Libo Macanda & Asandiswa Bomvana
Project: Make Your Move
Hector Peterson High School
King Williams Town, Eastern Cape
Asandiswa and Libo are very familiar with the social problems of their communities. But rather than joining in with the drugs or violence they are witness to, these two young ladies decided to help their fellow students stay focused and achieve at school. They started a tutoring project (a ‘Community Action Project ‘– CAP) after Forum last year. They tutored year grade eights in maths and economic management science (EMS), and of the 20 who came regularly, all of them passed their December exams.
Libo is a whiz with the maths and Asandiswa tutors in EMS. One of the big challenges in high school education is meeting the needs of learners from different primary schools who may arrive with diverse levels of knowledge in the subject. This affects teaching outcomes as some students struggle to keep-up while others are far more advanced. This was a particular problem in 2014 as there was no regular maths teacher for half of the year. So, having a tutoring project with those who are struggling, has helped bring them up to speed for grade nine.
Classes happen at Hector Peterson High School, from 3 – 4pm. Although they would like to continue their project, Libo and Asandiswa are now in their final year of school and have to attend mandatory study sessions after school. Some of the grade eights from last year would like to carry it on next year, once they are in grade ten.
One challenge they faced was keeping the grade eights focused on their work during the sessions. Asandiswa spoke about struggling with discipline. On the fourth lesson she decided to make a list of ground rules with the learners and apparently that worked a treat. One of the other teachers was very supportive in talking to students about their attendance and gave suggestions discipline.
Asandiswa had previously tried to start a different CAP that involved getting some of her friends to help out painting and cleaning at another school. The other youth in the community weren’t very interested in helping out unless they were getting paid however. This seems to mainly be a male thing as mothers and grandmothers regularly help out at places, cooking and cleaning for free. No one seems to know why this is.
Libo and Asandiswa found their skills matched really well and they were both excited by the idea of the CAP. Communication was easy as enke had taught them about respect, and clear ways to discuss issues; but also the importance of putting everything on the table. Together they managed to find a way to have fun, while being still being serious about their goals. By working together they were able to stick to their own deadlines and understand there are no excuses.
The biggest and best things
Libo and Asandiswa have loved sharing knowledge and having the opportunity to interact with young people. Although their friends think they are “wasting time”, the Trailblazers really enjoyed the experience and learnt a lot from doing it. For example, Libo has come to realise the importance of communication – of really listening for deeper understanding – and sees how with these skills she will be able to go further in life.
It can hard to learn these lessons as teenagers in King Williams Town where the opportunities to meet new people and experience new things are few. Both the girls relished meeting different people (and learning bits of other South African languages), and discussing different ideas with people at the enke: Forum. It was even an opportunity to make friends with other young leaders from their area they hadn’t had the chance to meet – Libo is still in contact with two local people from Forum. This has helped them remain motivated back home and feel connected to a larger group of active young people across the Republic.