Iphutheng Primary School commemorates Mandela Day on 18 July in a way most befitting of the late statesman and former president, Nelson Mandela.
This started seven years ago with each yearly occasion celebrated under various themes, starts earlier in the year through various school improvement activities and culminates in a big event under the banner, Mandela Action Day. The occasion is held days after the celebratory euphoria of the18 July birthday will for many, have faded off. The initiative helps to sustain and make Mandela’s spirit of dedication to particularly poor children, a daily reality so that they too can live up to their dreams through education. This through expanded acts of charity, goodwill and selflessness from residents, the well endowed and other institutions partnering for the betterment of the nation’s future.
Inviting parents and organisations to join in this crusade, principal Kgamaga Thobejane said this year’s occasion to be held on 28 July will involve about 300 people from charities, NPOs, companies, residents and parents and other schools and institutions. “We ought to go beyond the usual 67 minutes to make the legacy real and last.”
Zimkhita Bilibana of E-Learning and digital solutions company Eiffel Corp (Pty) Ltd who with other staff members were adding their bit to the school on 18 July commended the initiative saying it focused deeply on growth and development potentials of the school. This said as they and Community Works Programme volunteers in partnership with the Joburg Development Agency (JDA) were busy at ‘work’.
“We covered textbooks to elongate their lifespan and reduce costs of books and distributed blankets to children in the early childhood development classes and had fun with them,” said Bilibane.
“It gives us satisfaction to be part of a collective participating in shaping the legacy.”
The volunteers who paved part of the school grounds with the JRA said it was their obligation to identify and partner on development projects at schools and other public facilities.
“The paving will prevent pupils carrying mud and dust into the classrooms and ensure children don’t miss classes when they get sick from germs and other ailments from contaminated soil,” Motsabi Manong said.
School principal Thobejane said the years of input by the visitors make fundamental changes in the texture of the school. “It continues from the cleaning-up done in 2012; fixing of structures in 2013; installation of whiteboards in 2014; fixing of clipboards in 2015; donation of goodies and solar lights for home study in 2016 and the beautification of classrooms and entertainment of visitors and parents by the pupils last year.”
This from a humble 35 participants in the first year to 200 who attended last year.
“More parents are now hands-on particularly in classrooms attended by their children. It develops in them a sense of ownership and belonging in the education of their children.”