MIEFellow 2020-2021



I received an e-mail a few weeks ago with the great news that I’ve been selected to be a Microsoft In Education Fellow for another year!

I am honored and proud to be given this platform to make an impact in the lives of South African educators- and students. The MIEFellow community work together for the greater good and we share tips and ideas around making South Africa a better place for all.

To become and MIEFellow educators are selected from the MIEExpert programme. To find out more about this programme please sign up at the Microsoft Education Community. You are also welcome to reach out to me on social media using @AmandaCalitz (IM, Linkedin and Twitter) or @Createandexpand on Facebook.

Mrs Kling

One of my proudest moments as a teacher were when Mrs Kling (a robot that my students built) got recognition. What was special about this project was the fact that we were the underdogs and knew nothing about robots (myself included) and it took a team of 10 kids and 4 teachers to make this happen. We also had the opportunity to test the robot in the Rising Star cave where no one is allowed to go- what a privilege. Read about the cave here.

I am the proudest of the team work that made this happen. As I said before we were all novices but we had a dream and a plan. We spent many afternoons building the robot and experimenting. Tshimo and Retabile were the faces of the project and made the biggest input but around them there were a host of fellow students, teachers, their parents and other adilts that assisted. Here is a newspaper article about us.

My biggest takeaway from this experience is: You are never too old- or too young to learn. I salute everyone that was part of this project especially Tshimo and Retabile. May their stars always shine bright!!!

Day 29: Reasons why I love South Africa: Jozi

I know I’ve blogged about Johannesburg before. But I really want to showcase how spectacular Jozi looks at night! It shows the contrast of South Africa. The wildlife against the city.

There really is something for everyone!

31 days

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Day 28: Why I love South Africa: Rugby

As I’ve blogged before rugby is BIG in South Africa. Here are some pictures of my husband and I at a rugby game in 2011. The Western Province against the Lions.

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31 days

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Day 27: Reasons why I love South Africa: Augrabies

The Augrabies Falls is a waterfall in the Northen Cape. It is on the Orange river. The falls are about 60m high and the gorge is about 240m deep and 18km long. The name is derived from the Khoikhoi name “place of big noises”

“The falls have recorded 7,800 cubic metres (280,000 cu ft) of water every second in floods in 1988 (and 6,800 cubic metres (240,000 cu ft) in the floods of 2006).”This is a number which puts international waterfall super-giants such as Niagra Falls to shame (3 to 1, in cubic meters, with Niagra’s 2,400 cubic metres coming in far behind, in fact). It even beats out Niagra’s “all time record of 6,800 cubic metres per second”.

The gallery at the bottom is of the 2011 floods. The a few days before I took these pictures  3 million liters of water a second made it’s way over the waterfall. It is a must see when you visit South Africa.

31 days

Please remember to visit  this website for more information. Please do join me on this adventure.

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Day 26: 31 Reasons why I love South Africa: Ugie

Ugie is in the mountains of the Eastern Cape. It is a wonderful village with a rich history.

There is a place that stole my heart! From the first time I saw her, walked in it’s streets and felt her charm, It is the village of Ugie. In the Eastern Cape. It is a stones throw from Qunu where Madiba was born. It is a loooong drive to get there but if you make the effort you will not be sorry. It snows in winter and the summers are not too hot. In Ugie you have time for afternoon tea and book clubs. Life is slower there along the (mostly) dirt roads. I’ve spent two years of my life there and made life long friends.  Together I’ve known great joy and great sadness but above all I’ve learnt a bit of what life is about. Do yourself a favour and make the effort to go there. It’s not easily found on the map. Find Bloemfontein, then Aliwal North. Keep going until you find Elliot. If you’ve foun Maclear you are too far…go back a few millimeters then you’ll find Ugie. Some guesthouses to Ugie are on the internet. If you struggle to find accommodation contact me as I might just have a number or two of an old friend or two with a great guesthouse. 🙂

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Ugie has it’s own website if you’d like more information.

31 days

Please remember to visit  this website for more information. Please do join me on this adventure.

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Day 25: Reasons why I love South Africa: Rugby and Braaivleis

Day 25: Reasons why I love South Africa: Rugby and Braaivleis.

Rugby and Braaivleis go together. Today it is the Currie Cup Final between the Western Province and the Lions.

We are also braaing today and supporting the Western Province. I hope they win. When you visit South Africa you must try to go to a rugby game.

31 days

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Day 24: Why I love South Africa: 11 Official languages: Afrikaans

Afrikaans is a mixture of Dutch, German and other languages. There are also many dialects.

Below are some sentences to introduce you to the language.

How are you?- Hoe gaan dit?

Good Morning! is Goeie more!

“Good Day.” is “Goeie dag.”

“Good Evening!” is “Goeie naand!”

“Hello, what is your name?” is “Hallo, wat is jou naam?”

“My name is …” is “My naam is…”

I have a whole blog dedicated to Afrikaans you can visit it here as well as a few other blog posts about Afrikaans.

31 days

Please remember to visit  this website for more information. Please do join me on this adventure.

Day 24: Why I love South Africa: 11 Official languages: Afrikaans Click here for more blogs taking part in this challenge

Day 23: Reasons Why I love South Africa: 11 Official Languages: English

The South African English accent is world renowned and it doesn’t matter how hard we try to have a real British accent we cannot manage.

Here’s some South African English words that you might enjoy!

I’ve written a paragraph in South African English.  I’ve included a list of words below. See how much you can understand:

I get into my bakkie and drive to the robot. There I turn left and say ‘ahwe’ to the man next to the road. I really enjoy life in Mzansi. I turn up the volume of the Kwaito playing on my radio. I must make a plan to visit the butchery to get meat for the braai. I hope there wouldn’t be a monekeys wedding this afternoon.

Robots: We say robot for a traffic light.

Bottle store:  a shop where you buy liquor

ag man-  ag as the Afrikaans equivalent to “oh” (pronounced \ach\ like German ACHtung), man pronounced as in English.

antie – an older female authority figure. [Derived from the English “aunt”.]

aweh/awe (pronounced \AAAH-WHERE\ –> not rolling the “R”) – said in excitement, as in: Aweh; my boss said I can go home early today.. The word has many meanings or uses: “hello”, “goodbye”, “yes”. Also associated with prison use. (Greeting) “Aweh, my bru” (Hello my friend).

baas – boss

babelaas / babbelas – hangover (of Zulu origin)

bakgat – cool; expression of appreciation for something very well accomplished

bakkie – a utility truck, pick-up truck, now a mainstream word in South African English. Can also refer to a small container.

dobbel – “gamble”

duidelik – direct from Afrikaans, meaning “clear”; used to express clarity on something or excitement about something.

eksê – from Afrikaans, translated it means “I say”. Used in greeting i.e. “Whakind eksê” or in general speech.

kwaito – popular genre of music, a mixture of South African disco, hip hop, R&B, ragga, and a heavy dose of house-music beats.

moegoe – a fool, idiot or simpleton. For example: “moegoe of the week”

braai- almost like a barbeque. Folow this link to read more about this important event in  every South Africans life. We are going to braai again tomorrow for the Rugby.

mzansi – [from the isiXhosa words, Mzantsi Afrika].) A common term which means South Africa. [Mzansi]

Kombi is a mini van.

Make a plan- from the Afrikaans “maak ‘n plan”

When it rains when the sun shines you call it a monkey’s wedding.

31 days

Please remember to visit  this website for more information. Please do join me on this adventure.

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