Celebration - 50 Years of Ability

King George VI Celebrates!


What a powerful message we have just given to the people of Bulawayo.  Our bright t shirts with the message – 50 Years of Ability on the front and Never Give Up on the back were seen en masse in the streets of Bulawayo as we marched to the City Hall on Friday 6 July.  We were led by the marimba band in a truck then our well trained and smartly dressed drum majorettes followed by the all the children and staff and completed with our school bus and another truck for the little ones and those too frail to undertake the 5km walk.  Even some of the youngest children were allowed to walk after there were tears when they were told they were too small!   Thanks to the incredible organisation of the teacher in charge we left 10 minutes early and arrived at the City Hall a whole hour earlier than anticipated!  We then had to persuade the Mayor to come out early to address us.  He welcomed us and was very impressed with our effort including the parade by the drum majorettes who marched in front of him and then spelt out KGVI and 50 in formation. 

The next day we provided lunch to over 400 people with all the present pupils and staff, many past pupils and staff and some invited guests.   The speeches were held in a beautifully decorated physio and then a good lunch and birthday cake served to everyone.  Everyone was presented with a special KGVI pen and most were wearing the printed t shirts. The afternoon’s entertainment started off with a little girl from Grade 2 welcoming everyone and with a poem from one of our very disabled past students.  The dancing proved to be very popular as did the football match organised by Maaike, our Dutch volunteer.  Ten little boys scrambled out of their wheelchairs divided into a Zimbabwe and a Brazil team and then moved around the lawn in whatever way they could chasing after the ball and scoring 5 goals in all, 4 to Zimbabwe! 

The two celebrations shows held at the Bulawayo theatre were great entertainment from beginning to end, a great chance to relax and forget Zim worries for a couple of hours.  Liyana band were as good as ever, in fact better than ever, and with the help of a good sound system the beautiful voice of Prudence came over loud and clear.  The band presented several new songs which they had written themselves, among them Children are Special about the rights of children; Peace Order about peace in the home; Sharon, a love song and Never Give Up, a song written by Tapiwa and Prudence especially for the show.  Not forgetting the ever popular Umntwana weQhawe which is currently being made into a music dvd.  Tapiwa did an excellent job hosting the shows and keeping the audience entertained between acts.

Other entertainment included a group of invited Solo Latin dancers with their energetic dance to Liyana’s song Uyabuya.  A group of deaf dancers performed a well co-ordinated Jive and a signed song.  A very moving rendition of You Raise Me Up was sung by Prudence who also designed the dance that accompanied it.  The show opened with a short drama written by Marvelou about disability and KGVI.  The enjoyment of the performers was quickly echoed by that of the audience and the Sunday show finished with most of the audience joining the performers on the stage for a joyful rendition of The Lion Sleeps Tonight!  The success of the shows is even more remarkable considering that Prudence was sick, Marvelous had just heard that his brother in law had been killed in an accident and Tapiwa was in great pain.  Two days after the show he was rushed home to Harare to see his specialist and we hope to get his condition treated once and for all.  The courage of our children is a lesson to us all.

All in all the three days were amazing.  The Celebration Committee were a dedicated and hard working team who worked tirelessly to make everything work.  Luckily for us we had made all our purchases and received all our donations before the latest crisis in Zimbabwe where prices are being controlled and food is consequently disappearing from the shelves.  Even the weather was on our side, the week started with freezing cold winds but by Friday we had the sun to accompany us on our march!  For the past few weeks we all at KGVI anticipated and worked for the celebrations and have thus been free from all the stresses and strains of life in Zimbabwe.   What a statement we made and will keep making – Never Give Up!