Heroes help poor learners realise dreams

DJ Shimza and MEC Panyaza Lesufi happy about donation of school shoes.
DJ Shimza and MEC Panyaza Lesufi happy about donation of school shoes.
Image: Supplied

Whether it is Mzansi celebrities who help the poor or ordinary people who are heroes in our communities, thousands of scholars receive better opportunities to help them study when these heroes among us step up.

Ashley Raphala, popularly known as DJ Shimza, radio DJ Moeti "Mo Flava" Tsiki and North West University lecturer John Molepo are among champions who give their all to ensure that less-privileged kids have a better chance to succeed through their charity efforts.

Raphala is running an annual drive to donate school shoes to disadvantaged children. The DJ from Tembisa said school shoes were important because children who go to school without shoes often get demoralised about attending classes.

The DJ, who started this campaign in 2010, was this year able to collect a massive 3,000 pairs from an initial drive that started with 250 pairs.

Batho Bohle, Tshepang Care Centre and Siyabathanda are among 25 orphanages that received some of the thousands of pairs of school shoes.

The beneficiaries gathered at Rabasotho Hall in Tembisa this week to receive their shoes. Also in attendance was Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi

Raphala said following his annual DJ Shimza One Man Show, which he hosts in Tembisa on Christmas Day, he wanted to give back to his community and personally bought 1,500 pairs of shoes for the needy. Fortunately, Bata/Toughees sponsored him with 1,500 more pairs.

At the handover, the DJ got emotional and cried on stage as he narrated how he travelled long distances to school with old shoes with holes in their soles during high school days.

"I've seen children who go to school with shoes that are torn and open on the edges, and as I walk past them I try to think of a way which I can better their lives. I cannot say I'm from a poor background but I'm from a township and I cannot ignore where I come from."

Radio personality Dineo Ranaka, in collaboration with Krush Goodness project, also donated 1,000 pairs of Smart Steps school shoes to Thembalihle primary in Soweto this week.

PhD candidate John Molepo begs for donations to help varsity students.
PhD candidate John Molepo begs for donations to help varsity students.
Image: Supplied

For those keen on media studies, Mo Flava - in partnership with Boston Media House - are giving away bursaries.

The bursary covers all media-related courses at the college, including tuition and books for the period of studying.

"Students who passed their matric in 2017 or 2018 and enrolled at Boston Media House should WhatsApp me their matric results and we will short-list them for an interview," Mo Flava said.

However, he said they can only offer 20 bursaries a year, despite an overwhelming thousands of applications.

Molepo, 29, is well-known for his fund-raising stints in Soshanguve, where he stands at the robots wearing his graduation gown, asking for R5 donations to help needy students.

Molepo, now a PhD candidate for public affairs, hangs a board around his neck with the message: "I am a graduate and I want someone to be like me!! #ThusaNgwanaGeno".

"I had financial problems myself while I was studying at Tshwane University of Technology, so I could not bear the thought of someone [suffering] like me," Molepo said.

"My mother was a domestic worker; she tried her best to pay my fees, so I wanted to be the person who helps other students succeed."

The #ThusaNgwanaGeno project founder said his main aim is to help students with registration fees. The drive has attracted other graduates around Pretoria, Rustenburg and Polokwane copying Molapo's concept. Monies left after registration pay outstanding fees for deserving students.

"People are now donating more that R5. On Tuesday we received R5,000 from someone who asked not to be named, and we are grateful for the support we are getting so far."

This month, he bought school book covers and brought his team to cover the books for learners at Meetsing primary.

"Free education is coming and [when it does] we will shift our focus to the challenges students will be facing at the time."

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