By OVAYO MILISA NOVUKELA
Last Saturday, the Tuksie Educational Trust Fund, was launched in the name of Felicia Ngeniswa Mbebetho-Nkwinti, better known as Tuksie, at the Drill Hall in Makhanda. Ma Tuksie passed away in December 2020. She was a high school teacher at Leap Mathematics and Science School in Cape Town, where she was an isiXhosa educator and the Principal. Family members decided to set up a trust fund to honour her legacy of educational excellence, especially in disadvantaged schools.
Ward 2 Councillor Ramie Xonxa is the chairperson of the trust fund. He said schools would be provided with resources like uniforms and stationery. “We want to ensure that every learner has the adequate resources to learn and go to school every day,” Xonxa said.
The Nombulelo Senior Secondary School Choir graced the launch with majestic and elegant songs that lent peaceful energy to the proceedings.
“The organization wants to provide disadvantaged learners with the same opportunities and resources that learners at schools like Victoria High School and Kingswood get. We want them to be accepted in great institutions such as Rhodes University, the University of Cape Town, and other great Universities.”
The Trust is negotiating with the Department of Social Development, the Department of Basic Education, and the South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA) to act as partners on the project, Xonxa said. “We want to reach the most vulnerable learners quickly.”
Also in attendance were Ward 12 Councillor, Mzobanzi Nkwentsha, on behalf of the Executive Mayor Yandiswa Vara, and Chairperson of the Albany Museum, Lindile Jela.
Thandi Bom, the current principal of Duncan Village High School in East London, described Tuksie as a powerful woman who could touch and influence others to do more. “Tuksie taught us fantastic techniques that assisted us in getting the learners to give feedback in particular activities – and these techniques I now pass on to new teachers that come to the school.”
Bom said she left her learners at a music camp in East London to come to Makhanda to show her gratitude and appreciation for Tuksie’s influence on her career.
Ayanda Mbebetho, Tuksie Educational Trust Fund project manager and Tuksie’s son, said the trust was in talks with major private entities, such as the Kagiso Trust, Borbet SA, Spar, Volkswagen and Belmont Golf Club.
“This fund is important because many learners come from very poor families that can not afford to buy their children basic items such as stationery and uniforms,” Mbebetho said. Mbebetho said Tukie’s passion for teaching began at Makhanda, and the town made her the person she was. “The fund seeks to reach places and schools around Makhanda, Duncan Village (East London), Gqeberha and KwaLanga,” Mbebetho said.