Matric pupils tutored in age old blacksmithing skills

Elsie van Niekerk (member), Mzokhona Khwela (blacksmith), Bheki Ndiyane (blacksmith) of Durban Blacksmith and Audrey Kaunda (mechanical technology teacher) with the first group of grade 12 pupils from Inanda Newtown Comprehensive High School get ready to do their practical task on Wednesday, 25 July.

A local blacksmith company hosted 13 matric pupils from Inanda Newtown Comprehensive High School, their mechanical technology teacher, as well as two student teachers from Eastern Cape and Durban University of Technology for a demonstration and tour.

“We were very excited to be able to assist the school with providing our traditional blacksmithing facility, enabling Audrey Kaunda, the mechanical technology teacher and her pupils to successfully complete a practical task as set out by the department of education, which will contribute towards their final mark,” said Elsie van Niekerk of Durban Blacksmith.

The pupils were required to forge and heat treat a cold chisel from a hexagon bar tool steel. “Our two blacksmiths, Bheki Ndiyane and Mzokhona Khwela, were only too eager to assist and share their knowledge, by first giving a full demonstration of the process to all the pupils.

Blacksmithing, an age old tradition, has forged its way back in fashion and it’s wonderful to see this ancient skill being taught in the curriculum,” said Elsie.

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The pupils were keen to put their theory into practise with forging, hardening, annealing, sharpening and tempering, as taught by their teacher. “Donning masks, gloves and all the correct protective wear, they tackled this task with so much enthusiasm and pride, ending up with a near if not perfect chisel they can be very proud of manufacturing.”

The second group of grade 12 pupils with Audrey Kaunda (mechanical technology teacher) from Inanda Newtown Comprehensive High School proudly display the finished product of their practical task.

After their tasks were all completed, Elsie guided the pupils on a plant tour and demonstrations on the guillotines, mechanical presses, milling machines, surface grinders, spark eroders and other equipment used in metal pressing and tool and die making, which they have learnt about in their subject.

“It was an absolute pleasure to host the teachers and pupils, and they are a true credit to Inanda Newtown Comprehensive High School. Their spirit and friendly manner in which each and every pupil conducted themselves is enough for any parent and teacher to be immensely proud of,” said Elsie.

  AUTHOR
Earl Baillache
Journalist

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