By Milicent Chanetsa
Founder and chief executive of the Bigtime Strategic Group, Justice Maphosa says funds permitting, he will partner with education authorities in SADC to construct modern schools which empower the African child. Maphosa this week toured the Upper Corana primary school in the impoverished rural town of Libode, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.
“Our only challenge is finance. Such projects are very expensive. I will not sit here and deliberate on the figures, but as you saw, we have teachers that are employed by us, the general workers and gardeners. We have resuscitated the school,” Maphosa told journalists during the media tour at Upper Corana school.
The Bigtime Strategic Group, led by the Zimbabwean business mogul based in South Africa, has adopted the dilapidated school since 2016. The IT company funds a school feeding scheme – breakfast and lunch for learners, school buses, and pays the salaries of four additional teachers at the rural school.
“As we make money, as we grow big and we establish projects in different regions, in different countries, we meet the ills of society. The less fortunate, those that do not have and those that need assistance. As we set up in the communities, we are going to take up those challenges. There is nothing more urgent in the world than looking after the needy and the less fortunate,” said Maphosa.
“Business is not business without the communities. It becomes a business because there is a society. So as we make more money, we will pick up those schools. It’s our job – it’s not the job of the Americans, people in Dubai or China. My generation is proud, we are saying enough is enough – let us start somewhere.”
Maphosa also unveiled to the community a plan for the construction of new state of the art classrooms which will include a computer lab. The businessman however insisted that he wants the company he has contracted to build the classrooms to give as much as 90 percent of the work to women in the community.
“If you saw that at the handover of the school uniforms today, the men were not there. The fathers were nowhere to be seen, but I know they are there. They don’t take such projects seriously. If your child will be receiving a new school uniform, a school transport system, getting a new classroom, getting fed at school and a new teacher and you are not there as a parent – having nothing else that you are busy with – then I ask a question, what kind of men are you? Are you a man after all? But on the other hand, I say big-up to women,” said Maphosa.
“This is why I am saying in this [construction] project, I want 90 percent to be women. They have shown concern. They have shown that this is now their war.”
The department of basic education’s District Director for the OR Tambo Coastal district Varkeychan Joseph said of the 652 schools in his area, almost half of them were not conducive for teaching and learning.
Maphosa has undertaken to start the construction of new classroom blocks, toilets and fencing the school premises.
Justice Maphosa addresses the gathering. Pictures: Milicent Chanetsa
Justice Maphosa meets the pupils at Upper Corana primary school
This article is published in partnership between Zimbabwe Digital News and Zim Diaspora Scribes.
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