Midlands Meander Education Project 10th Awards Ceremony

by Shea Karssing
It was a colourful gathering at the Midlands Meander Education Project’s (MMAEP) 10th annual awards ceremony held on 26th November at Midmar Dam – over 200 principals, teachers, learners, friends, family and funders donned their bright “magic hats” to celebrate 10 years of ‘Bug Magic’.

The annual awards ceremony gives the MMAEP facilitators (known as ‘The Bugs’) the opportunity to honour the 5000 learners and 20 schools at which they co-teach environmental lessons. The Bugs certainly do know how to commend in style! A previously featureless hall was transformed in to a magical grotto of photographs and colour.

The Bugs were introduced with great aplomb by Master of Ceremonies, praise singer Siyabonga Mpungose. Jessica Dreamtime, MMAEP Project Manager, described the Bugs as “smart, funny, and extremely creative”.

Speaking about the Bugs’ beginnings 10 years ago, the founder of the MMAEP, Nikki Brighton, spoke about how “often the small stuff adds up to something big”. The MMAEP seed was planted when Nikki thought she would plant a few colourful gardens in a couple of local schools. With the help and influence of Con Roux from N3TC the small seed of an idea has now grown into a full vegetable garden, and quite literally too. The MMAEP now co-teaches eco education in 20 local schools, run community garden clubs and holiday clubs, and even has a special club, The Super Bug Club, dedicated to supporting vulnerable children.

In between excited children and teachers waited on the edges of their seats as awards were announced, the proceedings were peppered with performances by Music Voyage, Kings School, Silindile Primary School and the Shea O’ Connor Combined School dance group.
Award Winners 2014
Best Eco School Portfolio – Triandra Primary School; Best Utilised Library – Silindele Primary Schoo; Teacher’s Award – Di Truebody (Nottingham Road Primary), Florence Buthelezi (Trainda), Mrs Mlongo (Lion’s River), Mrs Hlothswa (Silendele), Nicolas Nxumala (Shea ‘O Connor), Siyabonga Duma (Dargle), Tanya Mitchell (Kings), Thenjiwe Ngcobo (Corrie Lynn Primary); First Portfolio – Howick West; Justin McCarthy Gardening Award – Hawkstone Primary; Gardening Club – Zenzane Village. Special mention must also be made of Gugu Zuma, a successful graduate from the “University of Bug Life”. Gugu first encountered bug magic as a Grade 6 pupil at Corrie Lynn Primary School. In 2014, she joined the MMAEP team as its first intern.

Special thanks must go to Annie Waterhouse, volunteer Bug of great experience; to Anita Nicholson of NTC and Andy Visser of N3TC and her guests. Thanks also to Greendale Spar and Fairfields Dairy for supplying food and drink for the children and to Cowan House for their donation of a gift for our teachers. We also thank Barend Booysen and Nikki Brighton, who were there at the start of the MMAEP, for their speeches and were so delighted to see the Midlands Meander Board donning bright hats and the high-profile attendance of the local press was the cherry on the top. The MMAEP thank everyone most sincerely.

N3TC MMAEP awards

Triandra Primary School proudly receive the Best Eco School Portfolio award. L to R: Thobile Khumalo, Joan Quayle and Eidin Griffin ( Photo Jane Symes)