Cape Town – He left the life of the big city and his job to settle back home where he is moulding future engineers and scientists.
Phethani Madzivhandila, 28, joined his childhood friends in Venda, Limpopo where they are teaching high school pupils maths and science.
Madzivhandila an LLB student with Unisa with his friends Vusani Neguyuni and Naftan Tshikuvhe started the Khonani Integrated Development Agency (Kida) a social and educational development agency. Its primary objective is to eliminate the socio-economic factors which disadvantage and limit the educational progress of learners across the country.
“It is our mandate to partner with learners whenever educational progress is delayed by socio-economic limitations,” said Madzivhandila.
“We started our programme in and around 2009 that time I was still in high school it was started by the likes of Vusani Neguyuni and Naftan Tshikuvhe. Who by now have completed their studies in different universities across the countries. I personally joined the programme in 2012 after matriculating where we would during the June holidays, go home and teach children maths and sciences. We at the time called our organisation Sense of Focus.”
They identified disadvantaged high schools outside our big three in Vhembe and would help pupils with maths and science and offer career guidance too.
“This has remained a passion for us since we started with this programme and now, we see that it is time we continue with this work on a full-time basis in Venda not only during the June holiday because the situation has not improved much since we had stopped doing this programme in 2016.”
Neguyuni said their primary reason for this programme is that it is well known that the matric results and culture of education in Vhembe district have been very strong and successful for the longest of time and in comparison, with other regions.
“However, besides these successes we still have other schools lagging and that need support in maths and sciences education specifically. Ideally, it would be great if we can reproduce 10 more Thengwes and Mbilwis from our region.”
Thwengwe and Mbilwi schools in Limpopo have been one of the top-performing schools for consecutive years.
The second objective of the foundation is to make education serve as an integral part of development. Vhembe has produced some of the country’s top scholars. However, Madzivhandila said they notice with sadness and guilt that after they matriculated they had to go to Joburg, Cape Town and other cities in the county to pursue qualifications in engineering, medicine etc whereas they have left a university back at home.
“The improvement of the state of the university of Venḓa will directly correlate with the improvement of our matric results in Vhembe if the products we are producing are also giving back or helping to develop our university. It is discouraging to think that almost 40 years of its existence the university of Venḓa does not have an engineering faculty or medicine qualification.”
As young and emerging academics we saw this gap and thus we have once again rebuilt our foundation Bono foundation that is a vehicle that we will use to try.He hopes that their foundation will eradicate the poor culture of maths and sciences education in the community.
“This means that we will be working with teachers, principals and parents to try and uproot the challenges and stereotypes associated with maths.”