landowners. It is to a landowner’s advantage to keep his land well-supplied with animals, so they can be used for hunting. The landowner controls hunting on privately owned land, not the government. Another interesting detail was that at many public restrooms you have to pay for toilet paper because even common items are so expensive. Finally, Adkins mentioned how drivers will run red lights in hijacking hotspots. Hijacking cars is so commonplace in some areas that there are road signs warning drivers.
Students also learned about different animals in South Africa. Adkins showed a picture of a young man carrying a stick while walking with lions. The stick was used to hit the lions on the nose to keep them under control. He also explained how baboons are considered one of the most dangerous animals.
In terms of the socio-political climate, students were surprised to learn that conditions in South Africa are deteriorating. According to Adkins, “The South African government is leveraging racism.” The government is trying to make people hate each other, so it can remain in power. South Africa is at Stage 5 for genocide according to the web site genocidewatch.net. This site keeps track of countries worldwide to estimate the risk of genocide occurring.
At the end of the presentation, Adkins explained what he learned through his trip. He said, “It is not enough to have the ingredients for success. There must also be a ‘recipe’ and the ability to carry out the plan utilizing those ingredients.” He said that South Africa is a beautiful country with many natural resources and warm, generous people. Unfortunately, the government built on nepotism and cronyism is not allowing the country to thrive.
Written by: Stacy Vickers, English Teacher
Posted: Mar 14, 2014 by Donna Helms