31 Days · africa

#write31days {Vibrant Life}

One of the things I loved most about living in Africa was the vibrancy of the various cultures there, and how it shone through in everyday living. In the USA, school assemblies in the morning typically consist of the Pledge of Allegiance and morning announcements. In South Africa, my school gathered for whole-school assembly three times a week. And those assemblies consisted of announcements and sometimes singing the national anthem. But they also had singing, dancing, prayers, and occasional skits.

Xitsonga girls preparing to dance
Xitsonga girls preparing to dance

Nearly 400 school children singing a cappella and moving to the music always made me happy. The depth of the melody and the joy on their faces never got old. And in that moment, the schoolgrounds were filled with life. Vibrant life.

Setswana girls dancing
Setswana girls dancing

This became a regular part of my time in South Africa, and I saw the kids come alive at assemblies in ways I never saw in the classroom. In general, music and dancing are important parts of African culture, and that’s true in Setswana culture as well. Unlike in our Western mindset, kids weren’t afraid to sing or dance in front of other, without the aid of instruments or musical training.

Girls dancing in a skit during an assembly
Girls dancing in a skit during an assembly

It was a natural part of life, and it was a normal part of their school day.

Xitsonga boy dancing during a celebration
Xitsonga boy dancing during a celebration

In Africa, life beats to a different drumbeat.


Watch this video of some of the Xitsavi girls singing during a choir practice. Beautiful, isn’t it?

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20 thoughts on “#write31days {Vibrant Life}

  1. So true! The sound of hundreds of kids singing and dancing always gave me goosebumps! I used to hold these assemblies and sing with the kids, their joy in freezing June and early in the morning was really impressive!

  2. This is so beautiful: both in your telling and in the reality of children being vibrantly alive in the assemblies with singing and dancing…. oh, to have that across the globe! I am a decent singer so as a child singing was something I always loved doing, I never really thought it was because I excelled at it. Your point is well taken, though, especially in this day and age when everything seems to be competition!

    Here’s to being vibrantly alive everyday. My 31days reads are so inspiring!

    1. Yes! Let’s embrace the vibrant life! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I have always loved to sing, but somewhere along the way, I stopped doing it in front of others. But living in Africa has helped me worry less about how I sound and focus on the joy of singing!

  3. Oh my….I love this post! I have spent three summers in South Africa and love everything about it. The people,, the culture, the vibrant life…I am anxious to read more about your time in Africa! Love this so much!!

  4. I love seeing how different cultures do everything. In Laos and Thailand they have a odd combination of rigid structure and freedom. But it works for them and its fun to watch.

    1. In the classrooms, things were a lot more structured. But even then, sometimes kids would start dancing in the middle of my lessons. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. How interesting! This is all new to me and I love learning about different cultures. I love how uninhibited the kids are and the culture as a whole. I wish our culture could be more this way about our creative and musical side. Thanks for sharing!

  6. The vibrancy of these kids is amazing. When I was in school, the kids could not be more disinterested or bored during assemblies. Sometimes I wonder if having so much in the West robs us of joy and enthusiasm, just because we have it all already.

    Thanks for sharing about your experience in Africa.

    1. Yeah, assemblies in South Africa certainly aren’t boring or uninteresting (most of the time, that is)!

      I do think we miss out on things in our more reserved Western culture.

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