Polokwane O Weekend

Limpopo educators are introduced to orienteering

As part of the SAOF Expansion Plan, which aims to teach educators around the country how to teach orienteering to learners, four facilitators from the South African Orienteering Federation (SAOF) headed to Polokwane on Saturday, 20 August 2011. This was the first Level 1 Orienteering Instructor Course held outside of Johannesburg and it was hosted by Capricorn High School. The course was attended by 14 educators from 11 schools, most from the Capricorn district.

The one-day course focused on introducing educators to the basic principles of orienteering; the use of symbols on a map to represent a school environment, map orientation techniques and basic navigation and route choice skills. Although orienteering is a component of the Life Orientation syllabus, the sport is barely acknowledged in South Africa.

The two geography and 12 Life Orientation educators got hands-on experience when they participated in indoor and outdoor activities. They will use these same exercises in their classrooms to teach and practise basic principles. The course pack given to each participant contains booklets with additional information, lesson plans and laminated material to allow the educators to start teaching their classes immediately. The course concluded with each participant receiving their Level 1 Orienteering Instructor certificate from the SAOF’s VP Development, Garry Morrison.


A ‘Come And Try It’ orienteering event, promoted within the schools, was presented on Sunday morning by the team. Although the turnout was very poor, there were some shining stars. Mary Makhobotlwane from Mphachue Secondary School brought three learners and her young son to the event. Two learners, Ephraim and Jill, took to orienteering instantly. After being guided through the short demonstration course, they were on their own on the two kilometre course run on school property and between buildings.

“Salome Bopape from Mmamarama Secondary was my success story for the weekend,“ says Lisa de Speville, SAOF’s Expansion Plan project manager. “Salome battled with the map orientation activities during the course. On the Sunday morning on the demo course she started to visualise the symbols on the map as features but was still struggling with orientation. This is a skill that some people take a little more time than others to get to right. We set her off on the course and I really just hoped for the best. Well, I couldn’t have been more delighted to see her return absolutely ecstatic and gushing with joy and a sense of accomplishment. She made a few errors on the first few checkpoints but then she really excelled and the puzzle pieces came together for her. She has definitely been bitten by the orienteering bug!”

The SAOF will return to Polokwane mid-week in October to present another ‘Come And Try It’ event. Having made direct contact with educators through this course the SAOF will be better able to encourage more learners to attend.

Thanks go to Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) and the National Lottery (NLDTF) for making this initiative possible.


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