EL youngsters scoop up 24 dance medals

Teacher fills her void by helping pupils shine after letting go of her dream

David Mama High School dancers Mihlali Mathews, front, and Duma Inan were part of a team that won 24 medals, ranking first and second place respectively in a national ballroom dancing competition in Johannesburg.
David Mama High School dancers Mihlali Mathews, front, and Duma Inan were part of a team that won 24 medals, ranking first and second place respectively in a national ballroom dancing competition in Johannesburg.
Image: Sibongile Ngalwa

Offering hope where there once was none, Xoliswa Gadafu, a teacher from David Mama High School and ballroom enthusiast, has been the driving force behind the success of this form of dancing at the school.

Gadafu, together with a group of 14 pupils from Mdantsane’s NU1, travelled to Johannesburg on September 13 to participate in the national ballroom and Latin world trials and log-ladder dance championship.

The event featured a number of high schools from around the country competing against one another for top dance honours.

The David Mama High School pupils did themselves proud, bringing back a grand total of 24 medals.

The medals were won in two categories:

Post 1, which has four levels and is the junior category, where 14- to 16-year-olds participate;

Post 2, comprising pupils between 16 and 18, who also participate in four levels.

The pupils won at each level they participated in, including first and second place.

Gadafu says she started the ballroom class in 2008 when she first arrived at the school with the hope of encouraging pupils to participate in extra-mural activities.

Having participated in ballroom dancing at the school when she attended as a pupil, Gadafu said she was disappointed when she had to stop.

“My dad used to complain that practices took up a lot of time and they used to come out late. He was worried about my academic results and my safety. I did not want to be disrespectful, therefore I quit ballroom dancing.”

Gadafu says she decided she would teach others about ballroom dancing to fill the void she felt and to give the youngsters attending the classes a wonderful, creative outlet that would let them shine.

“When I came to teach at David Mama I decided that I would revive ballroom dancing in the school as it was no longer an extracurricular activity offered at the school.

“For me it meant a lot as it reunited me with my passion.”

She said disadvantaged schools like David Mama are often frowned upon.

Sinawo Dyantyi, who took part in the junior category, said since joining the ballroom dancing class she had learnt about patience and hard work.

“It is through our hard work that we made it this far, and through the consistent encouragement of our teacher and school principal.”

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