Athambile Masola

Community Engagement Councillor, Student Representative Council, Rhodes University

Rhodes university master's student Athambile Masola
was eager, in her first year, to work with a student
volunteer programme that was really only intended for
more advanced students.
"We would go out into the surrounding community
and help where we could � we would try to meet any
needs that they had,� she says. Masola became involved
with a small reading club three years ago and has since
become a volunteer for the Love Reading Programme at
Lebone House.
She was appointed as community engagement
councillor of the Student Representative Council and
now coordinates training for the representative council
of learners in Grahamstown schools.
"I suppose because Rhodes is such a small campus in
the middle of the community, you can't help but notice
the issues around you,� says Masola, who was recently
selected as a Mandela Rhodes scholar.
With a foundation in compassion and fi rst-hand
experience Masola is focusing her thesis on foundationphase
literacy in a mother-tongue Xhosa school. "I am
looking into the practice of teaching; what informs what
is taught, and how it is executed,� she says.
And through the Mandela Rhodes scholarship Masola
has forged a relationship with Oxford university Press,
because, she says, there are no resources for teaching
reading and writing in mother-tongue African languages
and she is considering developing such resources.
"If kids don't have a solid foundation in an African
language, how are they ever going to switch over to a
complex language like English?� � Lisa Steyn

Lunch spot: Red Cafe, High Street, Grahamstown