Newspaper clipping – The Mercury – 30 July 2008

Graduate shows you are never too old to learn


As a young girl growing up in Msinga, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, Mncane Radebe spent her days doing traditional Zulu dances with her friends because there were no schools in her community.

But yesterday, at the age of 90, Radebe, now living in Nkandla, graduated with a certificate in basic adult literacy from the Masifundisane mass adult literacy programme. She was one of 14 000 people who were presented with their awards in a special ceremony in Pietermaritzburg by the education department.

She can now read some words and numbers and recognize dates. “This has changed my life and I feel very good about it,” said Radebe. The mother of eight said she never thought she would be educated. “I never dreamed it would be possible until I started my classes this year,” she said.

Being in the literacy programme has not just helped Radebe get a basic education – she said it had revived her youth. “When I go to school it is like exercise, because I am not just sitting around like before. Now I have energy. My teachers are very good to me. If I feel tired they come to my house to teach me,” she said.

Masifundisane general manager Cynthia Mpati said the aim of the programme was to help people improve their lives. She said Radebe could now sign for her own pension and count the amount of money she was given. “The most important benefit is the sense of self-worth that the adults walk off with.”