Limpopo school flourishes despite the odds

Limpopo school flourishes despite the odds

Makgongoana High,situated 30km from the city of Polokwane in Makanye Village, experiences a myriad of educational and social issues that are often encountered by schools situated in the chronically under-resourced province of Limpopo. Despite this, Principal Shapule Modjadjicontinues to inspire her staff and learners through her leadership. Business LeaderMapinini Masegela’scurrent position as the SGB chairperson at a different school has held him in good stead, as he was easily able to understand the intricacies of running a school



Overcrowded classrooms inhibit effective teaching and negatively affect the learners’ academic performance

The partners’ first engagement with the Partners for Possibility programme came in the form of the empowering Flawless Consulting workshop, which taught them invaluable consulting and contracting skills, and the art of communicating more effectively.

‘‘The workshop taught me how to establish and maintain relationships with my SGB, SMT, teachers and learners,’’ says Shapule, adding: ‘‘I am able to say no and this has improved my relations and gained me respect.’’

Shapule also attended the Community Building workshop with members of her SMT and SGB. Through a mini workshop organised by Shapule and her SMT and SBG, other staff members were also able to acquire the same skills. She has observed an improvement of the SMT’s cohesiveness and efficiency. Mapinini,the senior superintendent at the Polokwane Municipality,is also using the principles learned at the workshops in his workplace to positive effect.

The culmination of these learning experiences was a partnership plan specifying the objectives and activities that would benefit the school and its community. To date, the partners have:

  • Conducted a team building workshop for the teachers using Community Building principles;
  • Organised an induction session for the SGB to clarify their roles and responsibilities;

  • Established a fenced-off vegetable garden and planted trees with the assistance of community members;

  • Won 5th place and prize money worth R3000 in the Capricorn District’s Green School project;

  • Secure much-needed desks from the Department of Education; and
  • Conducted a successful spring school ‘camp’ to improve the learners’ academic performance.


In addition to this, the partners have arranged for the South African Police Service to conduct a workshop to raise awareness around substance abuse, crime and vandalism, and for nurses from the local clinic to hold a reproductive health session with female learners. They also introduced a weekly yard cleaning plan with involvement by community members and presented a motivational talk to matric learners before their final exams.

In January 2019, the school harvested the fruit of their efforts. The abysmal matric pass rate, previously 20% in 2016 and 39.1% in 2017, rose to 69.7% for the 2018 academic year. This resulted in the school being announced as one of the top three most improved public schools.

Upon receiving the award, Shapule commented: “The encouragements that I have received while on the PfP programme made me realise that I can do it. This is all because of you (Mapinini) and PfP”.

With this achievement spurring the partners on, they plan to continue to work together to realise their ambitious objectives which include establishing a library, building a school hall, developing a sports field and increasing parental involvement.

For Shapule, and most profoundly perhaps, her mind-set has shifted significantly. She has realised that solutions to challenges at Makgongoana begin with her.



30 November -1, 00:00