Hero photograph
Photo by David Hines

Languages and Cultures

David Hines —

Zimbabwe, the Netherlands, Samoa and Tonga

Over the past few months, there have been a variety of cultural days that we have incorporated or celebrated at Roncalli College.

On 18 of April, we celebrated Zimbabwe Independence Day. Mrs. Thomas was born in Zimbabwe and shared a few words:

Zimbabwe – a stunning country nestled in southern Africa between the mighty Zambezi and the great, grey-green greasy Limpopo Rivers (as described by Rudyard Kipling). It is a land with a rich and diverse culture, three official languages - with another 13 spoken regionally!! ‘Zim’ as she is affectionately known, is home to around thirteen million people, the second largest elephant population in Africa, vast game reserves, the stunning Victoria Falls or “the Smoke that Thunders” and one of the best climates in the world, especially if you like sunshine!!

BUT what most people know about Zim is that it is now a broken country, impoverished by corruption, greed, tribalism, nepotism, neglect and so many other recent wrongs. It is a sad story of a country of great promise that is becoming forgotten and its people down-trodden. Please pray for Zimbabwe.

Sheila Thomas

On 27 April, we celebrated the Netherlands Koningsdag, or King’s Day. The date marks the birth of their current King Willem-Alexander. Until the abdication of Queen Beatrix in 2013, the holiday was known as Koninginnedag or Queen’s Day and was celebrated on the 30th of April which was the day she ascended to the throne. On of our students Gabriel van Royen, who is of Dutch descent has a small message for you all: “I think everybody can remember a word, and remember to express gratitude for the small things everyday, try and say "Bedankt" in Dutch this is a simple thanks, sounds kind of like Beh-dunkt.”

On 1 June we celebrated Samoa Independence Day. This is the day when the country celebrates independence from the command of New Zealand in 1962. The formal celebrations begin with the flag hoisting ceremony. This week is also Samoan Language Week, which one of our students with links to the country will write about in another article.

On 4 of June, we celebrated Tonga Emancipation Day. This marks the day of the abolition on slavery in Tonga in 1862. Influenced by Christian missionaries Tonga's first Christian king, George Tupuo abolished slavery and it was a key milestone in the history of Tonga as it freed commoners from the virtual ownership of chiefs.

All the flags of the countries flew on the flagpole at school on the respective days.