South Africa recently celebrated Freedom Day. On the 27th April 1994, South Africans celebrated their first democratic and non-racial election. It was very apt that President Jacob Zuma chose Freedom Day to bestow the Order of the Baobab in Bronze to 92 year old teacher, Nontsikelele Qwelane, who has dedicated the past 73 years of her life to teaching.
Education sets you free, and the first step in the process of acquiring an education, is learning to read. However, in order to learn to read, one has to have access to books. Unfortunately, this remains a luxury for thousands of young South Africans.
The children at Refalletse Primary School in Orange Farm are a case in point. Many of the learners come from child-headed households, or from households where the parents are unemployed, and in some instances, unable to access Social Grants for their children.
Being a former school teacher, I understand the true value of reading. I was absolutely delighted when ACCA SA took the decision last year that as part of our corporate responsibility, we would ‘adopt’ Refalletse Primary School.
In lieu of bestowing gifts at our Annual Sustainability Reporting Awards in October last year, we decided to use this funding instead to convert a prefabricated building into a school library.
Thanks to a lot of hard work on the part of the ACCA SA staff, former Rotary President for the Johannesburg East Club, Amanda Botha and her team, and the team from Blackmoon Design & Advertising, we recently fulfilled this promise. Refalletse Primary now has a fully-stocked school library, with a magnificent world map on one of the exterior walls. Grateful thanks too to Rotary’s Humanitarian Centre, who very generously allowed us to select books from their well-stocked warehouse.
It is our fervent hope that the school library helps to instil a love for reading, and that access to knowledge, opens a window to the world.
I am reminded of an old African proverb, which says: “It takes a community to educate a child.” ACCA SA is very proud to be part of the Orange Farm community. We are also very proud to be playing a role in equipping learners with tools, which can set them free.
The youth are our future. We can make no better investment than investing in our youth. Biographer of the Greek philosphers, Diogenes Laertius’ words still ring true today: “The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.”
Head of ACCA SA