Slice of Life: The gift that keeps on giving

'Giving back is very important to me because I am from Alex and people saw my potential along the way and helped me to get to where I am now' — Smangele Mbatha. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

'Giving back is very important to me because I am from Alex and people saw my potential along the way and helped me to get to where I am now' — Smangele Mbatha. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

My siblings ran back into the house after school and told me that two of my students from Emfundisweni Primary School got full high school bursaries from the Alexandra Education Committee.

I was blown away! I couldn’t believe it because I had struggled to get various places to help to fund the students I was tutoring.

The idea to start the Saturday school programme came to me when I was helping my two younger siblings with their homework. I noticed that they were struggling with things like basic comprehension and doing long-division sums. And they were already in grades five and six.

On a good day, there are about 40 students in each class at Emfundisweni and teachers struggle to give each learner individual attention.

I started the programme in 2016. There are eight tutors who help the students with maths and English and the teachers give us the study materials and guide us. Many pupils who come to Saturday school struggle with principles in both subjects, so to see that two of them had improved so much that they ended up getting full tuition is a really big deal.

Giving back is very important to me because I am from Alex and people saw my potential along the way and helped me to get to where I am now. I was able to go to high school because of funding from the Alexandra Education Committee and later from the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation for my tertiary studies. It’s very important to me to introduce opportunities into my community that people don’t know how to access. — Smangele Mbatha (23) as told to Mashadi Kekana

Mashadi Kekana

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