By Steven Lang
Mandela Day started at 8am for Makana Mayor, Yandiswa Vara and her entourage as they arrived at a local school in Riebeek East. The Mayor took a leaf out of Nelson Mandela’s book by dedicating his birthday, 18 July, to the education of foundation phase pupils at some of the less privileged schools in the municipal area.
This year the Mandela Day focus is on primary schools aimed at promoting the culture of reading with understanding, especially in the lower grades.
The Makana convoy visited Riebeek East Combined School; Samuel Ntlebi Primary School; CM Vellem Primary School; and DD Siwisa Primary School.
Mandela always did his best to encourage education for young people because he believed, “That education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.
Following this reasoning, Vara and several Makana Councillors dedicated the special day to handover story books funded by Standard Bank as part of a programme called the Little Library Books for Primary schools.
The books are written in mother tongue languages because stories in these languages, particularly isiXhosa, are difficult to come by. Principal of the CM Vellem school, Khululikhaya Mfecane said, “Mother tongue learning is important, particularly at the foundation phase because for a learner to speak another language fluently, he or she must learn to speak their own language first”.
The Little Library Life Skills Kit focuses on promoting life skills to learners between five and nine years of age. Each school received two sets of Little Library Life Skills Kit (i.e. two sets of 60 readers, 12 colour posters, and one teacher’s guide for each school).
Standard Bank’s Rodgers Siyengo said, “We’re going to come back and assist teachers, to guide them to teach the kids in terms of reading and make sure they read with understanding”.
After donating books at the four primary schools, Vara visited Nombulelo Senior Secondary School, to donate a huge electronic keyboard in recognition of the school’s performance at the South African Schools Choral Eisteddfod.