Veteran educator, Mothokoa Kekana from Mathibela Village, Zebediela was recognised for 20 years of hard work, dedication and commitment to the teaching profession by National Professional Teacher’s Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) at their Long Service Awards in Polokwane on Friday.
Kekana, a Mathematics and Sepedi educator at Mmudu Naredi Primary School belongs to an elite group of seasoned educators across the country who have dedicated their lives to young people in rural schools.
She started teaching at Boreletsane Primary School in Ga-Abel Village, Greater Letaba in 1992 as a 23-year-old after completing her Diploma in Higher Education at Mokopane College of Education in 1991. In 2006 she joined the staff of Mmudu Naredi.
Initially she wanted to pursue a career in dietary science but the course was not available at local institutions of higher learning and she settled for teaching. “I wanted to be a dietary technician commonly known as a dietician but the course was not available locally and besides it was also expensive then. Teaching was not what I wanted but something I was meant to do,” Kekana said.
She described her two decades in the job as something to behold and cherish for the rest of her life. “I have been part of many children’s development and that makes me happy. I watched them grow and flourish in front of me and that also gave me great joy and fulfilment,” Kekana reiterated.
Despite the lack of resources, be it proper classrooms and insufficient study materials that have been hindering the progress of schools particularly in the rural areas Kekana informed that her love for the profession and hope kept her going. “Moreover it is the plight of the children because most of them are from poor backgrounds and they are looking up to us to make a difference in their lives. Everything starts with us. We must make sure they have learned something whether there are resources or not. With the little that we have at our disposal we do everything we can to ensure they are well equipped with information and we refuse to accept anything less than the best from them,” Kekana said.
She recently completed a Mentoring and Coaching Training Course at Regenesys Business School in Johannesburg. “It was a refresher course aimed at developing my skills as a teacher. It is important to take part in such courses because teaching is diverse and it has various strategies and one needs to keep up with them,” Kekana said.
The 48-year-old mother of two said she would love to go into a management role one day. “I wish to be a school manager or a district manager at some point in this life. I have learned a lot over the past years and I have also contributed to the profession,” concluded Kekana.
She dedicated the award to her learners, her colleagues past and present for the support they have shown to her.
Story and photo: Herbert Rachuene