In celebration of Nelson Mandela Month and highlighting the plight of basic education in the country, Volkswagen group South Africa has launched three new Literacy Centres at KwaNobuhle in Uitenhage near Port Elizabeth. Noninzi Luzipho, James Ntungwana and Vuba Literacy Centres will be part of this vehicle manufacturing giant’s legacy initiative to ensure that all learners across the metro are functionally literate by the time they pass Grade three.

Preserving the legacy of Nelson Mandela, these centres will serve as cornerstones reflecting his passion for education. They will benefit more than 3 000 learners in the foundation phase

Thomas Schaefer, Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa, says they will be interacting with teachers and parents.

“Well, we are not only interacting with the kids but with teachers and parents. I think that makes all the difference because they interact on many levels to actually get the joy back into reading and to get the kids loving education. I think if that is rolled out, as the government indicated that they see this a very important initiative and they want it rolled further, that will make all the difference especially in our environment here.”

The opening of the centres has created jobs for the unemployed youth who have been trained as Literacy Partners. 31 Literacy Partners have been recruited by Shine Literacy to teach learners to read and write in English.

Basic Education’s Themba Kojana says a big challenge that they are faced with is reading.

“Especially focusing on a big challenge we are faced with which is reading. I think it is very important initiative for us in education and now today we are launching these Literacy Centres in these schools. Something that is exciting for the education sector as a whole.”

The young beneficiaries are grateful.

“Volkswagen has supported us a lot so we also going to have a bright education because now we can read write and be anything.”

According to a recent survey, more than 60% of South African children cannot understand what they are reading by end of Grade three.