This afternoon Mudimeli High School made Nzhelele Village in Makhado proud as they were honoured with a R100 000 cheque. It was their prize for being placed first nationally in the Eskom Simama Ranta school’s entrepreneurship competition.
Besides running a successful tuckshop for over nine years, as well as maintaining a productive vegetable garden, beading and knitting goods, the “Mudimeli Yes Club” was lauded for creating employment. Two locals from the village are employed to manage their garden and production lines.
Profits made from all sales are also used to plough back into society in the form of subsidised school excursions for students who can’t afford to pay for them.
Initiated 10 years ago by the Eskom Development Foundation in partnership with the Education With Enterprise Trust (EWET), Simama Ranta, which means “empowering the South African economy”, aims to identify and acknowledge South African schools that are leading the way in education initiatives aimed at entrepreneurship. The intention is to encourage learners to become employers rather than employees.
The prize handover ceremony was aimed at celebrating the national winners and recognising Limpopo’s top schools which took part in 2019.
“As agents of change, we have the responsibility to break the shackles of poverty through entrepreneurship. For us, being born into poverty is not a choice, but we believe that staying in poverty is. Many young South Africans don’t have jobs and many may never find employment, this is why we feel that our efforts are the solution. We would like to thank EWET and Eskom for teaching us that business can change our lives,” said an elated Mudimeli Yes Club member, Vision Ramovha
Alfred Mafukaduvha, teacher and facilitator of the Mudimeli club said that he hopes that all schools in Limpopo continue to fly the flag high. “We are grateful for the exposure our school has received through participating in the competition. In 2010 we were not as strong, but now we are known throughout the country because of how the Eskom Foundation and EWET have walked with us. Our win is not only ours, but a win for our province.”
Mahlasedi Special School, from Lebowakgomo, was named the provincial winner and received a R50 000 prize. With a variety of products and services such as catering equipment, welding and bricklaying, the school has made considerable profits.
First runners-up, Taxila Secondary School who produce juice and tissues among others won R25 000. In third place was Patrick Ramaano Secondary School from Polokwane who were awarded with R10 000 for their gardening, recycling and sewing projects.
Eskom Development Foundation CEO, Cecil Ramonotsi said that the future is in good hands. “Not only is Mudimeli’s club truly innovative and different, but the learners and their passionate teachers, have managed to do the very unusual. They created jobs.
“We at the Eskom Development Foundation are doing something about the high unemployment rate of the country, especially among the youth. In this regard, the YES club has made us proud. They are doing now what we hope they will continue doing after school – go out and create jobs. The Foundation has a strong vested interest in the establishment and growth of small and emerging enterprises. Our aim is to make a meaningful and sustainable contribution to the social and economic development of our country.
“We are dedicated to building a healthy, educated and skilled population that is positive about the future of our country and empowered to live a fulfilled life,” he said.
EWET Trustee, Thapedi Tlhapane, said that the Eskom competition was not just another passing initiative. “Today is a celebration of the efforts of young people in a programme, Simama Ranta that is focused on the welfare of this country. One that says to them that they have a right to participate in the success of the country’s economy. These young people are pioneers that have become entrepreneurs. We are here to delete the song that says that unemployment is an issue or that foreigners are here to take our jobs. Today we confirm that it is right to become a job creator and not a job seeker.”
The 2020 competition is now open to South African schools that run entrepreneurship clubs which teach learners the basics of starting and running a business while also responding to the immediate community’s social and economic needs.