Nelson Mandela celebrated his 90th birthday with his friends and colleagues at an elaborate party at his house in Qunu (about 20 km from Mthatha) on Saturday, 19 July 2008. Zandiswa Mpafa, a member of John Wesley Methodist Church 11 o’clock Society Choir performed at the function. Mandla, Madiba’s grandson, also a member of the church, invited the choir to sing for Madiba.
International and local icons, as well as the press CNN International, SABC and Top Billing were present to celebrate with Madiba. Those who spoke at the elegant function, described as an outstanding success, included Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma, Kenneth Kaunda, Mandla Mandela, Bishop D D Dabula, Rev M Mpumlwana and Rev Mehana. The director of the function was Bantu Holomisa and the vote of thanks by Judge Sangoni.
Graça Machel’s daughter also spoke beautifully about their lives and family. Report by Zandiswa Mpafa (20 July 2008)
Zandi said of her experience that she was very proud to be part of the function and described the opportunity as once in a lifetime. Zandi teaches computer literacy using the Knowledge Network IT Learning System Progressive Learning Programme at St Joseph’s J.S.S. School in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.
The Leadership Magazine June 2008 Edition included Zandi in the Knowledge Network birthday tribute to Mr Nelson Mandela – Equipping kids with the skills to cope. Zandi said that she was so excited to see people at the function with the Leadership Magazine knowing that she was also included with other educators in the birthday tribute from Knowledge Network.
Zandi was born in Willowvale, one of the small towns in the Eastern Cape Province. In 1996, when Madiba was in the 2nd year of his presidency, Zandi was in the 2nd year of her Teachers’ Diploma. She never thought for a moment that in 2008 she would be performing at Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday function and would be included in a birthday tribute in the Leadership Magazine.
“My story started at St Joseph’s J.S.S. in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. I’m a qualified educator who has an experience of about 8 years in the teaching profession.”
“Students at St Joseph’s were not taught computers for about 2 years after a computer teacher left the school. The School Governing Body (SGB) approached me to teach computers for the benefit of the learners. I had no confidence in teaching computers because I was not well conversant with the latest changes in the field of technology. I went for a week training at Knowledge Network Centre in Johannesburg. We were a group of 5 teachers from Port Elizabeth, Durban, Mthatha and Johannesburg. The first level training (ILAMM) was conducted by Jil and we found it quite easy to follow.”
“Our training began at 9h00 up till 16h00 with breakfast at 10h00 and lunch at 13h00, Jil offered the meals. One evening Jil decided to take us out for supper at Monte Casino. Wow! It was a fantastic evening, we really enjoyed ourselves. It has a casino, a lot of restaurants and many clothing shops. People come from different parts of the country to visit the place. Most tourists from around the world find it exciting too. For all of us it was the first time to visit the place. We also had a precious time to even get to know each other better sharing our different cultural backgrounds, families, finances, advising each other about life in general. We really had a wonderful time.”
“We had an obligation to go back and implement the acquired knowledge. When I started with the learners at the school they showed a lot of enthusiasm. The school arrangement was to begin with Grade 7,8, & 9 to prepare them for high school. Since numbers are too big in classes in government schools especially in the Eastern Cape Province, I decided to divide them into groups. Some thought that computers are very difficult and the majority of them were quite slow. Knowledge Network emphasizes development of IT skills, life skills, creative thinking, lateral thinking and problem solving ability.”
“Later on, I was approached to teach Knowledge Network for a Saturday School. I started from nothing to make things possible. I had to advertise the programme to schools around Mthatha. Learners attend classes from 9h00 to 10h00 every Saturday. I have Grade 4,5,6 and 8 learners. Parents and learners are very interested in doing computers. I managed to complete 10 sessions before the schools closed for the second term. Learners were very worried since it was their first time to write exams for computers. They were surprised and very excited to see that they had passed with good marks. The highest mark was 90%. They could not wait to see the computer marks in their June reports to show to their parents.”
The learners at St Joseph’s achieved good results for their first report mark with a new educator after a 2-year break in the implementation of the Knowledge Network IT Learning System Progressive Learning Programme. 70 learners achieved between 60 and 69%, which, in government terms, is a rating of 5 Substantial Achievement. 84 learners achieved between 70 and 79, a rating of Meritorious Achievement, and 53 learners achieved between 80 and 100%, which is a rating of Outstanding Achievement. In order for learners to qualify for a Knowledge Network Certificate for the level being completed, they need to achieve 70% or more in the Year-End Assessment.
“Computer periods take only 50 minutes which is not enough comparing their (the learners) work pace in the beginning; however learners decided to use their flexi time and sometimes an extra hour after school.”
“It has not always been easy to master certain projects on my own. In this regard, Knowledge Network assists me all the time without any fuss. If Jil is busy I definitely know that the Knowledge Network staff will always be there for me. If I leave a message Jil will return my call and we discuss the matter telephonically.”
“I was so grateful to meet a wonderful person like Jil and to deal with such a supportive company. Knowledge Network has improved my computer skills and has built my confidence to work with computers. I am still looking forward to learn more.”
“To educators who might perhaps be interested in the world of computers I can say the programme is just fun, easy to follow and not much paperwork, instead less preparation, as long as you give enough time to practice your sessions.” (And attend Session Training.)
“Learners need to know how to use a computer because computers have widely become the primary necessity in most businesses and institutions to function effectively. Therefore, for learners to stand a better chance of employment when they finish school they need to have computer skills and be computer literate.”
“Learners develop a wide range of IT skills through Knowledge Network. Knowledge Network gives learners the opportunity to research on the Internet in order to expand their knowledge not only in the field of technology but in other life subjects as well. This programme builds confidence and provides opportunities for learners to develop small businesses of their own.” Zandi, 2008