Mandela’s school bequests delight pupils

2014-02-09 06:00

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Phokuhle Qenqe just started school a couple of weeks ago at Qunu Junior Secondary School but already knows she wants to be a teacher.

“I want to be a teacher so that I can teach children about Tata Nelson Mandela and his life,” says the six-year-old Grade 1 pupil.

Madiba was only a year older than Phokuhle when he enrolled at Qunu Junior Secondary in the early 1920s.

Phokuhle’s dream may come true after Mandela bequeathed R100 000 in his will towards scholarships and bursaries at the school.

In the will, read by deputy chief justice, Dikgang Moseneke in Houghton, Joburg, on Monday, Madiba also bequeathed sums of R100 000 each to Clarkebury Senior Secondary School, Healdtown College, Wits and Fort Hare universities.

He left the same amount to Orlando West High School for its role in the struggle.

Phokuhle is delighted by Madiba’s bequest.

“Tata loved this school and children in general and we also loved him. We miss him a lot.”

Mnoneleli Mbulana, the head of department at Qunu Junior Secondary, said: “When we got a call from Justice Moseneke breaking the news to us last week, we were shocked.

“We never expected it, that this global giant would not only inspire us in his lifetime but even from beyond the grave.”

The school governing body will meet this week to decide how the money should be used to fulfil Mandela’s wishes.

Clarkebury’s pupils and teachers are equally excited.

Madiba attended Clarkebury in 1935 and 1936.

Principal Ayanda Matshayana said Mandela finished his studies there in two years instead of three because he was so brilliant.

“Our children are working very hard. This bursary is going to make a lot of difference as most of our learners come from poor families. We are going to use it wisely the way Tata would have wanted,” he said.

Lona Kom and Yolanda Vintwembi, both 16, are in Grade 10 and want to be medical doctors.

“I want to be a doctor and help people in rural areas with my skill and to provide for my family. This is what Madiba stood for, he was close to his roots and my roots are here in rural areas,” said Yolanda.

She had a Xhosa version of Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, tucked under her arm.

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