Giving children a better chance in life

Namhla Tshisela

Namhla Tshisela

The people of an informal settlement in Ennerdale, south of Johannesburg, had to knock on a lot of doors before South African Breweries stepped in to renovate their school.

Employees of SAB in the Soweto district, Muzi Mkhize, last year's winner of the SAB KickStart entrepreneurship programme, and Generations star Menzi Ngubane visited Sibekiwe Primary School last month and immediately set to work.

They replaced broken windows, ceilings and doors, and painted the walls.

The only primary school in the area, Sibekiwe was founded in 1999. It has more than 400 pupils, crammed into seven rooms of an old abandoned house.

Principal Freda Samela said: "It made us feel great and showed our pupils and the community that someone was looking out for us.

"The children were forced to cross busy roads and railway lines to get to schools in neighbouring areas. The other schools were far and it wasn't safe for them," said Samela.

The community was forced to find a school nearby when a child was murdered on the way to school.

Samela said that the repairs had turned the school into a more pleasant and conducive environment for the teachers and the pupils.

"It is not so noisy anymore, now that the classrooms have doors," she said.

The school also received seeds for its garden, which provides fresh vegetables for the community.

"We hope that this is just a taste of better and brighter things to come," said Samela.

The school was chosen to be part of the SAB social investment initiative by the group's Soweto district employees.