WATCH: Teacher Appreciation Month celebrates Western Cape educators

Yanga Mahlathini and her son Sihle thank special needs teacher at Vista Nova School, Mrs Rajes Francis.

Yanga Mahlathini and her son Sihle thank special needs teacher at Vista Nova School, Mrs Rajes Francis.

Published Oct 1, 2023


As October marks Teacher Appreciation Month, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has published a selection of messages to teachers from their teaching family.

The video also marks the launch of the department’s #ThankaTeacher campaign.

In August 2023, the WCED asked the public to submit a message of thanks to a teacher that made an impact on their life.

They chose a selection of submissions, contacted the writers, and filmed them reading their message to their past or present teachers.

“The reaction of the teachers to the message was priceless.

“They were completely shocked and moved by the message of thanks, and humbled by the experience.

“They all indicated that it was wonderful to feel appreciated.

“We had a further surprise for them. We then brought in the writer of the submission to physically come into the room and thank the teacher.

“The whole experience shows how much our teachers appreciate a simple ‘thank you’,” said Education MEC, David Maynier.

Tokyo Mcunu, a teacher at Thandokhulu High School, said: “I am speechless and feel privileged to be recognised and appreciated in this fashion. It is indeed truly special, extraordinary and overwhelming. Massive kudos to my former student, Sinoxolo Maki and WCED for being part of such a phenomenal initiative of validating teachers, valuing them and letting them know that they matter.”

Sinoxolo Maki, facing camera, thanks Thandokhulu High School teacher, Tokyo Mcunu.

Kevin van Blommestein, a retired teacher who last taught at Windermere High School, said: “I feel honoured and humbled by the Teacher Appreciation initiative by WCED, which highlights the transformational role that teachers can play in the lives of their learners. I believe that teachers can impact positively to support learners to discover their true potential. Our youth will inherit the future and it is our duty to equip them with the skills to solve problems by applying Science and Technology knowledge. As teachers we can make a difference one learner at a time. Be the difference.”

Mthawelanga Ndengane thanks retired teacher Kevin van Blommestein.

Rajes Francis, special needs teacher at Vista Nova School, said: “There is no greater reward than being acknowledged and thanked by a parent for the role I play in her child’s life. After 42 years in the teaching profession it is a privilege to exit my teaching career in such a manner. I hope that this gesture of #ThankaTeacher by the Education Department will continue as there are many deserving teachers out there who need acknowledgment.”

Let your special teacher know how much you value the work they have done, by posting your words of appreciation on social media using the hashtag #ThankaTeacher.

You can do this by:

  • Writing and posting a message about your teacher
  • Posting a video message to or about your teacher
  • Drawing and posting a picture of you and your teacher – why not surprise them!
  • Posting a photo of your teacher – and include their name and grade.
  • Posting anything to show you appreciate teachers!

Tag these with #ThankaTeacher – so that teachers can view them and see how much we collectively value them.

Cape Times