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Q&A with JumpStart alumnus, Siduduzile Mthembu

Early Childhood Development (ECD), entrepreneurship, and dreams of becoming a speech therapist motivate JumpStart success story, Siduduzile Mthembu. There’s nothing small about her educational ambitions, which took some time to get going. There’s everything big about her determination to come back from hard times. Her life’s focus now is her work as an educator, entrepreneurship, and the dream of becoming a speech therapist. These things keep her in the books – literally and metaphorically. She wants to make a real difference to Katlehong, the community she cares about most. Sometimes you take a detour to get to where you’re supposed to be… How did it all start? After matriculating at Alafang High School I started an accounting diploma at Mangosuthu University of Technology in 2009. Plans didn’t go well. The stress of my studies and the pressure of changing my family’s future led to depression. Although it felt like failure, the skills I learned informed […]

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Given Msibi

Life under lockdown #3: Given Msibi in his own words

Given Msibi is a tutor with a fire for words. He observed and articulated the struggles of his colleagues and the learners in his care during lockdown. A drummer in his church band, Given takes every opportunity to stand up as a motivational speaker. Or did… until everything turned upside down this March. However, this aspiring data analyst and software engineer still has big plans. He wants to trouble the world, while yet spreading The Word to those in need. He shares his experience during Youth Month… A little backstory His mother never had the opportunity to get educated but her strength and resilience laid great foundations. She was a domestic worker who single-handedly raised her six children. It’s Given’s plan to make his mother proud. He matriculated in 2010 and then started a BSc at UJ. Without adequate finance, he couldn’t complete his degree. After working in the retail industry, he tried again to […]

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Life under lockdown #2: a golden opportunity to homeschool

If every cloud has a silver lining, then most people living under lockdown can’t see it easily. There are few bright spots when you have no work and a family to feed. Katlehong resident, Madintle Kubere, is an optimist however. With JumpStart’s help she turned her lack of employment into a golden opportunity to learn about homeschooling. A mother’s creative approach to lockdown Bathabile, 6, who started “big school” at Morojaneng Primary in January was very disappointed when schools closed and lockdown started. With an older brother in Grade 6 and his big sister in Matric, the responsibility for their continuing education was quite a load on his mother’s shoulders. When level four got going, her husband, Paul, managed to return to work as a CNC setter and operator working on truck axles at a nearby metal factory. Her husband’s work dropped to two and a half days a week while she sought a job […]

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Life under lockdown #1: a smiling angel in dark days

When Abongile Mhlola first heard about Covid-19 lockdown, she admits she was scared. The escalating numbers made her worry about her own chronic health condition. But Abongile’s nature is to stay cheerful in hard times, so much so that Mrs Macala, the Head of Department at Tamaho Primary, calls her “my smiling angel”. She wanted to make a difference to the children she could no longer teach face to face because of the lockdown regulations. “The first thing I did was to create a WhatsApp group with the parents of ten learners. The news spread quickly and soon, we had 38 learners on board and another three interns!” Teaching parents to teach via NumberSense Parents learn about teaching the topics in the NumberSense workbook via WhatsApp. They were invited to talk to the tutors privately if something was unclear. “We are all learning how to do this digital thing… I never dreamed of teaching online!” […]

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Teacher Talk: Mrs Macala motivates with JumpStart and hugs

Education with love is a daily happening at Tamaho Primary School in Katlehong. On a mild March morning near the end of the first term, all 43 learners in Mrs Nondumiso Macala’s Grade 2 class wait with excitement. Lined up outside her bright green door, those who have completed their homework are especially happy because they will receive their special “huggy huggy” welcome. All who’ve passed through her classes speak highly of this much loved and vivacious personality. After 14 years on the staff, she was appointed in 2016 as one of two HODs of the foundation phase, which caters to more than 800 learners from Grade R to 3. Her portfolio includes mentoring and supervising ten other educators, so she is very grateful to have two “angels” — JumpStart interns Hloniphile Mkwanazi and Abongile Mhlola. “They are my left and right hand, especially while I attend other school issues.” Inspiring discipline by rewarding behaviour […]

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