On Heritage Day, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited the Auwal Mosque in the Bo-Kaap.
Prior to the visit, the British Embassy contacted Marlene Silbert and asked her if she could bring along some of the learners who have participated in the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative’s Marlene Silbert Interfaith Intercultural Youth Programme which she had initiated and run.
The two-year programme involves 38 Grade 10 learners from nine schools, including Herzlia. Few have had any previous meaningful interaction with peers from other racial, religious, cultural, or socio-economic backgrounds.
The programme focusses on identity. Who am I? Who are you? Who are we? How do I get from me to you? It also addresses issues of xenophobia, gender identity, physical and verbal bullying. In the second year they commit to tutoring disadvantaged primary school learners in language and literacy. So far, almost 300 learners and 30 teachers from 17 schools have been involved in programme.
It was a very excited group of learners who arrived at the mosque to be introduced to the royal couple, and after Marlene had given a brief overview of the programme, they were given the opportunity to share their experiences and the impact the programme had on their attitudes and their lives.
The Duchess told the group that listening to their stories moved her greatly. Prince Harry said, ‘There is so much hardship and so many problems across the world, and it is truly heartening to listen to the voices of the youth, as they will be the leaders of tomorrow; and judging from their comments they will indeed make this world a better place. I hope you will continue with your wonderful programme.’
Marlene also presented them with a gift from the Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies for young Archie — a 70-year old book of photos of his Grandpa Charles and Great Aunt Anne aged about four and two, playing with their grandmother.
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