To plant a seed, watch it grow, to tend it and then harvest it, offered a simple but enduring satisfaction, according to Dr Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela.
Earlier this week the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, joined two schools in the historically significant areas of Boipatong and Sharpeville in commemorating Mandela Month. Both Emmanuel Primary School and Jet Nteo High School, located in the Sedibeng District, chose to follow in Madiba’s footsteps by putting their 67 minutes of service into their vegetable gardens.
Together with councillors from Sedibeng East and West, as well as representatives from the Department of Agriculture and Land Reform, the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign, Miet Africa, Greener Pastures and Nestle, Mrs Motshekga led the learners in a seed-sowing project that is aimed at contributing to food security in several school communities. To sustain the project, Nestle donated gardening equipment whilst Greener Pastures donated fertilizers. Miet Africa donated R20 000, which will be used to buy clothing for the most vulnerable learners identified in the two schools.
Chief Education Specialist for Social Cohesion and Equity in Education, Mrs Lebo Lefoka, said that the commemoration of Madiba enabled the sector to reflect on the gains made since the dawn of democracy. “During this Mandela Month we found it necessary to align our intervention support with the commemoration of Madiba’s legacy of human rights. We call on our schools to continue promoting the human right to ensure that learners have access to a proper diet by producing their own food through food gardens in schools. We also encourage communities to use the spaces they have to establish food gardens to ensure that children have access to nutritious food,” said Lefoka.
The Department of Basic Education believes that children are a national asset and should be empowered to become responsible adults who are cognisant of human rights. Speaking during her visit, Minister Motshekga indicated that it was essential to maintain discipline in schools and create a non-violent and non-sexist school environment. “Madiba spent almost his entire life fighting for human rights. Therefore, to fulfil these rights, we have to take a collective approach in promoting the spirit of ubuntu. Learners should take care of one another, respect teachers and study hard to succeed academically,” remarked the Minister.