ANC treasurer-general, former premier of Gauteng and former minister of arts and culture, Paul Mashatile has launched the Manzi Mashatile Foundation in honour of his late wife and to use her passion for education to empower communities. Mashatile will be the patron of the foundation.
On Friday, Mashatile said the foundation was formed to remember his wife who passed away in July this year after a long illness.
While speaking to attendees at the launch, Mashatile described his late wife as a mother, pillar of both their families and the community, a businesswoman who sacrificed her own business career to focus on the family when Mashatile’s ANC and government commitments grew too demanding, a style icon who loved to travel and a religious woman.
Mashatile says Manzi’s love for education saw her instil the discipline not only in her children but in those of his sibling’s children who got to stay with them, and all went on to obtain a tertiary education.
“This is what makes education one of the pillars of the foundation’s work,” says Mashatile.
In attendance was ANC deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, who also expressed her support for the foundation.
“It is a proactive stance you have taken to name this foundation after sister Manzi Mashatile. We are looking at it beyond Alex, because I believe such a tool cannot remain small, it has to grow. Our children who go to school in the bitter winter without a jersey, when they have been impacted by the foundation, will boldly say: I am a Manzi Mashatile recipient of school shoes or a school jersey,” she said.
Duarte took the moment to urge South Africans who are able to help where they can in their communities.
“The government cannot do everything by themselves. It is time to develop solid social development organisations and understand how to live together. The government is not always going to be able to provide for each child.”
“This is where an such organisation can step in and help out. This will help provide hope for every child and women in the community, including the LGBTIQ community,” she said.
Mashatile said that the foundation’s main focus will be to assist and adopt Emfundisweni Primary School, which is a no-fee school, with its schooling and infrastructure needs, as well as assist learners with uniform and learning materials. The programme is expected to run over a five-year period.
“The foundation aims to run a total of five programmes, which cover the full spectrum of education from early childhood development right through primary and secondary schools to tertiary education and work placement.”
“The first programme is the adoption of the Emfundisweni Primary School, one of the oldest schools in Alexandra, which was first opened in 1952 and renovated a few times as a lower primary school to its current location along London Road, at 12th Avenue, where it has been since the 1980s,” he said.
The foundation will be headed by Mashatile’s son Thabiso Mashatile, who will be its CEO.
Mashatile [Thabiso] said that another direction that the foundation would take would be to explore ways in how to assist children impacted by the Covid-19 disruptions, which saw many children without resources miss out on school during the hard lockdown periods.
“Covid-19 presented a unique challenge to under-resourced schools, we will have to think about how we help the schools to be ready for similar challenges in the future” says Mashatile.
The foundation will be governed by a board of trustees, who will be responsible for crafting and executing its strategy and programmes.
“The board will be chaired by Advocate Lindiwe Michelle Maseko, a four-term member of the Gauteng Legislature and its first female speaker in 2009, as well as a member of the national Parliament and trained diplomat, who worked with Mashatile in both the Gauteng ANC Provincial and National Executive Committees as well as the Gauteng Legislature,” he said.