In August, 2019, 26 talented and enthusiastic Waldorf School Windhoek students were chosen as part of the Hit-The-Beat delegation which toured Germany, showcasing some of Namibia’s cultural traditions, its rhymes and rhythms, and offering the students an opportunity to network with other Waldorf students.
Commencing with three sold out performances in Windhoek prior to leaving Windhoek, the Hit-The-Beat group featured drumming, traditional songs and hymns, spoken word, poetry, rap and beat-boxing, and choral arrangements.
United under the theme “Just Imagine”, and inspired by John Lennon’s iconic song, students were asked to imagine what the world would be like if there was peace, no hunger, no war, and no violence. Echoing the song’s memorable lyrics, the WSW students put together performances that were emotionally moving and the recipients of standing ovations and numerous encores.
Hit-The-Beat, an international organization headed by Hans-Peter Seeger and Simone De Picciotto, brings together students at the WSW in an intense workshop in which they address a pressing problem experienced in the world in which the students live. Believing that it is “in rhythm we meet” the organization seeks to foster cultural exchange and dialogue among young adults and to meaningfully engage students in social encounters such as the world café and “speed-dating workshops” where students engage in rapid-fire Q&A sessions to find out more about each other and the problems they face regularly.
In Germany, the Hit-The-Beat tour performed to sell-out and standing room crowds in Göttingen, Kassel, Marburg, Darmstadt, Wiesbaden, Worms, Stuttgart, Schwäbisch Hall, Heidelberg, and Berlin. This extensive tour permitted the students involved in the project to experience the life of performing artists, and to explore various vocational opportunities, as they did when they were hosted by the Mayor of Schwäbisch Hall, Mr. Hermann Josef Pelgrim.
Poetry, dance, and drumming workshops were also facilitated at every stop along the way, giving WSW students an opportunity to collaborate with other Waldorf students.
The tour culminated in a special performance at the Berlin Tempodrom where Waldorf schools from around the world gathered to celebrate 100 years of Waldorf education worldwide.
Namibia, represented by WSW, were one of the evening’s highlights, with their energetic and soulful performance bringing the crowd to its feet.
Bittersweet partings between WSW students and their host families were the order of the day when it was time to fly back home to Windhoek. Nonetheless, the connections made between the Namibians and their German counterparts are certain to live on for a long time.
Returning home, the students were eager to share their experiences of the tour, with many remarking that it was the most exciting journey they had ever undertaken. For many, it was the first time leaving their home town, and the opportunity to see the metropolises of Germany was thrilling.
More than that, though, the students made wonderful connections with their German Waldorf counterparts, finding a sense of community and realizing that they form part of a larger community made of socially conscious and creative students.
Simone De Picciotto, the tour’s director and the co-founder of Hit-The-Beat, said the tour was a resounding success: “Everywhere the students went they brought cheer to the crowd. They brought energy to every room. It was remarkable to see such young people perform at such a professional level, and to do it regularly with enthusiasm.” As the tour organizer she was responsible for ensuring that students were safely housed with guest parents and securing performance venues as well as transport around Germany, a feat of organization which cannot be underscored.
Amongst some of the glowing reviews parents heaped upon the tour were statements to the effect that the tour broadened their children’s horizons and outlooks, allowed them to travel internationally, and permitted them to connect with a world larger than the one they currently inhabit.
Students from the tour were also generous with their reviews. “For me, what stood out the most was meeting other Waldorf students are realizing that they’re just like us,” said Hendrik.
Another student, Ocean Kangueei, said the tour was “educational and inspirational. It allowed us see what the rest of the world is like and to know we all have much in common. I loved my host parents and I plan on keeping in touch with them.”
Upon its return to Windhoek, the Hit-The-Beat choir performed at the Waldorf School Windhoek’s local Waldorf 100 celebrations, singing for the school’s alumni.
At the same event, N$200 000 generated from the Germany tour was handed over to the WSW, a significant amount of money that will be used to further music and choir performances at school.