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On the surface, Ifalethu Primary School and Groenkoring Primary Farm School have little in common. Ifalethu, with 38 teachers and more than 1,300 learners, is in an Mpumalanga village 11km from Hazyview and within a lion’s roar of the Kruger National Park. Groenkoring, with two teachers and 26 children, is on a farm outside the Free State dorp of Reitz.

Dig a little, however, and similarities start to emerge. Both are the result of an individual’s desire to uplift children. Groenkoring was created by the farm’s owner to provide schooling for the children of the farm labourers. Ifalethu was the creation of a shopkeeper who wanted the children of local subsistence farmers and cattle herders to have an education. Lessons began in his front room before locals built mud classrooms. Today the school is in "real" buildings in the village of Nyongane...

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