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School scoops R50 000 prize


“It helped change my attitude towards my studies and the teachers and I am now doing so much better. The project has shown me that anything is possible.”

IKAKANYENG High School has been named the Northern Cape champion in the 2019 Eskom Simama Ranta Schools Competition.

Colston Intermediate School and Floors No 2 High School clinched second and third places respectively.

At a ceremony held at Ikakanyeng High earlier this week, Eskom, in partnership with the Education With Enterprise Trust (EWET), officially handed over cheques to an excited group of pupils and teachers.

Simama Ranta, which means “empowering the South African economy”, initiated by the Eskom Development Foundation in collaboration with EWET, aims to identify and acknowledge South African schools that are leading the way in education initiatives aimed at entrepreneurship.

As the Northern Cape champion, Ikakanyeng High walked off with the R50 000 prize for their initiative of making vases and flower pots from recycled paper and old clothes.

According to Eskom, their efforts went beyond just being a school project.

“They positively impacted the community, both environmentally and economically. Through the sale of these products to the general public, as well as the district Department of Education, they assist their unemployed post-matric alumni by involving them in the project. The alumni were able to earn a stipend while exploring other gainful employment opportunities,” Thandiwe Nkambule, Eskom Northern Cape senior manager, said.

Idah Mphahlele, a teacher at Ikakanyeng High, and the facilitator of the entrepreneurial club, moved the crowd to tears when she explained how hard the pupils had worked on the project, often until very late at night, as no class time was ever sacrificed.

When pupils were working late into the night, community members supplied dinner, with other teachers availing their personal transport to make sure every pupil was delivered home safely.

Schalk Kabo, a pupil at Ikakanyeng, who was also the programme director for the event, echoed the sentiment of other pupils when he spoke of the benefits of this project.

“It helped change my attitude towards my studies and the teachers and I am now doing so much better. The project has shown me that anything is possible.”

Colston Intermediate School and Floors No 2 High won R25 000 and R10 000 respectively for their projects.

Onkgomoditse Serathi, representing Colston Intermediate as the first runner-up, referred to the experience gained in entering the competition, particularly in travelling to Gauteng to represent the Northern Cape during the adjudication rounds.

“We may not have won first prize, but the lessons we learned from our deliberations with other school clubs around the country helped us expand our entrepreneurial programmes at our school. We now not only run a successful tuck shop, but we have also established a knitting and crochet club with the elderly in our community,” Serathi said.

From Eskom’s side, Nkambule added that she was encouraged by the spirit of entrepreneurship seen in the competition.

“SMEs and the sustainability of this cohort of the market is becoming increasingly critical in our quest to strengthen the SA economy. To this end, the Eskom Development Foundation has a strong vested interest in the establishment and growth of small and emerging enterprises. We are committed to making a meaningful and sustainable contribution to the social and economic development of our country.

“Furthermore, we take our responsibility to develop South Africa’s knowledge economy very seriously and we will continue to work towards building a healthy, educated and skilled population that is positive about the future of our country and capacitated to lead lives they can value,” she said.

Ikakanyeng High have been prizewinners for three years running, being the provincial runners-up in 2017 and 2018. This year they have laid down the gauntlet and set their sights firmly on the national trophy, which also comes with a very handsome R100 000 cash prize for the school.

Uma Mahase, EWET project manager, in her closing remarks during the official cheque handover, committed to spreading the message of this project to every corner of the Northern Cape and expressed her desire to see more schools take up the challenge.

The 2020 competition is now open to South African intermediate and secondary schools that run entrepreneurship clubs that teach pupils the basics of starting and running a business while also responding to the immediate community’s social and economic needs.

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