THEY may have been more than 1000km apart and in two different provinces but two groups of people had one goal this weekend – to improve Port Elizabeth’s Kwazakhele High School.
While about 1500 people in Port Elizabeth from the Rainbow Nation Club, Numsa and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and community members revamped the school, a group of more than 80 people – led by Port Elizabeth-born businessman Saki Macozoma – completed the Discovery 702 Walk the Talk Challenge in Johannesburg.
The Rainbow Nation Club’s Len Terblanche said the Port Elizabeth volunteers painted classrooms and fixed the school fence.
"We have also started a vegetable garden for the school and planted 50 trees. We also put in a facility for a feeding scheme,” Terblanche said.
Macozoma, one of 36 pupils arrested at the school in 1976 and sent to Robben Island, led a group at the annual big walk in Johannesburg.
Their aim was to collect books and matric dance items for the high school.
Macozoma, who is the president of Business Leadership South Africa, said this was his way of investing in his community.
"I grew up at Kwazakhele and KHS is five minutes from my home and it is where I attended my high school. I want to give back to my community through education,” he said.
Student Sponsorship Programme finance director Namhla Tshetu said a group of 82 people registered as the KHS Gauteng Partnership participated in the big walk in Johannesburg.
"We walked for 798km [combined total of all the walkers] and for every kilometre we walked we would like the public to donate a book,” she said.
Tshetu said the school had a 33% pass rate, a situation that prompted them to act to help the pupils achieve more academically, thus restoring the school’s pride.
"We want to rebuild the history of the school that was burnt down in the 1980s. The team will be assisting and working with KHS to improve the school holistically, academically and administratively,” she said.
Tshetu said they had partnered with TeachSA, an initiative that recruits, trains and supports the most talented recent university graduates to commit to teaching for a minimum of two years in some of South Africa’s most disadvantaged schools.
The Nedbank Foundation will deliver a mobile library with 800 books, a TV and three laptops to the school today.
Deputy principal Lindelo Mkrakra said they were excited about the changes.
"We are excited about the library because the school did not have it before and we will be able to refer kids to the library and encourage reading,” he said.
"It will also come in very handy for the teachers as they will use it to get information that they need.”