Spring is here, and with it comes a change in the trees of Londolozi.
The Cassias and knobthorns begin flowering, bringing with them abundant pollinators like sunbirds and bees, and the migrants begin to return, choosing specific nest sites and beginning their courtship behaviour in an attempt to find a mate.
The wild trees of Londolozi are not the only ones that hold a special significance this spring however…
One year ago, Mfumo Thobela, a young woman from a village outside of the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve made a commitment to become the “first person in my family and my village to become qualified.” It was (and still is) Mfumo’s dream to become an interior designer.
There are more than 850,000 people in Mfumo’s community. Almost half are unemployed, and 90 percent unable to navigate an online university application, let alone dream of becoming professionals. Never the less, Mfumo stood under a tree in September 2014 and made a promise to herself.
Under the same tree, another woman made her own commitment to increase the number of rural schoolchildren learning English and math’s on tablets from 800 to 1500, and then to 3000 by the end of 2015.
The logistics involved in delivering a first-world standard of education to 3000 children are huge, from mobilizing the principals and teachers, to coordinating transport every week and pledging to execute the plan on a budget of $25 per child per year. Never the less, Kate Groch stood under the tree in September 2014 and made a promise to herself and to the community.
On Friday, Mfumo, together with 58 of her classmates, graduated under the tree with an internationally recognised information technology and English certificate. One day before her graduation, Mfumo submitted her design portfolio to the Tshwane University of Technology, two months after her online application had been accepted.
And at the same function, under the same tree, Kate announced that not only has her team increased digital learning to 1500 schoolchildren this year, but, as of next week, the open learning movement will double in size, reaching over 3000 schoolchildren.
As we move into spring, our rangers and our blogging team will bring you some of the most spectacular wildlife spectacles in the world. That is our privilege. But it is also our privilege to bring you stories like Mfumo’s and Kate’s from Good Work Foundation’s campus of the future. Londolozi guests and ambassadors have been part of the success of Mfumo (and her more than 200 classmates who will graduate this year) and the rollout of digital learning for schoolchildren.
Every thought and intention you have, every kind word that you share, is harnessed in the energy that circles the Good Work Foundation’s Digital Tree of Knowledge, and on the first day of September – Spring Day in South Africa – we imagine the possibilities of the growth of this tree, and celebrate every small gain made from those who are brave enough to promise underneath it.
Today can just be another holiday. Or it could be an opportunity to stand under a tree on the first day of a new season and ask:
What can I celebrate today? And what am I committing to celebrate one year from now?
Written by Ryan James, Londolozi blog contributor