Women’s Day – celebrating female leaders

Women's Day
This Women’s Day we celebrate women mentoring women in Sasolburg: Sellwane Sindi Mthimkhulu, Maki Skabata, Mamela Nkitseng and Avela Tshatshu

On Women’s Day we take courage from and are inspired by so many women who paved the way for meaningful change in South Africa. This year, we shine the light on two special women who have contributed to the growth and progress of the JumpStart programme in Sasolburg. Educator, Sellwane Sindi Mthimkhulu, and tutor, Mamela Nkitseng, are leading the way as they mentor and inspire the team there.

Sellwane Sindi Mthimkhulu

“I first met Mrs Mthimkhulu at Kopanelang-Thuto School in September 2013,” said tutor Maki Skabata. “She was the Head of Department in Foundation Phase while I was doing a learnership for my Grade R Diploma. In 2017, I joined the Jumpstart Foundation and was placed under Mrs Mthimkhulu’s guidance once again. She told me that the best results come when you make an effort to understand the children in your care. Most importantly, she taught me to respect my colleagues and to ask for help when needed. She encouraged me to be ready for teaching challenges and new experiences. She’s helped me enjoy my teaching, and to recognise each learner as an individual.”

Special needs – others and self

“Mrs Mthimkhulu has a gift for identifying children with special needs. She ensures that learners with special needs feel welcome in the classroom and enjoy their learning experience. With multiple roles, including teaching, leading her colleagues as Head of Department, and mothering her own children, she strikes a balance which encourages others to do likewise. She strives for order and things being “on point”, and expects the same from her colleagues,” explains Maki.

Self care is firmly on Mrs Mthimkhulu’s map. She is keen to educate others about good nutrition too. “It touches me greatly how she manages her diabetes by eating healthily and guiding me to make better food choices too. Despite living with chronic disease she is never absent. She is always present to us, her colleagues. She is really ‘Mama ke Mama’ to us,” Maki says.

“After the Career Expo we attended last week, she enquired about it. What had I gained? Was if fruitful? She is always motivating and guiding us towards self improvement. She asks for updates on my assignments and exams. I could write a book about her… my second mother who inspires me daily!” It is Maki’s fervent prayer that Mrs Mthimkhulu will witness her graduation soon. “She must know that her support wasn’t wasted. I’m forever grateful to Jumpstart and Kopanelang-Thuto Primary for the chance to be part of her team.”

Mamela Nkitseng

Mamela Nkitseng took over as a team leader on the Sasolburg JumpStart team when her colleague, Mosa Letsie, graduated and secured a post at a local school. Avela Tshatshu, a tutor at Isaac Mhlambi Primary School, shared her gratitude at the leadership and encouragement she has received from Mamela.

Wife, mother, daughter-in-law and student

“A wife, daughter in-law, mother of four girls and a third year UNISA student, studying for a Bachelor of Education (Foundation Phase), Mamela is the most warm hearted woman I have ever met, always giving her all in whatever she does. The love she has for her work and teaching at Theha-Setjhaba Primary is amazing. She has a calling for education and seems to manage home life and work with remarkable balance. She lost her own mother who was her best friend, and channelled her grief into reaching her goal. Daily she strives to make make a good home for her children, building them up and providing a good a role model for them. She has not let her age stand in her way of attaining her education. Mamela is dedicated to her school work and is nearly finished her degree,” said Avela.

Colleagues inspiring each other

Avela asked Mamela how she was coping. “Mamela explained her motivation saying that everything she does is for her children. She wants them to have a home of their own… such a mother is a blessing. We can always talk to her and she listens, giving us great advice and mothering us. Women’s Day is a great chance to celebrate women like Mamela!” said Avela.

Partner with us

Women supporting women brings a special kind of magic in the education of future generations. This Women’s Day, we hope to find women in business joining us as our partners. We welcome this support for tutors like Avela, Mamela and Maki, who aim to become teachers like Sellwane Sindi Mthimkhulu.

Can you help us create additional educational opportunities for women educating our communities? Please email Betty Oliphant for more information.

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