A High School in the heart of a South African township is proving that with the right resources positive change is possible, making the sky is the limit!
Western Cape, South Africa – It was Nelson Mandela who said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” and the kids of Sinenjongo High School are finally getting the opportunity to change their worlds, thanks to one caring business!
The small township known as Joe Slovo Park was designed to replace the shack settlement of Marconi Beam with an orderly working-class suburb. However, it is now barely distinguishable from the informal settlement it was meant to replace. It is a mixture of fixed houses and shacks next to Montague Gardens in Milnerton.
In 2008, Sinenjongo High School – the only High School in the area – consisted of 700 learners, housed in container classrooms on a site in Joe Slovo Park in Milnerton, surrounded by shacks.
With 180 in grade 8, with a very high drop-out rate, there were only 45 learners left in the matric class. The pass rate that first year was an abysmal 27%. With little or no facilities – no hall, no staff room, no sports facilities and only the laboratories that Rabie Property Group had provided. It was freezing in winter and scorching in summer.
Rabie approached the Education Department to provide the school with proper facilities, but they had no land in the area. Rabie then secured the Old Mutual site on the corner of Freedom Way and Omarumba Road opposite Joe Slovo, where the new school is located and for which the Department paid Old Mutual a market-related price. The beautiful new school opened in January 2017 and comprises 33 classrooms, 8 specialist classrooms, 4 science laboratories, ablution and storage facilities, an administration block, a computer room, school hall and media centre and a dedicated sports field.
Rabie continues to support the school, chiefly in providing several additional teachers and ensuring that learners are transported to extra classes over weekends.
Most recently, the 2019 matric valedictory celebrations were held on 19 October (based on September results) and no less than 74 students achieving a bachelor’s pass, 36 overall distinctions and a 96% pass rate.
Learners, parents and teachers celebrated this great success in the beautifully decorated school hall on the day, with learners decked out in gowns and caps. With every name called to collect his or her prize on stage, the hall erupted in well wishes and applause.
With distinctions in all his seven subjects at the trial exams, Siyamthanda Mtyeku was awarded the coveted Top Student prize, with his mother and grandmother beside him, not able to contain their pride.
“We are incredibly proud of our learners”, said Mrs Nopote, Headmistress since 2010.
“Our children are destined for greatness on the wings of a great education and we wish them well for their final exams.”
The 146 grade 12 learners were awarded prizes for academic performance as well as participation in extramural activities such as choir, drama and sport.