As the world celebrated Mandela Day, on Monday July 18, the Ikusasa Lethu foundation marked the day by donating 134 school bags to Nolungile Primary School in Site C.
The foundation aims to give hope and encouragement to pupils who come from impoverished families to continue schooling despite the adversity they might be battling with.
Just a month ago, the foundation donated 124 school bags to Vuselela Primary School and last year they donated 126 school uniforms to the same school.
Bongani Makeleni, 28, director of the foundation, said that when a child’s basic school needs are not met his or her learning would be affected.
He said many pupils come from impoverished families where parents are not working, while other households are headed by children.
Mr Makeleni said they could have donated soccer boots or kits, but opted to focus on education because many young people were dropping out of school.
“The foundation was formed by three young Khayelitsha men who aim to encourage the youth of Khayelitsha to use education as a tool to change their lives.
“I was a former pupil here at the school so I understand the challenges the pupils face and we thought it was apt to celebrate Mandela Day with them.
“We know that one of the most important things that the father of the nation preached was education and children held a special place in his heart.
“And we are doing this in the spirit of Madiba.
“It was heart-breaking to see people using plastic bags to carry books and others had tattered bags.
“We know that some children tend to make fun of those who are less fortunate, and that can contribute to absenteeism and drop-outs,” he said.
Mr Makeleni added that they want to be a beacon of hope to the youth of Khayelitsha and encourage them to pursue their dreams, irrespective of the hardship they are wrestling with.
He explained that they are appealing to other young people who have made it in life to plough back into Khayelitsha and transform it into a better society for the future generation.
He said the foundation wants to breach the massive gap between those who have and those who have nothing.
School principal Peggy Manga said she was grateful that they chose her school and the donation would go a long way in encouraging the pupils to continue with their studies.
Like many other township schools, she said, the school was battling with inadequate resources and many of the pupils who attended the school were from impoverished families.
“We are beaming with pride that these young boys are ploughing back into their communities and are setting a good example to others to follow in their footsteps,” she said.
Parent Lindelwa Lokhwe thanked the donors for lightening her load.
“My husband is not working and I’m also not working.
“We are solely dependent on the social grant that we receive for my children and life is not easy at all.
“The school bag was in rags and we just did not know how we were going to buy a new one,” she said.