Good news for Masi High

Masi High School was once the pride of the Masiphumelele community and the whole valley. The matric pass rate was, at 84%, among that of the top schools in the Western Cape. Due to the protests in Masi since September 2015 and gang-related crime at the school itself, which left one 17-year-old pupil dead last year, the pass rate has dropped to 48%, the second lowest in the province. During the violence last year, the principal, Nelson Mafrika, was attacked and had to leave the school.

It is mainly thanks to Metro South education circuit manager Thandi Jafta, and a number of concerned parents and teachers, that after careful preparation on Monday 16 January, a meeting could be held at the school which was attended by more than 800 parents, the complete school governing body (SGB) and some community leaders.

At this meeting, Jafta spoke passionately about how a new future for the almost 1200 learners can be created – and how much the support of all parties is needed. She said: “Now Masi High is downgraded by the department to an ‘underperforming school’. Can we change this? We must change it! Let us not rest until Masi High is back from 48 to 84%.”

It means, in fact, a turnaround campaign and to have again quality education for the better future for all learners of Masiphumelele. Not only the SGB, but also several individual parents voiced their support for all efforts in this direction. Jafta committed herself to monitor the progress in the coming months. And the best surprise of the day: She brought back Mafrika who received a minute-long applause from all present. This warm welcome was echoed the next morning by all learners.

Some efforts will just need a certain code of conduct and discipline. Some other efforts require extra funding. Also some repairs on the premises need to be addressed urgently before winter.

I would like to encourage all neighbours of Masi to support these efforts to make Masi High a “top achieving school” again. It is for the future of the children, but at the end it is for the future of all who live in this valley – and want to do so in mutual respect and peace.

Dr Lutz van Dijk, Co-director of the Hokisa Children’s Home in Masiphumelele
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