How 67 Minutes became 180
By Steuart Pennington
Asithuthuke Combined School, in Zenzane Village, is located a few kilometres from Balgowan station on the R103. It used to be known as the Michaelhouse farm school and had a proud reputation. Fifteen years ago it was taken over by the Department of Education and, until recently, made little progress.
In January 2019, Partners for Possibility (Pfp), a leadership development initiative which co-joins business leaders with principals from under-resourced schools, “partnered” with Asithuthuke. Pfp is a year-long process which encourages these collaborative “partners” to make a sustainable impact on the school community and the quality of education at the school.
Pfp operates in all nine of South Africa’s provinces and recently celebrated its involvement in 1000 under-resourced schools. It is now involved in the Midlands, reaching out to eight under-resourced schools.
67 minutes for Madiba saw a massive clean-up at Asithuthuke – a tip kindly donated by the Midlands Conservancy was completely filled with litter, the classrooms were tidied, unusable desks sold for scrap, usable desks repaired and the gardens neatened. After 180 minutes, 100 pupils and 12 staff sat down to a delicious meal of meat, beans and phuthu.
Earlier this year, four classrooms which had fallen into considerable disrepair were virtually rebuilt at very reasonable cost by H Budhu Building Contractors based in Mooi River.
The challenge remains to significantly improve the matric results and ensure that the school becomes functional as a place of learning. Thanks to the many contributions from a wide range of Midlands stakeholders including the Department of Education, the Michaelhouse Community Partnership Trust, the Midlands Conservancy, H Budhu Construction and members of the community, we are making steady progress.
Shows what happens when a community comes together!