Ambassador Lin Songtian and Chief Mandla Mandela with pupils in Mvezo. Photo: Supplied.
Mvezo - Pupils in South Africa’s most famous remote village of Mvezo, Madiba’s birthplace, were all smiles this week as Chinese Ambassador Lin Songtian handed over 44 computers, stationary, and school bags.

One by one the pupils of Makgatho Lewanika Mandela Primary School lined up in their trademark green and gold school uniforms to receive their school bags and stationary from Ambassador Lin. 

The Chinese embassy donated 10 computers to the primary school, and 12 computers to the Mandela School of Science and Technology. 

The gesture added value and enthusiasm to the back-to-school campaign.

“Investment in education is to invest in the future. Education and human resource development have always been the priority areas for cooperation between China and South Africa,” Ambassador Lin said. 

“We hope the computers will help the youth of Mvezo to conduct online training and education, and will connect them with the world. We hope it will empower and equip them so they are ready to build their country.”

Lin said he was impressed that in such a remote village there were two modern schools with complete facilities. 

“This gives hope for the future development of South Africa,” he said.

The Mvezo Traditional Council were also excited by the delivery of 22 computers to be used for service delivery work in the community, and to promote accessibility and computer literacy as an important stepping stone in the community's development.

“This ANC government regards rural development as a key area to unlock South Africa's economic growth. This development potential can only be realized through the recognition of education as a priority, critical for overcoming the rural-urban development divide,” Chief of Mvezo Mandla Mandela said.

“Mvezo, which gave birth to president Mandela, is now positioning itself as an innovative model for rural education and the fulfillment of Madiba's belief that ‘Education is the best weapon we can use to change the world," Mandela said.

Mandela said he was keen that relations between China and South Africa would not only be about policies, but would come down to the grassroots level and touch peoples’ lives.

“Socialism is very simple,” Lin said. “Achievements and progress must be shared by all, not like capitalism where the rich get richer and they forget about the poor.”

During his four day visit to Mvezo, Lin committed his government to work closely with the Royal House of Mandela and the Mvezo Traditional Council to help develop the commercial potential of Mvezo village by exporting some of the locally produced items like aloe and meat products. 

Mvezo has hectares of aloe growing naturally, and specialist soil studies will be conducted to assess what other crops are suitable for cultivation in the area.