Mpumalanga primary school gets powerful education boost

  • Uploaded on 10 December 2012

Learners and teachers stand in front of the new container library

Thursday 6 December marked the opening of the 22nd Mandela Day container library, at Amandla Primary School in eMalahleni (formerly Witbank), Mpumalanga.

Aptly named “amandla”, meaning “strength” or “power” in Zulu, this enterprising farm school continues to persevere under the guidance of a passionate principal, Mrs Sweety Masuku, despite facing significant challenges.

Educating the future

Amandla Primary School is located in eMalahleni’s mining district and is surrounded by coal and other mines.

Channel Islam International (Cii) highlighted the school’s severe lack of resources via its Educating the Future campaign, a broadcast project that seeks to inspire communities to help uplift humanity and support education and reading.

Liketh Investments, a local coal-processing company, decided to invest in the rural place of learning and also sponsored the container library. Amandla Primary is one of 16 rural schools that the company has “adopted”.

Students gather in a circle to look at one of the new books

Fondly known as Mma-Zet, the school principal began the event’s proceedings by introducing and welcoming guests to her small school. She recalled how she first opened the school in 1996 with just two rooms. At the time she was the teacher, the administrator, the parent and the principal, and mostly did everything herself, she said.

She continues to be just as involved in the running of the school, even though the institution has grown and now has five teachers. 

Ms Puleng Phooko from Breadline Africa said she was happy to see the level of involvement between the surrounding community and the school. As an example, one of the nearby homes serves as security for the school.

Ms Phooko explained how such partnerships allowed for growth, which was how the libraries were set up, in partnership with other organisations such as Room to Read, Soul Buddyz and Legalwise.

Mr Frank Meintjies from the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory said he was pleased with the progress made by the school governing board. He added that the library project, which sees the installation of container libraries in resource-strapped schools across the country, was an initiative that recognised those schools that had taken action to address the challenges they faced.

Mr Meintjies thanked Liketh Investments for financing and supporting the school’s development, and encouraged investment into the community as well.

Liketh Investments’ Mr Yacoob Mansoor thanked Breadline Africa, and spoke about how the coal-processing company had discovered the school and decided to invest in it and help drive education via the container library initiative.

The aim was to bring miners out of this school, he said, adding that Liketh Investments was proud of the achievements of the school. He commended the work undertaken by principal Masuku, who made sure the school was always clean, and the learners polite and interested in learning.

The senior presenter of Cii, Mr Inayet Wadee, spoke of how inspired he was by visiting the school, saying it allowed one to determine what we still needed to do to educate the future generation of leaders. He also revealed that the media offered an efficient way of contributing towards social development, as it could highlight the plight of the people. He said he hoped the school would grow to greater heights.

Mrs Masuku, who promised to take good care of the library and the books, then invited the parents to go into the library as learners sang their school anthem, “Amandla never give up, never give up, Amandla!”

Interviewed afterwards, Mr Meintjies explained that since Mandela Day was run by a non-profit organisation that faced ongoing fundraising challenges, it depended on companies such as Liketh Investments to support the Mandela Day library initiative.

He praised Liketh for sponsoring the container library at Amandla Primary school. He also cited the example of courier company Dawn Wing: “This company played a key role in Mandela Day 2012, following our national book drive, in the distribution of books to libraries. It distributed about 10 heavy boxes of library books per school to 10 schools, many of them located in remote areas,” he said.

“With the concrete support of companies such as Liketh Investments and Dawn Wing, Mandela Day continues to grow as a movement of good in South Africa and beyond,” Mr Meintjies concluded.

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