Kamvalethu Rengqe

School latecoming activist

Someday Kamvalethu Rengqe wants to open a recreational centre in KwaNobuhle township in Uitenhage, where he lives. He hopes that this will provide the youth of his community with something positive and keep them away from drugs and crime.

Judging by this track record, this dream is well within his reach. Rengqe was one of the leaders of the team that won the Empowervate Trust Youth Citizen Action Programme (YCAP) 2015 Eastern Cape provincial competition, and then the national championships in the secondary schools category.

His group decided to try to combat late-coming at their school. “It was a problem that affected everyone in the school, not just the latecomers,” he says. “We discussed as a group the problems that faced our school and our peers in general. We found that all these problems were caused by late-coming in some way.”

At first they did presentations for the learners at the school, explaining the consequences of late-coming, and the benefits of punctuality. Thereafter, they stood at the school gates each morning, registering the latecomers, who would then be asked to bring a parent in to school. Parent and learner would be sent to the school’s social worker, where a solution for the reason for being late was discussed. At first Rengqe’s peers were resistant but they eventually came around. Nowadays there are seldom more than 10 latecomers out of a total of 1 190 on any given day at the school.

Rengqe is a class prefect at his school and excels academically. Last year, he won bronze in the regional rounds of the Eskom Science Expo. On Saturdays, he attends Engen Star School, which provides tuition in core school subjects. His future certainly looks bright. “I want to work hard and be a success. Because I want to show everyone regardless of where you come from you can make it in life.”Fatima Asmal