"History has been made and I will never be able to thank KHULA enough"

Dear Friends,
We recently attended an awards ceremony celebrating the achievements of schools in our local area and experienced one of those ‘pinch me’ moments as KHULA-supported schools swept the board with all the big prizes. KHULA was also commended by the Department of Basic Education for our “continuous and unwavering support” for local schools.
We were especially delighted that Ntalantala High School, where we only began providing supplementary teaching one year ago, took home the crown for Best Performing School in the entire circuit, with its Grade 12s achieving a 100% pass rate for the first time in the school’s 40 year history. It even made national news!
Read on to learn more about these outstanding achievements, as well as the opening of our fourth preschool, the launch of the Charles Aikenhead Skills Hub, and more.Our fourth preschool is open!

The construction team had to battle against heavy rains, but after much anticipation, our newest preschool opened its doors to 40 little learners on 21 February. With our three existing preschools oversubscribed, this is an important step in increasing our capacity to provide quality foundational learning for 3 and 4 year olds. And, in an area where not all households have enough to eat, we also provide two hot, nutritious meals a day for every learner.Awards all round for KHULA-supported schools

Students' ‘Matric’ exam results are in and the KHULA difference continues to be apparent. KHULA-supported high schools outperformed both provincial and national pass rates in Maths and English and there were several firsts.

Upon learning that his school had achieved a 100% Matric pass rate for the first time in its history, Acting Principal Mr Sizwe Nkwanyana said:

“History has been made and I will never be able to thank KHULA Education enough. I keep pinching myself to see if I’m dreaming, but if this is a dream, then I don’t want to wake up!"
At the local circuit awards in February, KHULA-supported schools won further accolades, including Highest Number of Bachelor Passes (the minimum pass to pre-qualify for tertiary study) for Siyanda High School, and Top Performing Student in the Circuit going to Aphelele Ndebele of Ntalantala, where we only began supplementary teaching last year. Aphelele is also one of our Coca-Cola Scholars, and recently started her BA in Education at the University of Johannesburg.

Above left: Ntalantala Grade 12s celebrate their Matric results with KHULA's Head of English and Maths Denver and Chris. Above right: KHULA's Debbie Heustice, Acting Principal of Ntalantala Mr Nkwanyana and Circuit Manager Joyce Ntombela celebrate Ntalantala's historic achievement at the Circuit Awards ceremony.Ngilalele: Building confident, emotionally resilient young leaders
Having the courage to ask questions; speaking with clarity and confidence; making eye contact; all of these are vital skillsets in the modern classroom and workplace. Yet young Zulus are taught to not look their elders in the eye and to only speak when spoken to. A way of showing respect, these behaviours can nonetheless be misinterpreted and hold young people back in education and work.

With the full backing of local communities, Ngilalele (Listen to me!) sensitively strikes the balance between celebrating and instilling pride in learners’ Zulu heritage, while helping them to become confident, curious young people who can successfully navigate the world of work and wider society.

After watching a praise poetry performance by Ngilalele's 2023 cohort, local councillor Xolani Kheswa commented: "Today you blew my mind because I wasn't expecting our kids to be able to perform like this. And this is a really serious, rural area, but look at our kids! It's unbelievable!"

This month we kicked off module 1 with Grade 8s across four schools. Over the coming months, they will take part in regular workshops, group work and performances to build their self-esteem and significantly enhance their confidence and communication skills.

The project goes further, with the results of a 2023 study by our Educational Psychologist showing significant improvement in young participants' emotional wellbeing and resilience, with 84% stating that they felt an improvement in their psychosocial functioning following the project.

“Ngilalele was more than awesome. When it was my first time doing the poems, I was scared. When it was my turn I used to think of running away because I was extremely frightened, thinking I would mess up. I didn’t believe in myself, I couldn’t stand before the large audience. But ever since Ngilalele began, I see myself as above all that!  I am powerful, I can present, even demonstrate and give explanations in front of millions of people! I’m no longer scared."I never thought that the timid and shy young me would turn into this confident, sure girl, but here I am! This programme helped me a lot and I’ll never forget about it.”Aphiwe (pictured above during an Ngilalele performance in October 2023), reflects on the programme's impact.Training in full swing at the Charles Aikenhead Skills Hub
Following the official opening of the Charles Aikenhead Skills Hub on 22 January, this beautiful former hotel is now a hive of activity, with over 150 young people already joining our job readiness trainings this year alone, covering areas including basic computing and digital literacy, CV writing, interview skills and more. We also have dozens more walk-ins from members of the community who can use the hub’s computers and downloaded content for self-study, job searches and applications, as well as seeking advice and help from our team.
Demand for this training is huge, with young people walking up to 16km to join our course, and a several hundred-strong waiting list. As one participant explained, “I was privileged to be able to go and study outside KZN and have access to a computer, but there are people in the community who don’t know what a computer is and what it does.

“At the Hub, I learned a lot more than what I learned at school. I learned how to type, how to clean up a computer and good work ethics – that is something they don’t teach at school. It was a great opportunity and an inspiration for our community.
“We learned digital skills, interview skills, communication skills, good work ethics, CV and cover letter writing – they really boosted our confidence in communication and how to resolve conflict. I also learned how a cover letter should be written – before, I thought it was just ‘please find attached my CV’. It boosted my confidence to know I was doing it right.”
We have big ambitions for the year ahead, so watch this space for new vocational training coming to our Skills Hubs in Rorke’s Drift and Sigubudu in 2024!


On Monday 22 January, the Charles Aikenhead Skills Hub was officially opened by Honourable Mayor Ald Cllr Petros MS Ngubane of uMzinyathi District Municipality.With thanks to you for making all this possible,

Iona, Debbie and the KHULA team
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