“History is made today, celebrating Mandela Day in this manner adds pride to our children and they will never forget this day and year,” said Tiisetso Radebe, principal of Khehlekile Primary School in Thokoza.

He said it is for the first time in the history of the school to have government departments and private sector coming together to celebrate Mandela Day at the school. Boksburg Correctional Services partnered with Thokoza SAPS, Transnet and Sanlam; they celebrated Mandela Day at the School.

They painted all the classrooms, toilets, refurbished the desks, prepared the food gardening, cleaned the school, donated uniforms to needy pupils , sanitary pads to grade 5 to 7 pupils and served the pupils with lunch. They also engaged with pupils through motivational talk and outlined the services that they offer for to the community at large.

“We are speechless and grateful. We could not have done all this, as we cannot afford to do it. Our school is clean and it will create a good environment for learning. This has never happened in the history of the school,” concluded Radebe.

Henny Makhubelo, Area Commissioner for Boksburg Correctional Services said they have adopted the school and have partnered with other stakeholders in celebrating their 67 minutes for Mandela Day at the school. “Mandela once said we should contribute towards changing people’s lives; we are starting at school by educating young people to stay away from crime. We brought paroles to assist as a way of paying back to the community for the crimes that they have committed,” said Makhubelo.

He added that they refurbished the school desk, painted the classrooms; offender’s bakery baked bread rolls and prepared soup for the pupils. They also donated sanitary pads, groceries, toiletries and vegetables to the school.

Ricky Maharaj, senior manager for Social Economic Infrastructure Development at Transnet said they are making a difference and improving the level of schooling in honour of the memory of Mandela. “We educated the pupils on railway safety and the services that we offer at Transnet Thokoza Community Centre such as Transnet services, counselling, health service, department of home affairs and department of
social development services.

Meanwhile, Constable Patrick Mashiane, spokesperson for Thokoza SAPS said SAPS along with Thokoza CPF, Patrollers and Youth Crime Prevention Desk they cleaned and painted the school as part of celebrating Mandela’s birthday. “We were engaging with pupils as a way of showing the community that as police officers we have a social responsibility not only to arrest the criminals but to engage with them. It was also a way of giving back to community and we are also willing to engage with the community in their projects,” said Mashiane.