Athambile Masola “knows what poverty looks like” – the SSP Alum has taken her academic background as a Scholar and Teacher, and opened an all-girl, low-fee private school, Molo Mhlaba, in Khayelitsha, to focus on STEM skills and coding.
Why tackle decolonisation at primary schools and focus on coding?
“There is decolonisation at universities, but not at schools – there is such a cognitive dissonance about this,” she says. She founded Molo Mhlaba, together with social worker Rethabile Sonibare, with the help of The Thope Foundation. The bilingual school (isiXhosa and English) has a unique approach to learning, with an extended school day of nine-and-a-half hours, and is inspired by the Montessori approach to learning. The school currently has 35 children between the ages of three and six years, who learn about robotics and coding, with a strong maths and science focus.
“Some of our funders are Culture Care Kids First Foundation, Rotaract and Sage Foundation. For coding, we’re using LEGO robotics and Kano computing, SCRATCH and HTML.35 kids,” Athambile explains. Asked about funding, she replies, “We are not a for-profit company. We survive through donor funding. While we are low-fee, some of our parents can afford to pay. We also use the Fund-A-Scholar Approach”.
How did her chequered background inspire her to become a teacher?
She was a Scholar sponsored by Friends of South African Schools (FOSAS) in the Eastern Cape, which later merged with SSP. “I had a chequered childhood – it was normal until I was seven years old. In Sub B, we moved to the suburbs, then my dad lost his job.”
Read more: https://www.ru.ac.za/communicationsandadvancement/alumnirelations/latestnews/athambilemasola.html