I have the great good fortune to live in a country where a barefoot lifestyle is not just tolerated but encouraged. South African children go to school, to the mall, to movies, to restaurants, to friends, to the doctor and in fact everywhere barefoot and no one bats an eyelid. If a shop in South Africa ever put up a "No Shoes, No Service" sign it would go out of business. South Africans simply would not put up with that kind of nonsense. I started this blog to promote a greater acceptance of the sensible and healthy practice of going about barefoot in those parts of the "developed" world where things have become more important than people and where people seem to have forgotten what is good for them.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Barefoot to School in South Africa

The South African National Guidelines on School Uniforms published in 2005 emphasised the need to reflect South African culture and tradition and states:

 Schools must also be sensitive to climatic conditions. …  Pupils, especially in lower grades, should also be permitted to attend without shoes in hot weather.”

In practice, kids go to school barefoot only until Grade 7 (12 or 13 years old).  In most high schools kids are, unfortunately, expected to wear shoes.

From a primary school website showing permitted summer dress options for boys

From another primary school website showing summer dress for boys and girls - no option of shoes here

From another school website ("Somersdrag" is Afrikaans for "Summer Dress")

Sport and PT kit for boys and girls at one primary school

Rugby kit

Part of a class photo

Kids in class

Grade 5s working on a project

Grade 3 boy among high school kids on stand

Kids in class at Goudkop Primary School

Grade 7s on leadership camp

Kids at school

Entrepreneurs Day at a primary school

More entrepreneurs

Kids lining up for class


  1. When I was growing up in rural Georgia, close to half of my classmates went to school barefoot in warm weather. As the principal's kid, for some reason my parents required me to wear shoes. Perhaps because I had been stung on the foot by a scorpion as a preschooler, I never rebelled at that. A friend who grew up in Selma, Alabama, told me that the pediatrician in that small town advised parents to have their children to go barefoot, so barefootin' was nearly universal among kids there.

  2. I grew up in Pretoria and like all South African kids i went barefoot everywhere. As an adult i still go barefoot everyday at home. Kaalvoet is lekker

    1. If it is not due to poverty, walking barefoot outside by choice, is not only very unhygenic, it is very uncultured.

  3. kids going to school barefoot just seems so right, I personally think school shoes must be axed from all schools. Kids ought to, and should be barefoot at school, it looks "schooly".

    1. No mention about hygiene. No wonder. The reason the vast majorty of black people in South Africa who are barefoot today, is not because of tradition, it is because of poverty and the lack of money to buy shoes. The reason why the white Afrikaner country bumpkins like to be barefoot, is obviously not because of poverty, because of their lack of understanding about hygiene and for being uncouth and uncultured.

    2. Actually...walking barefoot is much more hygienic...in sun light all germs are killed by ultraviolet rays...whereas wearing shoes....germs and fungus have the ideal pH equilibrium to thrive...your feet are most likely rotten with athletes foot...smelly and sweaty... kinda gooiee and sticky...sticky slimy black stuff between your toes...hate to be in the house or room when you take of your shoes...