By LINDA DYANI
Likhanyise Zonke from Archie Mbolekwa won himself a laptop for his presentation on Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu in a Heritage Month competition at the Albany Museum. Likhanyise was one of 10 Grade 7 learners from different Grahamstown schools presenting their posters based on the theme, “The
Life and Legacy of Tata Madiba and Mama Albertina”.
The annual heritage event was held at the History Museum, one in the family of Makana’s seven
museum buildings, and also home to the Madiba exhibition.
Archie Mbolekwa, George Dickerson, SDA, Fikizolo, Samuel Ntsiko, Ntaba Maria, Andrew Moyakhe, CM Vellem, Makana, and NV Cewu participated.
Zandisile Sakata, the Assistant Director of Museums and Heritage from the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture conducted the program. One by one, the learners took to the podium with their presentations already loaded on the main computer. These are learners who come from previously disadvantaged background, in schools where there is a severe lack of resources such as libraries and fully functional computer labs that would have assisted them in cooking up an excellent project, yet their circumstances did not deter these young dynamites from producing excellent projects, thanks to the support they got from their teachers.
One such dynamite was Likhanyise Zonke who presented his original work with good articulation, maintaining eye contact, correct grammar and good flow. He even imitated Madiba’s voice!
One could almost picture Likhanyise later in life in a board room as CEO of an organisation clearly articulating
to his employees about organisational goals.
The judges were unanimous in granting Likhanyise the first place in the competition. Liyabona Matshaya from CM Vellem in second place won a with a tablet. Lathitha Lombo from SDA in third won a Red Mountain School bag and fourth placed Yanganathi Sora from George Dickerson went away with a scientific calculator and a
Common among the participants was Madiba’s famous quote “Education is the most powerful
weapon which you can use to change the world”. An article in News 24 in May this year stated
stated, “South Africa’s deficient education system is the single greatest obstacle to socio-economic
advancement, replicating rather than reversing patterns of unemployment, poverty, and inequality, and
effectively denying the majority of young people the chance of a middle-class life.”
One factor perpetuating this is the lack of resources in government schools. According to the 2014 statistics of the Department of Basic Education (SA), the Eastern Cape has a total of 5554 schools. Of these, 4872 have no computer facilities and 5004 have no libraries.
Of the 10 schools that participated in the Heritage Day competition, only one had a working computer lab – but with no internet. Most of the other schools have no operatingg computer facilities. some have, but they are not in working condition. The school with a working computer lab partners with Rhodes University which sends students to offer computer classes. If someone takes the initiative with purpose and good intention, there is always help out there.
It is against this background that I must again commend the teachers who took it upon themselves to
prepare the children for the competition despite not having resources to do so.
I can only hope and pray that administrators of the schools would have vision and passion enough to look for help from other sources other than the government. To have a library and a computer lab in a school is as basic as food and water for a human being. We live in a digital age and the sooner the kids are introduced to computers at an early age, the better.
However, in the 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy (PIRLS) study, South Africa ranked last out of 50 countries in which tested reading comprehension of learners in their fourth year of primary schooling.
The study found that 78% of South African pupils at this level could not read for meaning.
I would like to encourage parents to promote a culture of reading in our homes. Before we buy data bundles for our children’s cellphones, let us first buy more books to encourage reading with comprehension.
Albany Museum is proud to have hosted this event and fulfil their vision “to become a museum that is
an integral part of our community, contributing to the process of nation building through nurturing a
society that is aware of the value of its past and is constructively engaged in the present in order to
create a better future”. Zola Mothlabane, guest speaker the former principal of Archie
Mbolekwa who retired after 29 years of service, said, “As a retired teacher the event brought back good
memories of the class. This occasion was one of the best I have witnessed recently.”
- Reverend Linda Dyani works in the Marketing & Communications Department of Albany Museum. The
museum continues developing and researching social and natural history collections with a strong
emphasis on the Eastern Cape. The Museum is open from Monday to Friday 9am-4.30pm. The
Museum is closed on weekends and public holidays. If you would like to join the museum community by
becoming a Friend of the Museum, send your email to email@example.com or tel. 046 622 2312.
NOMINATIONS FOR THE MUSEUM’S BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Grahamstown (Makhanda) members of the public who would like to nominate members of the board of trustees for the oldest museum in the Eastern Cape have until the end of Friday, 28 September to put their nominations forward. Hard copies of the nomination forms can be dropped off at the Albany Museum Natural Sciences Building. For further information please contact Manzi Vabaza or Celeste Booth on 046-622 3212 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.