Newspaper clipping – The Mercury – 9 September 2008

Gran gets new lease on life

By Latoya Newman and Sinegugu Ndlovu

An Ulundi mother of eight and grandmother of 35 graduated from a basic adult literacy course yesterday at the age of 86
“Although it’s extremely late in my life, I’m happy that I have an education. I thought I was going to die illiterate,” said Pauline Zulu.

Zulu, who was among 6000 people who graduated from the education department’s Masifundisane adult literacy programme, said having a basic education had given her new life.
“I can read and write…I can recognize and tell money apart. I can even see how much my pension money is. I have 35 grandchildren, of whom six live with me. When I’m doing my schoolwork, they’ll laugh a bit and then correct and help me, “ she said.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony in Vryheid on Monday, premier S’bu Ndebele acknowledged that women had been discriminated against for decades.
“These efforts are not just about reading and writing, they are about social development. It is about restoring their dignity,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Social Student Movement, backed by the advocacy group AbahlalibaseMjondolo (shack dwellers’ movement), commemorated World Literacy Day on Monday by picketing outside Durban’s city hall for a holistic free-education policy in South Africa.

Spokesperson Liv Shange called on the government to channel more money into funding free education at school and tertiary level, “instead of spending billions of rands on arms deals and world cups.”