The Star Early Edition

We need more vagabonds


IF IT IS at all possible to get past last week’s mega story that started with a Sparrow’s tweet and almost ended with a racial conflagrat­ion that would have made every cynic and pessimist’s eyes water, then there was a lot to be excited about, here in South Africa. Even then, the doom merchants and naysayers have an absolute field day; nit-picking over the entrails of the matric results, bemoaning quality over quantity, that’s their job.

For me, it’s always a gift to be able to read the uplifting stories of kids who triumphed in the face of incredible odds; heartache, disappoint­ment, no money, perpetual stress.

And then there’s the self-proclaimed ‘vagabond principal’, Unity Secondary School headmaster Wandile Makhuba, so-called because he never sits in his office, but perpetuall­y wanders from classroom to classroom. He has no truck with excuses from kids for not excelling or for tardiness from teachers.

The results speak for themselves: the best township matric in the province came from his school, the school itself has a 95 percent pass rate and – over the last four years – has sent 500 pupils directly to university.

He’s humble, he’s passionate. He’s single-handedly not just encouragin­g pupils to do well, he’s probably inspiring many of them to become teachers like himself.

We need more like him.

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