Connecting former students to their alma mater to make a difference

Imagine knowing that a sports star, minister or celebrity sat at the same desk, looking at the same chalkboard and heard the same lesson?

AlumnusOnline — a free online platform that aims to accelerate the advancement of South African schools — wants to reconnect former students and their old schools.

According to the organisation’s founder and executive director Dr Bheka Makhathini, the programme began when Makhathini wanted to honour the legacy of his grandfather — a teacher who had taught in many of the schools around Mfume in southern KwaZulu-Natal — by building a library in his name at the school he had taught.

But Makhathini realised that he could not undertake this journey alone, so began recruiting former classmates to help him with this journey. He learnt there are several other schools that could benefit from a library, science and IT lab, and sports fields.

A trained teacher and veteran of the education department, Makhathini has spent the last four years to make AlumnusOnline a reality.

With support from Bryte Insurance, Strauss Daly, Dimension Data, Internet Solutions and SoluGrowth, the organisation hopes to encourage former students to register on AlumnusOnline and to start helping their former schools.

“Everyone went to school somewhere. They can become guides, mentors, role models,” said Makhathini.

The online platform is a not-for-profit, and Makhathini hopes that it will gain support from corporates hoping to fulfill their BBB-E profile. AlumnusOnline offers corporates the opportunity to fulfil their skills development by putting money towards schools.

Makhathini said that AlumnusOnline can help corporates to identify schools they can donate too.

The department of basic education has been invited to join the programme too, however Makhathini does not want the department to “hijack” the programmes operations.

“We know that most of the fiscus goes to education. We thought there could be an avenue that hasn’t been tapped yet,” said Makhathini.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Judge trashes entire lockdown regime as constitutionally flawed

The high court ruling will delight gatvol South Africans but is unlikely to stand the test of time

Eusebius McKaiser: Two important lessons to learn about racists

The racially intolerant act to keep black people in “their place”, some even while claiming they're allies

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday