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Simphiwe Mtshali

Life under lockdown #5: Simphiwe Mtshali gains new skills

Once upon a time, when Simphiwe Mtshali was working in a health spa, where Women’s Month meant doing lots of manicures and massages. This year, during Covid-19 lockdown, she has been massaging numbers and building children’s futures online. From beauty therapist to maths tutor was a substantial career shift, but the journey continued in ways she hadn’t anticipated during lockdown. “I was lucky to find a job with JumpStart in 2019, which changed my life. This unlocked my newfound passion for teaching,” she says. “Now I’m using WhatsApp groups to teach maths to foundation phase learners!” Flipping from paper to digital Before Covid-19, all the mathematics teaching that happened at Sekgutlong Primary School was paper-based, with learners writing in pencil in their NumberSense workbooks. This is one of 20 schools that is funded by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. After the president’s announcement of lockdown, all that changed. JumpStart tutors assisted in the roll […]

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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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Mosa Letsie

Life under lockdown #4: Mosa Letsie survives by studying

Mosa Letsie, a Sasolburger born and bred, found that lockdown can be survived by sticking to the books. This mathematics tutor at Malakabeng Primary School in Zamdela loves the school wholeheartedly. “I’m part of the family, as Principal Kganakga says!” says Mosa. Four months of lockdown without teaching has been painfully frustrating. Continuing her honours degree in education research through UNISA with a StudyAssist bursary is saving her sanity.  Goodbye graduation and good times Life during lockdown hit us hard. The first thing to go was my graduation ceremony! Oh my word…  Covid-19 robbed me of the chance to get up on the podium. We are still waiting for virtual graduation, and no certificate has come yet. I was so prepared for the occasion with my brand new dress and heels… The second thing to go was our social life. Looking around Zamdela, everyone locked themselves in their houses. No children were seen playing on […]

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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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