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Learners spark a difference in Midrand

Spark Midrand High learners participated in a mock election, gaining practical experience in voting and understanding its importance in a democracy.

Spark Midrand High hosted a fun mock election on May 24, to educate its learners about the democratic process and the importance of voting.

EIC leader Ntandokayise Boilane.
EIC leader Ntandokayise Boilane.

This initiative saw officials from the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) visiting the school to provide a detailed and interactive lesson on how elections work in South Africa.

Read more: IEC launches the National Results Operations Centre in Gallagher Convention Centre

The IEC officer Lefa Qhinebe began the event with an educational session, where he explained the significance of voting in a democracy. He then provided a step-by-step guide on how to register to vote, cast a ballot, and the importance of making informed choices. The officer emphasised that voting is a crucial way for citizens to have their voices heard and to influence the direction of their country.

The flag of Ethopia.
The flag of Ethopia.

Following the session, learners participated in a mock election – this exercise was designed to give them practical experience in the voting process.

Spark learners sing and dance as part of their campaign.
Spark learners sing and dance as part of their campaign.

The mock election involved learners from the four main houses in the school namely Uhuru (a Swahili term meaning freedom or independence), Kubvuma (a Shona term meaning acceptance), Kuumba (a Swahili term meaning creativity) and Ubuntu (a Zulu term meaning humanity).

The ballot papers for the election.
The ballot papers for the election.

All four houses formed two political parties, making a total of eight parties. Each party had to choose their slogan from the eight attributes found in the Character Quotations that reflect Spark’s core values: service, persistence, achievement, responsibility, and kindness.

Also read: Faith in IEC and political system is down – research shows

Nosiphiwo Mhlongo.
Nosiphiwo Mhlongo.
Mr Motau, Ms Lasania, Ms Matu and Ms Makhalemele assist during the elections.
Mr Motau, Ms Lasania, Ms Matu and Ms Makhalemele assist during the elections.

Learners who wanted to run for office had to campaign, much like real politicians for two weeks. They created posters, gave speeches, and discussed their plans and ideas with their peers, their final campaigns included an element of various African countries. This not only made the experience fun and competitive but also educational, as the candidates learned about the responsibilities and challenges of leadership.

Naledi Seanego, Lindamandla Hlongwane, Bokang Sebetha and Osiame Mokoena pose for a photo after casting their vote.
Naledi Seanego, Lindamandla Hlongwane, Bokang Sebetha and Osiame Mokoena pose for a photo after casting their vote.
Leader of Ubuntu Nation Kutloano Mashamaite.
Leader of Ubuntu Nation Kutloano Mashamaite.

The principal of Spark Midrand High Nkosinathi May played an active role in the event. He oversaw the entire process, ensuring that everything ran smoothly and that the learners were engaged and learning. The principal also helped the faculty and IEC officers with the setup, demonstrating the school’s commitment to hands-on education.

Election winner Didine Vondandamo of Kubvuma Political Party.
Election winner Didine Vondandamo of Kubvuma Political Party.

On the day of the election, the school transformed into a bustling polling station. The IEC provided all the necessary materials, including ballots, ballot boxes, and voting booths, to ensure the experience was as realistic as possible. The learners lined up, registered, and cast their votes just as they would in a real election.

Spark learners after voting Nontokozo Mndawe, Unathi Kgaswe Nonjabulo Shezi, Nkateko Mangwane, Pfunzo Nesane and Ethan Sangmaye.
Spark learners after voting Nontokozo Mndawe, Unathi Kgaswe Nonjabulo Shezi, Nkateko Mangwane, Pfunzo Nesane and Ethan Sangmaye.

After the votes were cast, the school staff counted the ballots. The announcement of the election results was an exciting moment for everyone involved. Kubvuma Political Party leader Didine Vondandamo celebrated alongside members of her party, and the learners got a sense of the excitement and responsibility that comes with winning an election.

National Communicators Party leader Linamandla Hlongwane.
National Communicators Party leader Linamandla Hlongwane.
Argenatarctica leader Zanele Mandipha.
Argenatarctica leader Zanele Mandipha.

“I honestly didn’t think I’d win because on the performance we didn’t really do it as planned, but I really feel good about winning; I feel honoured that people think I would make a good president but it wasn’t a one-man team, my whole team cooperated and were productive.”

IEC official Lefa Qhinebe.
IEC official Lefa Qhinebe.

This mock election event at Spark Midrand High was not only educational but also inspiring. It gave learners a practical understanding of how elections work and highlighted the importance of participating in the democratic process. By involving learners in such a hands-on activity, Spark Midrand High demonstrated its commitment to providing a comprehensive education that goes beyond the classroom.

A poster made during Ubuntu Nations campaign.
A poster made during Ubuntu Nations campaign.
Universal Freedom Fighters leader Uzanemihle Zulu.
Universal Freedom Fighters leader Uzanemihle Zulu.

Related article: IEC facilitates LRC elections at a local school

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