Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Journ Student Gives Power Talk in Rural High Schools

Sthembiso Sithole

Matric pupils had many questions for Mbatha when he visited their schools.

During the one week September holidays second year journalism student, Bhekinkosi Mbatha visited schools in his rural community of Nquthu in KwaZulu-Natal to educate high school pupils about the option of
university. Mbatha also informed the students about government loans that can enable them to study beyond high school.

“It is crucial that we continue with our studies. Universities are not meant for whites or for
those who come from advantaged families only,” Mbatha told the pupils.

His audience of 200 was predominatly made up of matric pupils from Muziwephahla and Khethukuthula High

He shared his experience of how he managed to come from the community and ended up studying journalism at one of the top journalism departments in the Tshwane University of Technology, a school recognised by UNESCO as one of four centres of potential centres of journalism learning in the country.

He emphasised the need to utilise the National Financial Aid Scheme that helps approximately 70% or more students in all South African universities every year.

Despite this power speech there was still a bit of scepticism as some were worried about accommodation.

One of the pupils, Zakhele Ngwenya, believes that nothing is done to help them choose the right career paths as information is seldom provided in schools with no support to help them get ahead in life.

“Career expos are mainly held in other areas such as Johannesburg but in this area there is nothing done for us to know about careers and opportunities,” Ngwenya said.

Although in some high schools in the area the government is building new classrooms for students - there are still no computers, equipment for scientific experiments and libraries.

One of the biggest challenges that this community is facing, is a lack of a community newspaper. Nqutu does receive a variety of newspapers though such as the Sowetan, Isolezwe, Ilanga, the Daily Sun, Zulu Land
Observer and so on.

Members of the community ranging from school children to adults say those papers don’t produce local content which reflects their society and that those papers are mostly in town and it is often expensive to
there to buy them.

40-year-old Elizabeth Sithole says it is not easy for them to tell their stories as reporters often arrive late.

One Grade 10 pupil says the availability of newspapers, especially a local one, would help her with her grammar.

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