The solutions and innovations that will change the world – the cure for AIDS, technologies that will curb environmental destruction, art that unites and inspires – are inside young minds. Young minds that need an education so that these solutions can be developed and tapped. Sadly, most South African youth are enrolled in schools that struggle with the basics – from textbook distribution to learner safety – and so are denied the kind of education that engenders problem solving, innovation and leadership.
However, there is a fast-growing group of young people who refuse to be hopeless or overwhelmed. They are the ikamvanites: learners, tutors and social entrepreneurs who’ve developed an innovative solution to the problems of poor academic achievement and low access to tertiary education. Today, their branches in Gauteng and KZN are celebrating their 100% pass rate and 56% bachelor passes. Overall, 91% have achieved the bachelor or diploma passes they need to access tertiary education. Many ikamvanites excelled (22 distinctions achieved so far overall). “Education is the only thing that can catapult me, a daughter of a domestic worker, into the position where I can make gigantic improvements in our country and continent, by stimulating entrepreneurship, promoting education and tackling crime,” says Ntebaleng Morake, who achieved four distinctions. She’s been accepted at both Wits and UCT and will be studying Law and Politics next year.
The branches are celebrating their results with learners, tutors and parents. “IkamvaYouth has been incredible in helping my child to achieve so much at school. I am so happy today. Now- she has been accepted in three places- and we are confused what option she will take, though I know there are some out there who do not have even one option. Thank you, IkamvaYouth!” enthused Mrs Makhubele.
The Western Cape results will only be available either later this afternoon (according to WCED website) or tomorrow (according to the DBE). However, learners are currently arriving at the branches in Nyanga, Makhaza and Khayelitsha to share their results with their fellow ikamvanites and celebrating their bright futures.
“We’re very proud of all the learners and tutors and thankful to IkamvaYouth’s supporters who enable these life-changing results”, says Sbusiso Kumalo, board member of IkamvaYouth and head of Capitec’s Corporate Affairs. The tutors who help the learners to reach these heights are all volunteers. Most are university students and many are ex-learners from IkamvaYouth. They’re also the organisation’s greatest benefactors: this year, ikamvanites will be delivering the equivalent of well over 7 million rands’ worth of tutoring time to learners in nine townships in five provinces. The result of this phenomenal investment is an intensive, high quality programme that offers ongoing individual attention and support to learners for between R5k and R6k per learner per year.
IkamvaYouth is a by-youth, for-youth volunteer-driven initiative that was established in 2003 and has since been expanding across the country. There are no academic prerequisites for enrollment in the programme, which is free of charge. Most learners join with abysmal academic results and are from impoverished homes with unemployed caregivers. The impact of the programme is phenomenal. As Asanele Swelindawo, an orphan who managed to get three distinctions, says, “I now have the ticket to improve my life and one day be able to take care of my family”.
The full national results will be released once data from the Western Cape is available. IkamvaYouth sends an open invitation to all who want to join in the celebrations at their branches.
National Coordinator: Zamo Shongwe; firstname.lastname@example.org; +27837347246
Western Cape Coordinator: Liesel Bakker: email@example.com +27798854372
Gauteng Coordinator: Patrick Mashanda: firstname.lastname@example.org; +27 74 673 1215
KZN Coordinator: Thabisile Seme: email@example.com; +27 716109838