Our first foray conducting the Culturally Responsive Student Transition Projects (CRSTP) with Grade 12 learners took place at ID Mkhize school in Gugulethu township in the outskirts of Cape Town. We had split up in groups of four. My group consisted of Kelly, Christian and Romeo.
That morning at the university, I had started writing down words and phrases in Xhosa and even practiced them with my CPUT friends. I decided to introduce the CRSTP with a brief greeting in Xhosa. I said my first and last name, asked them how they were “Unjani?” and when I heard them say “wena” (and you?), I quickly replied “ndi shap shap”. As we progressed through the form with the learners, we relied heavily on Romeo to provide a translation into Xhosa so that the learners could better understand what was expected of them.
As the hour dragged by, we realized how hot it was and wondered how the learners could actually do any learning in that climate. We were dismayed to find out that the air conditioning units were stolen in the days before the start of the school year. After our sessions with the learners, we spent a few hours outside in playful conversation with CPUT students. We were engaging in parallel processes of inclusivity and engaging in culturally responsive interactions with each other as we customized the form the previous day, co-led the CRSTP workshops and our bonding sessions afterwards.