On Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology (EBIT), in association with Dr Martina Jordaan from the Department of Informatics, volunteered their 67 minutes at Kutumela Molefi Primary School in Pienaasrspoort, near Bronkhorspruit. The challenges facing the school include a lack of running water, a sewage system and general resources. The Faculty has elected to adopt the school for two years. This year, their contributions included providing cleaning services, furniture, stationery and treats for the children. All contributions and donations were from staff and students in the EBIT Faculty.
Mr Solly Manaiwa from Dr Jordaan’s office and Mpho Mashaba, a computer science student, worked with the school’s staff to improve their working conditions and make for a more productive working environment. Mr Manaiwa expressed his excitement and hope that we can do more in the future, as the educators are committed to the school. He said: ‘I am glad to be here and wish we could have the 67 minutes every day.’
What made the experience more enriching was the involvement of the school staff members in the improvement of their own environment. It is worth noting the joy experienced by one of the educators, Mr Simon Malepe, when he uncovered his family memorabilia hidden beneath all the clutter. He could finally put it up on display. He expressed gratitude, as he will now enjoy freedom of movement, with increased legroom and space on his desk.
Michael Molefe, a mechanical engineering student from Mmakau in the North West province, was inspired by the Mandela Day poster on the EBIT website and decided to join the team on this visit. Like the learners at Kutumela Molefe Primary School, he is from a less fortunate background, which made the experience personal and meaningful for him. ‘Growing up, I was disadvantaged and my school was very poor. When I saw the Mandela Day poster on the EBIT website, I felt the need to make a difference in someone else’s life. I wish UP can reach more schools in townships and rural areas and create more awareness about them,’ Molefe said.
Ms Charlotte Mokwala, a parent of two learners at the school, impressed everyone by choosing to spend her 67 minutes washing the school’s windows herself. Ms Mokwala’s children are in Grade 5 and she felt she needed to set an example for them by giving back and taking responsibility for her environment.
Deputy Principal Ms Nana Motaung expressed gratitude and humility, on behalf of the school and its governing body, to the entire EBIT team for their efforts on the day and for this opportunity.
The Faculty looks forward to a fruitful and rewarding relationship with the school. We are honoured to be part of its future and encourage all students and staff to support us in all future endeavours. Let us strive to make every day Mandela Day.
As part of the clarion call by President Ramaphosa, the EBIT Faculty has embraced the Thuma Mina campaign and says:
I wanna empower,
I wanna be empowered,
I wanna be part of the 4th Industrial Revolution!
Let us live and let live.