Former Emzi Junior Secondary School scholar Ayanda Ncinane recalled his days at the Cacadu-based school when he made a donation of 54 pairs of school shoes and other items on Heritage Day.
Ncinane said he had to drop out when he was in standard 3 because he had no shoes. His visit was aimed at giving back and assisting young people to ensure that they did not go through similar experiences. Through his organisation, the Ayanda Ncinane Foundation, he had made countless donations towards education and had adopted Emzi JSS as a beneficiary of the foundation.
Pointing at his village, a distance from the institution, Ncinane said he used to walk to school in freezing cold weather every day and had vowed that no child would experience the same struggle. “My past experience was one of the reasons I formed this foundation. As long as I am still here, no child at this school will struggle or be in need. I will try and give them the little I have. We are here to restore the dignity of black children and to say they are not alone. Leaders came out of this school. We are here to bring hope and encourage parents to show their full support,” he said.
A principal by profession, Ncinane said he had targeted winter for the official donation, but there had been delays due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
Noeven Khanyiso, an elderly woman who could not contain her gratitude, said the majority of grandparents were raising grandchildren in the area which came with its own challenges. “We have children in Cape Town and other big cities who are parents to these children. They are trying to make a living. Matters sometimes force us to send them our social grant money because we do not want our own children to suffer and end up being victims of abuse and murder. We are forced to take from our own old age pension grants to ensure that our grandchildren get a proper education because we do not want them to end up like us. You (Ncinane) have no idea what difference this (donation) has made in our lives,” said Khanyiso.
On behalf of pupils, Sesethu Mtana said: “We are thankful and happy to know that there are people who are keeping us in their thoughts and not forgetting where they came from. We are happy to know that someone realised we are in need of such support. Some pupils did not have school shoes, but this donation has brought relief,” she said.
Principal Nozuko Madikane acknowledged parents and guests, highlighting that although the school was situated in a deep rural area, it would reach greater heights with support from the community.