ON Saturday November 19, 2011, I took some of our staff members from Kalagadi Manganese, contractors as well as local celebrities, Penny Lebyane from Thobela FM and Kwela Tebza, to visit a school in Kuruman, the Northern Cape, called Makgolokwe Junior Secondary School.

We adopted the school as part of our continual endeavour to make humble but meaningful change in communities. The very first time we visited this school we were struck by the state of want and despair. The condition of school’s infrastructure and the environment was not entirely conducive for learning.

Kalagadi Manganese pledged its support to the school and subsequently erected a fence, contributed funds for painting some of the classrooms, and donated brand new laptops towards building a computer lab in order to afford these learners an opportunity that some of us never had as children. We remain challenged by the state of readiness of our education system to meet the demands of the 21st Century. A Century characterised by technological change, advancement and increased competitiveness. This we did, as previously stated, to make our humble contribution and to reverse the historical inequalities.

The sole and the main purpose of taking celebrities with us was to inspire learners and to tell them that whatever they set their eyes on is never beyond their reach. To say to those learners that, even you in Kuruman are not least among other towns. I also gave these celebrities, which they could relate to, an opportunity to encourage and to inspire them to set their sights to greater heights in life.

TI was thrilled to see their positive response with ululations and whistles, making me relive my youthful days. Penny spoke to young girls about issues of sexuality and urged them to preserve themselves. Kwela Tebza pampered the learners and the parents with CDs and words of encouragement. This is what our children need, an opportunity to be children.

I quietly took a seat to listen to what the Chief Education Specialist, Mrs. Dioka, had to say. I was deeply humbled by the sense of appreciation that she displayed. She indicated how grateful she was about our partnership with the school which started by the planting of a tree, that was later on called Kalagadi, to symbolize hope and success and the new dawn in the horizon. The parents, through the lips of Mrs. Ditake, also took the opportunity to express their joy and to instruct the learners to take ownership of the assets that they were bestowed with. Keamogetswe Leburu, who is in grade 8, expressed appreciation on behalf of the learners of Makgolokwe Junior Secondary School.

The head master of the school, Mr. Seboko, indicated that they were very motivated and encouraged by this invaluable gesture as management and pledged to look after the assets. The last speaker, who spoke on behalf of the chieftaincy of the locality, uttered words that will remain difficult to forget. She said, “The cries of our hearts have been heard.” Beloved, allow me to express my gratitude and thankfulness to all our employees, contractors who devoted their time and machinery to make sure that this day was a success and all the selfless people who graced this occasion with their presence and who, unbeknown to them, continue to inspire us and to tell us that we can make a difference.

Please see the event in pictures, although static and silent, they have an innate ability of telling us things that are rather ineffable.

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