By Emihle Nelani
Luthando Makhubalo (34) is a Mary Waters High School Learner Support Agent (LSA) who has set up a fundraising drive to secure essential uniform items for the school’s learners, many of whom are going without jerseys, trousers and shoes in the cold winter months. The main items needed are school uniforms and school shoes. Makhubalo says he is not afraid to ‘ukucela’, meaning to ask for something that will benefit people who are really in need of it.
Makhubalo moved from Qonce to Makhanda just last month and has already made a huge impact on the learners. As a qualified teacher, one would think he would prefer teaching and earning a salary but he says, for him, it is not about that but about helping people in need and striving to make a difference in children’s lives. He mentions that he grew up in a neighbourhood that is much like Mary Waters, so he knows the struggle and doesn’t want any learner going through what he went through.
“It is very important to create a safe space for the learner to be able to confide in me so I can help, because it’s not all black and white and I cannot really see from appearance,” says Makhubalo, explaining that vulnerable learners are not always easy to identify from appearance alone. There are over 20 LSA’s in Makhanda and Makhubalo likes to go the extra mile, even making home visits to learners where necessary.
He also has a good number of followers on his social media platforms which he uses to collect sanitary towels, school shoes, and school uniforms for learners in need.
Makhubalo does not want anything in return for his hard work except smiles from the children and for families to feel less burdened. “When positivity is the only thing you have, you cannot help but be positive. You have to cling onto it. You must take it as a learning experience every day, especially with donating. When you’re knocking and someone doesn’t answer, take that as a learning experience and ask why the door was not answered,” he tells Grocott’s Mail.
Luthando shows the true skills of a good leader as he does not get discouraged regardless of the hurdles in his way. He gets knocked down but still is able to rise the next day and knock again, because he knows the end results will be amazing for the learners of Mary Waters.
If you want to contribute, please do reach out to Luthando Makhubalo at 083 5138458. If you don’t manage to reach him, please try Mary Waters’ principal, Alphonso Michaels on 078 0197938. Even the smallest things will make a difference.