Top class academy for Vosloo

Ayanda Junior Academy CEO Margaret Tyobo. / Veli Nhlapo
Ayanda Junior Academy CEO Margaret Tyobo. / Veli Nhlapo

Margaret Tyobo is the pride of Vosloorus on the East Rand for launching the first private junior academy in the township.

Tyobo, who has been described as a source of inspiration, is the founder and CEO of Ayanda Junior Academy, which has 248 pupils.

Her success story has been making waves on social media. The academy is an extension of Ayanda Pre-School which has been in existence since the late 1980s.

The R5m school which opened its doors last year for grade R to grade 2 pupils boasts an indoor swimming pool, computer lab, library and a tennis court that is still under construction.

Tyobo, 63, said she had to sell her Range Rover and a holiday house in Knysna in order to fund the project. She also cashed in her investments, she said.

She said that her passion for early learning started in the 1980s when she looked after neighbours' children to make ends meet.

"My neighbours would ask me to look after their children for a R10 here and there and Ayanda pre-school just grew from there," she said.

The mother of three said she was forced to drop out of school when she was 17 because she fell pregnant.

"My father who was a pastor made me drop out of school to find a job and because he said I would be a bad example to the other kids.

"He demanded that I get married and I did."

Tyobo said she had worked as a cashier and as a receiver of goods for a shop when she realised that she wanted more out of life.

"I told my friend that we had more to offer and we were not growing in our jobs."

Tyobo said it was during this period that she came to the realisation that she did not want to work for anyone and had a passion to become a businesswoman.

"So I went back to do my matric and a business management course at the same time.

"I was a wife, a mother and studying all at once."

Tyobo said although she had been praised for her success it had not come without challenges.

She said the highlight of opening the school was being able to bring affordable education to children in the township with fees ranging from R1,450 to R1,750 per month.

"My advice to women who want to start their own businesses is that they must be firm, honest and disciplined."

The principal of her academy, Sylvia Pole, said though they are an English-medium school, plans were afoot to add other languages to the curriculum as the school continues to grow.

"It's English-medium due to the demand in the area. A lot of parents have complained that they find difficulty placing their children in good schools because of the demand on English or Afrikaans proficiency," Pole said.

Tyobo said the next phase with the development of the academy was to increase the grades up to grade 7.

Ayanda Junior Academy is located in Vosloorus Ext 10.

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