Tongablog

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Book Readings and Parades…

I wanted to give a few updates from the past few weeks.  Two winners of the prestigious “Commonwealth Writers’ Prize” happened to be in Tonga after receiving their awards in New Zealand.  The authors, Marina Endicott and Mandla Langa, were only in the Kingdom for a couple of days.  I was fortunate enough to set up a book reading at my school.  My Form 6 students (High School Seniors in the U.S.) attended the event.  It was really such an honor to have the authors at my school, and I was so proud of my students.  Although they may not have understood every single word, they listened diligently and actively participated in the question and answer session.  Because we had recently studied the apartheid movement in South Africa, the students were especially interested in talking with Mandla Langa.  He is a South African poet and novelist, who was honored with the Commonwealth Writers’ Award for his recent novel, “Lost Colours of the Chameleon.” My students asked about racism in South Africa today, as well as the post-apartheid political climate.  For more information about these novels, you can click here.

Mandla Langa at Tupou High School

Mandla Langa at Tupou High School

Lost Colours of the Chameleon

Marina Endicott

Marina Endicott

goodtoafault

Cynthia and Sateki, two of my favorite students, at the book reading.

Cynthia and Sateki, two of my favorite students, at the book reading.

If you get a moment to look at some of our new photos, you will see me– all dressed up in traditional Tongan clothes, mat and all, marching in the opening of the Parliament parade.  I’m just going to over generalize here, and say that Tongans love a) marching bands b) parades.  I honestly think all of Nuku’alofa came out for the event.  The parade, which involved nearly every school in Tongatapu, seemed to be designed to signify the people’s support for both the Royalty and the Parliament.  I don’t know if that is always a social/political reality, but like I said… everyone loves marching bands and parades!  This was the first year my school had a marching band, due to recently acquired instruments.  I have to say… I was impressed and enjoyed myself– despite the heat and the massive crowds.  And the outfit:)

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