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South African Journal of Education

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Thuma mina and education: Volunteerism, possibilities and challenges

Johan Beckmann

Abstract


South African education has become used to dealing with an array of new policy and strategy initiatives. Often these policies and strategies appear on the scene only to disappear into the sand later on. When President Ramaphosa announced the Thuma mina initiative in February 2018, educationists would have been tempted to ask questions about the viability and the practicality of this initiative to help turn education in the country around. Unfortunately, like many other countries, South Africans are used to policies and strategies that often do not produce any significant results. During the State of the Nation Address on 16 February 2018, President Ramaphosa used the song by Hugh Masekela, Send me, to call on people to volunteer their services to the country by helping address some pressing problems, including problems regarding education – one of the four pillars of the New Dawn announced by President Ramaphosa. In light of South Africa’s history of failed initiatives, I assessed the potential of Thuma mina to address urgent problems in South African society and in education in particular, through volunteerism. To do this, I traced the roots of Thuma mina and analysed the information that became available since February 2018 to determine under what circumstances it might succeed, and what might militate against its success. My conclusion is that the campaign has the potential to make a significant contribution to the improvement of education. However, certain obstacles also need to be addressed for volunteerism, in the form of Thuma mina, to succeed in education.

Keywords: accountability; authority; culture; exclusionary; heterogeneity; recalling; religion; reluctance; thuma mina; ubuntu




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