A hopeful counternarrative
A ray of hope for the city of Makhanda
This hopeful campfire story will need constant rekindling by networked institutions of the state and civil society if it is to fuel sustainable and scalable change in the years to come
Beleaguered by drought, bankrupted by municipal dysfunction, bedevilled by high levels of poverty and bullied by threats of daily 14-hour Eskom blackouts, Makhanda’s outlier classrooms and lecture halls remain gratifyingly unbowed. The city — the Eastern Cape’s best-performing educational centre — had a "breakthrough" year in 2018, says Gadra Education director Ashley Westaway: in addition to the stellar results of its public university (Rhodes) and exclusive private schools (DSG, St Andrew’s and Kingswood), Makhanda’s public schools produced their best-ever matric results — well above the provincial average. The pass rate (78%), number of successful candidates (436), bachelor pass rate (43%) and number of bachelor passes (238) were all records. That excludes the 101 bachelor passes achieved by the country’s most successful "second-chance" school, the Gadra Matric School (GMS), which affords young people who have already written national senior certificate exams the opportunity to u...