An inspiring young pupil and member of the Junior City Council from the Gugulethu, Ande Melane, dreams of using education to break the cycle of poverty.
The Grade 10 St George’s Grammar School pupil says he wants the youth to take pride in their identity and strive to achieve beyond their circumstances.
Ande, 16, grew up in the impoverished township and did his primary school at Xolani in Gugulethu but that did not stop him from attending an affluent high school. He believes nothing is impossible as long as one dreams big.
Ande and his school visited Intshinga Primary School in Gugulethu to inspire and encourage pupils to study hard. He also took the initiative to collect and donate sanitary pads to the girls.
The group came with a lot of learning quizzes, plays and food.
“As a council member we were asked to come up with initiatives. I thought of coming to my township and giving back what I have and my experience. I also grew up here and I know what it is to be from the township. But most importantly I want them to mix and mingle with others from different backgrounds and know that there is nothing impossible,” said the zealous young man.
He made everyone happy because a new ground-breaking programme has been launched which will see the Gugulethu school and that of Mowbray coming together to mentor and uplift each other with the aim of unity. “I am also here to show young Gugulethu children that I am from the same conditions but that did not stop me from attending a school outside my area. It makes me happy that from now on we will be sister schools. What that means is that few of the children from here will be able to enrol in our school. This is my way to build confidence in them,” he said.
Ande’s mother, Kim was also at the school to give support to her son. She said happy to see her child helping where he could. “He is a very good boy with good mentors. This shows the work of his mentors and the school he is attending. This is inspirational to the children of Gugulethu to up their confidence. He is multifaceted. He is in sport and school leadership. He is everywhere. He has a capacity to do a lot of things,” she said.
Programme coordinator from Intshinga Primary, Thembela Khume said the newly built partnership between the two schools was aimed at developing knowledge and understanding of the impact of extended services by schools on the development of children.
He said they chose the Grade 7s to be with the Mowbray pupils because they were in transit from primary to high school. “We are a disadvantaged school in an disadvantaged area so we will be running programmes with a school from an affluent area. That is a big plus for us and the well being of our children. But mostly this will show our children that it is not where you come from but what you can do. This partnership will open doors for our children,” she said.
Ms Khume believes the relationship will also develop life skills for the future of the Gugulethu children.
Another proud mother was the school’s dance teacher Thandiswa Swaartbooi who referred Ande to the school.
The former Intshinga pupil said she could not miss the opportunity for her former school to go away just like that. She hopes that the two schools will keep their partnership forever.