When partnerships foster a culture of learning

By June 6, 2019September 11th, 20191,122 Comments

Nombulelo Sume has been the principal of Charles Nduna Primary School for 21 years. The school has successfully fostered a culture of learning and excellence by promoting partnerships, among other strategies. Nombulelo shared her experience of growing the after-school programme at the Fringe event of the #enrichED Symposium on 5 June 2019 at Philippi Village Solution Space.

Enriched symposium

New Brighton – Port Elizabeth’s ‘shadow’

Charles Nduna Primary School is situated in New Brighton, a township established in 1903 as the first official black residential area in Port Elizabeth. Defined by colonial policies and regulations New Brighton was set up well outside the city centre ‘to rehouse Africans relocated from Port Elizabeth’s inner city locations following the outbreak of bubonic plague’.

Apartheid spatial planning further consolidated this segregation. Politically, New Brighton has a strong struggle history as the home of many political activists and the first cell of the African National Congress’ armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) being set up there.

Cultural life and the ‘exuberance of New Brighton residents’ has been visualised in the paintings of George Pemba and the early plays of Atholl Fugard which portrayed elements of township life. The fabric of this township is bursting with history. Find out more about this township’s official discourse, cultural memory and public history in this publication.

Known as Port Elizabeth’s ‘shadow’ and the ‘Detroit of South Africa’, New Brighton comprises a number of townships including KwaFord, Boast Village, Chris Hani informal settlement, Elundini and Masangwanaville, among others. With a population estimate of 47 915 in 2011 (Census) living within 4.85 km², this community is plagued by high levels of violence and crime, coupled with poverty, poor service delivery, underdevelopment and unemployment.

Red museum new brighton

Nombulelo Sume’s testimony

Nombulelo shared that eighty percent of the learner’s parents are unemployed. Regardless of these challenges, she has with the help of 28 teachers, three non-teaching staff and 27 parent volunteers, transformed this school of 1061 learners.

The support from parent volunteers has been a key contributor to the school’s success. As a community school, the learner is at the centre together with the teacher and the curriculum and cohesion is necessary to achieve the school’s goal of providing quality education.

Nombulelo emphasised the need for partnerships, support, resources, organisational management and capacity building. She highlighted how working with a number of stakeholders and funders had been invaluable with the key being the value of partnerships. She gave examples including how Coca Cola had come on board with water provision, German volunteers continue to assist with sport and life orientation while international colleges run programmes and offer support, among others.

Nombulelo also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Calabash Tours, a local tour company. Cleverly, she charges each tourist visiting Charles Nduna Primary School R35 as an income-generating mechanism. She is proud of her learners who have excelled in sports, winning many trophies and competing provincially and nationally.

Calabash Tours

Image credit: Calabash Tour

Forming partnerships for community hope and change

Nombulelo spoke of about the importance of giving hope to the community. Working with partners to provide better opportunities for employment will slowly and consistently develop families in the New Brighton community. She believes in ‘stretching the kids’ and creating opportunities through partnerships with a particular focus on language, maths and science.

This principal’s vision showcases what is possible and positive in South African schools when combined with diligence and collaboration. 


#enrichED Symposium

The #enrichED Symposium, held at the Cape Town International Conference Centre on 7 and 8 June 2019, was a collaborative learning event focused on celebrating the growth of the After School Movement over the last three years.

The After School Game Changer programme is an initiative of the Western Cape Provincial Government in collaboration with the City of Cape Town and various non-profits. 

Development Works Changemakers (DWC) recently conducted an assessment of the After Schools Programme at 112 schools for the Western Cape Provincial Government.

The After Schools Programme is working to increase the participation of learners from no- and low-fee schools in after-school activities ensuring regular attendance by significantly improving the attractiveness and quality of such programmes for learners. 

By 2019, the target is to get 112 000 learners participating regularly in quality programmes with twenty percent of the learners from no- and low-fee schools. The DWC team is exhibiting and participating at the #enrichED Symposium with a commitment to further contribute to measuring and evaluating impact in education.

By Lindy Briginshaw


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