It’s 6am and Johannesburg roads are slowly waking up to Saturday. Four of us in the burnt orange rental Micra bound for Potchefstroom for the first tutoring session at the Ikageng branch. It’s early, so we check in, both the left and right brain present, albeit with complaints about the crack of dawn call time.

It’s stifling hot by the time we park the car inside the school gates. We are greeted by Zanele’s (Branch Co-ord, Ikageng Branch) ever calm face, no sign of anxiousness about this historic event – she’s got this, no worries. Themba’alidanisi is a no-fee school with some underused classrooms. They are our hosts for the next few years and within safe travel distance from three local high schools. By the time we arrive, we’re a little sweaty, a little hungry, but Patrick (District Co-ord, GP) and I are travelling with professionals.

Shelton and Richard, veteran tutors from the Ivory Park branch get to work straight away, unloading books, sorting learner forms and reseating learners into 5 a table as per IY style. These guys are the real deal, fast and efficient.

The learners, hmm a bit early for them too and this is a whole different experience. They are more than bewildered when we go through the energisers; forty bodies being led through “in the river, on the bank” and “tsamaya reka Omo”. But that’s what was needed to get them going, they are alert and wide awake by the time we return to the room.

During introductions, learner after learner speaks of their challenges. But it’s their dreams we are here to serve, from the aspiring charted accountant, the mathematician, climatologist, to the many-many lawyers to-be.

The session was fun, Vision 2030 seems so achievable with all the enthusiastic charges. I dredged up fuzzy high school information, as I moved from group to group. Yep, I could remember the difference between debtors and creditors. Tick, on the question on similar triangles. I was feeling a little confident by now. This is far removed from the admin that dominates my day at hq. It was then that Tsepho mumbled a hard one across the table. It came out hesitantly, losing pace between the fingers that were covering his mouth. Even I thought I misheard him. “Do mosquitos have eyes? Because teacher says they sense the carbon dioxide and lactic acid off warm bodies; they can’t see”. Four pairs of eyes abandoned the Life Sciences book in favour of my very blank face. I thought I knew this, don’t they have compound eyes like flies? But I wasn’t sure-sure. Tick-tock, they were waiting. So I politely excused myself and consulted my best friend Google. It reminded me why the 5-a-table tutoring style works so well. Tsepho lacked the confidence to pose that question in class, he still hesitated in the small group, but he walked away with an answer.

Overall a great day one. Well done to Zanele for pulling it off. And here’s to Vision 2030, no learner to be left behind.