Nov 2022 1st Edition

Unique upside-down edu-centre unveiled in North West

Written by Kgaogelo Letsebe

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has unveiled a one-of-a-kind upside-down educational institution in Rustenburg in the North West.

The Surprise Shondlane Upside Down School in Rustenburg features upside-down equipment.The Surprise Shondlane Upside Down School, situated at the Ten Flags Educational Theme Park, is said to be the only functional upside-down ‘school’ in South Africa. While it will not function as a regular, everyday school, it invites education institutions from all over to bring their learners for an innovative day trip.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Motshekga said the centre is equipped with modern technology.

“The upside-down concept was designed to give our children a practical example of thinking outside the box in their daily lives. It is also home to a wealth of activities that teach independent thinking and all-around curiosity, focusing on engineering, sciences and information and communication technology,” she says.

Ten Flags Theme Park Project Manager Tshepang Maqabe says the concept for the centre is the brainchild of the theme park’s CEO and founder, Thapelo Tshephe, who discovered on his travels that there are several upside-down houses across the world.

“This inspired him to incorporate education and functionality in the upside-down concept,” says Maqabe.

Tshephe named the centre after a close colleague, Surprise Shondlane, who tragically passed away in a car accident in August 2022.

The centre features upside-down equipment, including musical instruments, projectors, stoves, fridges, microwaves, water urns for boiling water and air-conditioners. Even the functional showers and bunk beds are upside down.

Maqabe says visiting schools will benefit from motivational speakers and on-site teachers, who will ensure the outings are both meaningful and aligned with the schools’ curricula.

Stimulating STEM learning

In welcoming the centre’s promotion of technological and innovative thinking, the Minister said: “It is estimated that by 2025, as many as 80% of all future jobs will require a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.”

Maqabe agrees that STEM education is important and as part of its ongoing projects, Ten Flags will build a new educational theme park every year for the next 10 years, with over 10 activities per park.

“Ten Flags is an innovation hub, so more innovation and inventions that are mind-blowing are on the way,” says Maqabe.

To book a school visit, call 014 941 0823 or 061 506 2600, visit or email

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