French pupils give Meals on Wheels a push

Pictured, from left, are Meals on Wheels Western Cape director Norman Ryan, French writer Agnes Ledig, deputy head of Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard Wouter Oelofse, and Meals on Wheels Western Cape financial director Simba Madzana.

Meals on Wheels received more than R40 000 in donations this week from pupils studying French in matric.

The pupils were inspired to donate to the non-profit organisation – which provides nutritious meals to affected communities and the elderly in South Africa – thanks to the generosity of the authors of their prescribed works, who provided all matrics with their short stories at no cost.

Sponsored by the South African French Teachers’ Associations (SAFTA), the French Embassy and the IEB (Independent Examinations Board), the idea of paying it forward was conceived by Wouter Oelofse, French teacher at Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard, and Michele Cassuto of Herschel Girls’ School, and included events held in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Pupils across the country had the opportunity to meet Agnes Ledig, the winner of the Readers’ Prize for Femme Actuelle in 2011 and the Maison de la Presse Prize in 2013. Agnes talked about the art and craft of writing fiction and what it takes to succeed and in so doing, reminded pupils of the importance of giving back to people in need.

She encouraged pupils to cherish every moment in their lives and to relish the beauty of creative writing and of the simple things in life, like the act of giving to a person in need, since she firmly believes that a single act of kindness often inspires many more acts of kindness in a world desperately in need of all the kindness it can get.