A young Limpopo man who never had access to information growing up is making every effort to prevent a similar fate for young people in his area.
Twenty-seven-year-old Satsope George Makola of Bakoneng village in Limpopo has earned himself hero status in his community for making quality education accessible to learners within the Makhuduthamaga Local Municipality. Makola is the founder of Lesedi Institute of Education and Development (LIED), an online learning hub he established in 2021 to help learners in his community with digital learning material and online classes.
The main goal for Makola is to help deliver free quality education in the rural villages of Limpopo, something he believes would help improve the grade 12 results in the province. “I realised that most of the learners in my community were not familiar with digital learning and struggled with their studies when schools were closed due to COVID-19. The majority did not have additional learning material such as study guides, or dictionaries, and are computer illiterate,” he explained.
After its formation in 2021, LIED started a book collection drive that managed to gather more than 2 000 books, magazines and newspapers over a period of three months. Afterwards, the institute approached the Bakoneng community leaders and requested to convert a dilapidated two-roomed house into a small community library. Today, the Lesedi Library is the only community library in the village.
It operates from 10:00 to 20:00 on weekdays and from 10:00 to 15:00 on weekends and public holidays. “We currently serve 530 learners from Mogobelala Primary School, 168 from Mokgoko Primary School, 460 from Phuthikwena Secondary School and 325 from Makelepeng Secondary School, as well as members of the community. We have 710 registered patrons who benefit from our reading initiatives, research, writing homework, borrowing books, internet services and basic computer skills lessons,” he said.
Passion for education
Makola’s passion for quality education was fuelled by the challenges he faced after completing matric in 2014 as he did not have information on how to apply for student funding and admission to tertiary institutions.
In 2015, he relocated to Gauteng to find employment and later secured a job as a sales consultant at one of the big warehouses. “The following year I enrolled for a qualification in criminal law at a private college and I paid tuition for distance learning with a portion of my salary. However, I had to drop out because I could not afford the fees for second year,” he explained. He attempted again in 2019 when he was admitted to study for a Bachelor of Law at the University of South Africa.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 struck. “Schools and public libraries were closed, and I got retrenched at work. I had to come back home because I was out of school and jobless,” he said. That is when the idea to establish LIED dawned on him.
“We only manage to sustain our institution with money from donors including Jacob Modiba Attorneys and Mount Horeb Fire Ministry church. In recognition of its hard work, LIED has received a number of accolades including the 2022 Community Builders of the Year Award at the Collen Mashawana Foundation, being named 2022 finalist at the DSTV Enriching Lives Competition, Sunday World Unsung Hero 2023, and a nomination in the 2023 South African Heroes Awards. LIED is also the 2023 Member of Queen’s Common Wealth Trust.
For more information about LIED, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lesedi community library also has a presence on Facebook @Lesedi Community Library