IkamvaYouth recently held an awards ceremony at their Nombulelo Secondary School offices, for top achievers in their subjects, as well as those who regularly attend the fee-free programme.
The organisation offers support to children from disadvantaged communities from grades 9 to 11 in achieving their life and academic goals – whether it’s arranging subject tutoring through Rhodes University’s Community Engagement programme, or assisting with applications for tertiary education bursaries.
Mihlali Breakfast, who enrolled at IkamvaYouth last year, was named the top student in isiXhosa. He motivated others by saying, “Between life and death, play the character!”
The venue was packed with students and their parents and one of the moms, Boniwe Mankayi, opened with prayer. Siphezintle Skade, Zimkitha Buthelezi, and Khululekani Mhlana later got to show off their singing talents.
The Grahamstown branch of IkamvaYouth opened in 2013. Branch Coordinator Nompumezo Makinana believes it’s not enough to take children into programmes at matric level because it doesn’t provide enough time for the kinds of learning processes they encourage.
Discipline is a requirement for participation. “If the child does not come to school, the parents must phone and inform us, not the child,” Makinana said.
Classes are three times a week and Makinana encourages the parents to follow their children’s books and their attendance at school.
“We are not here to make the children pass: we are here to help them to pass,” she told parents.
Her advice for the students was to associate themselves with those who are on the road to progress.
Mankayi said she appreciated what the school was doing for their children and that they might instead be spending their time in taverns. Luvuyo Potwana said he decided to send his child to IkamvaYouth after a friend’s child passed matric very well after attending sessions there.