Student of the Week: Zachariah Mkhonto

Are you ever too old to learn new things? There is an obvious answer here and I know many of our readers – Judy Guffey, Gogo Mo, Leonard Musima, Dave Varty, and what about Spook Sithole and Nomsa Lubisi – will say “absolutely not.”

But what if you never had the encouragement? Or what if in-between long shifts, you had to look after a family that depended on you? What if your village simply did not have the resources to support your desire for further education?

Meet Zachariah Mkhonto, who used to be a security guard at Madlala High School. In 2012, Zachariah received a new post at Hlulani Trust and so, just as he started basic English classes with Linky Nkuna, he moved away and had to spend time focusing on a new job with new pressures and demands.

However, Zachariah heard through the village grapevine that Good Work Foundation was offering an English course as part of the new International Computer Driving License programme.

So, before his night-time shift, Zachariah is back with us every day, attending the Madlala Open Learning Academy and improving his English using the education-based apps on our new Madlala tablet computers.

Zachariah in the Madlala Open Learning Academy.

Zachariah in the Madlala Open Learning Academy.

“Zachariah is a student for life” says Linky Nkuna, Centre Coordinator at Madlala Digital Learning Centre. “He is 54-years old and – like many people of that age – he has a full-time job and all kinds of family responsibilities. But he is making time during his day to learn. To improve his English. To better his digital literacy skills. And let me tell you a secret: in his spare time, Zachariah fixes our student’s shoes. That’s a hero, and that’s a student that I love having in our centre.”