Lindelwa Mini

Leader, Leap 1, Langa

‘Take advantage of the opportunities provided no matter how small they are, and let your current circumstances be a motivation for you to be great.” This is Lindelwa Mini’s advice to young people who don’t have access to high quality education.

It is this attitude which has seen her succeed. Back in 2003, Mini was a student at a high school in Langa, at which Leap Science and Maths Schools — which provides free education to learners from high-need communities — was running afternoon classes. Mini asked one of the tutors if she could attend. She then passed an admission test for entry into Leap 1, forming part of the first Leap cohort in 2004. When Mini matriculated in 2007, she joined a Leap programme for teachers, completing a bachelor of education via Unisa. She then began teaching accounting and economic management sciences at Leap 1, and was eventually offered the opportunity to lead a school in Langa.

As a leader she oversees the daily running of the school, including managing its budget and payroll. She also oversees the recruitment and training of teaching staff and learners; plans the school timetable and calendar, and oversees the school’s extra mural activities. “I am a role model to the black kids from Langa township whom I lead,” she says. “When they see a successful young black woman they know it’s possible for them as well.”

She takes her role very seriously: “Every decision I make needs to be purposeful and in their best interest, because we share the same background and went through the same struggles. I also feel a great responsibility on me to make sure that I produce conscious and passionate citizens.”

Someday Mini would like to relocate to a remote area in the Eastern Cape, where she would like to start a school similar to Leap 1 for economically disadvantaged children. “In order to access resources you need to have knowledge, and unfortunately you need to have education to have access to them. Education gives you a set of skills that can assist you in improving your circumstances.”

For Mini, education entails much more than academic success: “You can excel academically but if you don’t know who you are and what you stand for you will not succeed. I believe education is being the better version of yourself.”

— Fatima Asmal