Thandanani is a Terrific Teacher

Midlands Community College in Nottingham Road has many`off-campus’ activities that support teaching and learning of Maths and Science in under-resourced schools in the KZN Midlands.
One of its projects is a Mobile Science Laboratory which assists 50 schools that do not have a Science Lab. Six trained Lab Technicians go out daily to set up and demonstrate practical experiments from the science curriculum for over 5000 grade 10 -12 learners in surrounding rural schools. The technicians also help out at the College’s Maths and Science Saturday School and on-campus Holiday School.


Thandanani Mdakane – one of the Lab Technicians tells his story:

Thandanani - Vula.

Thandanani Mdakane, demonstrating a Science practical to learners at the Vula Careers Day on 19th Feb. 

My Name is Thandanani and I love physics a lot. After matriculating, I attended Midlands Community College where I upgraded my Maths and Physics results. I then took the job of becoming a lab technician.
Every morning from Monday to Friday we travel to different schools from Pietermaritzburg to north of Estcourt and towards the central Drakensberg. Our Mobile Lab was an Avanza, but we now have a bigger and safer vehicle for all the chemicals and equipment.
Our preparations for the journey start early in the morning. We split into teams to demonstrate Physical Science experiments for grades 10, 11 and 12. When I get to the classroom, I start by interacting with the pupils and sharing my personal experiences as a science student. In the demonstration I try to help as much as possible to demonstrate information in a practical way. This effort has impacted the learners’ lives because they always say they have a better understanding after I have demonstrated. Teachers appreciate the help and always anticipate our next visit. It usually takes up a lot of time, often we only return late in the afternoon.
The most frequent challenge is the large number of learners in one class, so some struggle to see the demonstration closely. It is always better for learners to be `hands-on’ and use our apparatus, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen.
When I began this job I had to learn how to speak loudly, interact with learners, and not be shy. The way I handled my first day was one of my proudest moments in the job, thanks to the training I received and the effort that I put in during my preparations. It makes me so proud every day to know that I am helping disadvantaged communities by helping the learners. Every time I think about this I know that I am contributing to South Africa.

Last week the Midlands Community College was invited to participate in Hilton College’s Vula Careers Day. Thandanani set up some experiments and many budding scientists took notes and watched with great interest. Thandanini has recently been awarded a bursary by the N3Toll Concession (who help fund the Mobile Lab Project) to study for a B.Ed in Maths and Science through UNISA.


Maths and Music.

Musicians from Shea O'Connor School entertained their guests.

Musicians from Shea O’Connor School entertained their guests.

Music Voyage was invited to perform at Shea O’Connor Combined School’s first Maths and Science award evening held at the school on Friday, 29 January.  The event was the organised by the HOD of Maths and Science, Mrs K Sewraj, who feels passionately that good achievement and hard work must be recognised. Certificates were given to learners who achieved in Technology, Natural Science, Maths Literacy and Core Maths.
The top learner for 2015, Thobeka Hlela, who achieved seven distinctions, was awarded a floating trophy sponsored by Nottingham Road Spar. The Good Fellowship award was presented to Tafadzwa Bero, a past Music Voyage musician. Tafadzwa, earlier in 2015, took part in the Eskom International Science Fair held in Pretoria and came first in his category, Environmental Science. He has been awarded a bursary to study at Stellenbosch University. Music Voyage is very proud of Tafadzwa and his achievements.
Current Music Voyage students who attend Shea O’Connor School provided musical entertainment for the guests. Everybody enjoyed the pieces our musicians chose to perform. Helen Mennie, director of Music Voyage says: “We would like to commend the staff of Shea O’Connor for a lovely evening of celebrations for students who are working hard to achieve high standards. Skills development, attitude and commitment are core values that Music Voyage believe in. Being acknowledged for your effort is incredibly motivating. Music Voyage is honoured to be associated with this award ceremony.”


Singakwenza Swims!

The Singakwenza Team

The Singakwenza Team

Local charity, Singakwenza, was delighted to be one of the five main charities to benefit from the 8 Mile Event at the 2016 aQuellé Midmar Mile. Singakwenza had 25 swimmers, including their director, Julie Hay, swimming every event to raise funds for Early Childhood Education. “What an amazing team of swimmers again this year, and we are so grateful to all of them for using this event to raise money to provide sustainable Occupational Therapy services to children in crèches where we provide educational support,” said Linda Hill, Fundraiser for Singakwenza.
How awesome is it when some real super heroes arrive to swim for you? Batman (aka Cablan Khaled) and Superman (aka Paul Barron) swam some of the events wearing their superheros gear!
“We want to say a huge thank you to all the swimmers and their fantastic supporters for making this an event to remember, and especially for the funds that they have all raised to ensure that we continue to change children’s lives through education. What an epic weekend!” said Singakwenza Director, Julie Hay.