In addition to program support, EwB has provided Fezeka with project support including facilities development, management mentoring, a food garden and dance program.
Eight New Classrooms for Fezeka Secondary
When EwB first began its association with Fezeka Secondary in 2002, the immediate need was for new and better-equipped facilities. Being the only black high school offering classes in Xhosa, Sotho and Tswana, Fezeka was bursting at the seams with 1,750 students and about 45 per class.
EwB funded the construction of eight new classrooms to replace the portable classrooms at a cost of R1.5 million, or $300,000 CDN. This project was completed in 2003.
Fezeka Library – Opened in 2011
Our proudest achievement in 2011 was the opening of Fezeka’s first fully-functioning library. EwB volunteer Angeline Jacquin worked tirelessly with South African NGO Equal Education, the Western Cape Education Department, and Fezeka Senior Secondary School to bring the library to fruition. With over 3,000 books and a computer, the library is a hub for learners and teachers and an enthusiastic cohort of student library monitors (trained by Angeline).
The Fezeka Library has evolved under the leadership of Fezeka Principal Mr. Bobi, and library assistant Charmaine Visagie-Africa. The goal is to transfer the library operation fully to Fezeka.
EwB is indebted to Ted Weber for the original inspiration and to Professor Jennifer Fish from Old Dominion University and her enthusiastic students for their help in refurbishing and re-painting the library premises. Virginia-based ODU has twice visited Fezeka and most recently donated tables and chairs and repaired the ceiling of the library. EwB also secured the donation of 1,700 English dictionaries in 2010 which have since been handed out.
The management system at Fezeka Secondary is crucial to the success of any program that EwB runs at the school. EwB seeks to help the school through management mentoring.
Mr. Alan Clarke, a retired Westerford principal, has been working with Fezeka’s current principal, Mr. Bobi, and the Senior Management Team since 2011. Alan helped to restore financial stability at the school by assisting with the budgeting, and created a long-term strategic plan for 2015.
In the past, EwB has also sponsored trips to a teaching conference in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Fezeka Food Garden
Started in 2010, the aim was to create a food garden at Fezeka Secondary so as to teach students about plant life and the environment, as well as to encourage them to grow their own food. The program was built into the Fezeka curriculum and run by the South African NGO, Schools Environmental Education and Development (SEED). Funding ended in 2012.
The Fezeka Senior Management Team, under the stewardship of Mrs. Mangxola, took over the care of the garden and have maintained it since. Part of the garden is used as a flower garden and part to grow vegetables.
The hope is that students will take the knowledge they gain into their communities and that the project will spawn more gardens. Hunger is a major problem in the townships and directly affects students’ performance in class. EwB thanks SEED and particularly Leigh Brown for her work in getting this project off the ground.
One of the first extramural activities that EwB funded at Fezeka was dance. The fifth and final year of the dance program was 2012. EwB partnered with iKapa, a dance company in Cape Town, to administer the program.
EwB believes strongly that a flourishing arts culture can empower the students and enliven the school. The program was created to generate interest in dance as a hobby or profession and provide the students with role models. iKapa company members almost exclusively hail from disadvantaged communities, and their success demonstrates the importance of aspiration and dedication.
iKapa teaches classical, African and contemporary dance and goes beyond the teaching of artistic skills to focus on installing a positive, hardworking and productive attitude.
In 2015, EwB supported a graduate from the Zama Dance Centre in Gugulethu, Sonia Yabo. Sonia is currently a 4th year student at the Waterfront Theatre School.