New Bursary Students for 2016

The academic year in South Africa has been slightly delayed following last year’s #FeesMustFall protests, but this week a new cohort of first years students have registered at universities across the city. This includes eight new Masicorp bursary recipients from Masiphumele who joined us last week to meet their mentors, collect laptops and undertake computer training at the iLearning Centre at Chasmay Road next to Masiphumlele.

New computers 1

Again we have an interesting group of bursary recipients, studying a diverse range of courses including teaching, accountancy, psychology and for the first time retail business management. We also have our first male nursing student and two students who will be attending Stellenbosch University – the first time we have had bursary recipients studying there. Most of the students will be with us for three or four years, but Khuselo Mchithakali will be with us to just complete his final year. He has completed the previous years of his agriculture course at the Wellington campus of CPUT with financial support from his family in the Eastern Cape. Each year they had sold livestock to fund his progression, and his intention is to return to the region to take his newly acquired skills back to the farming communities.

Training went extremely well – we received the following message from Khuselo:

Thank you for everything you have done with your team, it has been a great experience especially today, I am really excited to have my first laptop which I have been longing to get since grade 10, but due to financial difficulties I couldn’t get one. I will call my parents and send pictures, I am sure they will pray to God to bless your efforts in trying to reach out for deserving young lives.

After training we took the students for lunch in Masiphumelele and called in on our friend Nonny, who runs her catering and cafe business with support from Masicorp. It was a great opportunity for everyone to be introduced and get to know each other before heading out to their various residences across the city ahead of the new term. Good luck to everyone for the new term and thanks to Nonny for providing some delicious and filling food to get everyone underway.

Meal at Nonny's 3

Meeting up with our Masicorp Alumni

Last weekend we met up with the graduates from our bursary programme as we held our second alumni event, once again at the Kelvin Grove Club in Newlands. It was a slightly large event than our first meeting as we were pleased to welcome four new graduates, all of whom have decided to continue their studies at postgraduate level in 2016.

Collage 1

This year’s event was timed to coincide with a visit to Cape Town from our USA team – seen below with the students. John and Carol Thompson founded Masicorp in 1999, and were later joined by Jane Philippi, all of whom now reside full in the United States. Their history with Masicorp has been well documented, and they were present when the first cohort of bursary students made their way from Masiphumelele to university. The majority of the graduates present were funded through a Masicorp support bursary that was made possible by the donations the USA team have raised from among their contacts in the United States.

Collage 2

After being well fed and photographed almost non-stop the graduates were treated to some reminiscences from the overseas visitors and some valuable networking time with Masicorp volunteers and their fellow graduates. We also introduced an E-mentoring scheme at the event, which will see graduates linking up with existing students to give them guidance on the university experience and the subsequent transition to employment and life outside Masiphumelele. The networking aspect of these meeting is seen as a vital outcome for the group and we look forward to reporting back on the progress of our new e-mentors.

Collage 3

Finally, we must thank our patron Dame Linda Dobbs, for once again hosting the event and Louise de Waal from Green Girls in Africa for the photographs on display here.

A visit to Masi Educare

It has been almost two years since our American founders were last here inJohn, Carol & Jane Masiphumelele, but we are pleased to say the team has arrived back in South Africa and is visiting our projects this summer. One of the first inspections took place last week at Masi Educare. So much has changed since John and Carol Thompson, and Jane Philippi were last here. Not only is the site now fully completed they were able to see all of the classes in progress now that the new term has begun.

The children and their teachers were excited to meet the team as they made way from class to class. A large proportion of the funding that has been received to renovate the site was raised in the United States and the visit was the ideal way to see how the results of their hard work fundraising have been used on the ground.

John, Carol, Jane & teacher

The Masi Educare project is also supported by other funders, one group being our friends at Stichting Ibhongo in the Netherlands. The USA team were able to visit the new Stichting Ibhongo classroom and their teacher Sanelisiwe Maqegu, seen here with her class.

Doing art

Stichting Ibhongo have funded the classroom and the equipment as well as some of the playground equipment seen here in use.

Playground 4

A few more pictures from the visit below.

Thank you IbhongoBoy 1Class photo

Sports Trader Helps Masicorp Source Tracksuits for Ukhanyo School

We are very grateful to Sports Trader for their hard work in sourcing tracksuits and other sports kit for the pupils of Ukhanyo School. The full story was recently published on the Sports Trader web site and is reproduced here.


Sports Trader was humbled and very impressed with the offers of help from industry members when we told them how sport and educations was being used to bring hope to the youngsters in the impoverished Masiphumelele township

Many companies in the sport and outdoor retail industry already invest substantially in CSI projects, but when we heard the inspiring story of the work being done by coach Nceba Jonas and the Masicorp Trust in the impoverished Masiphumelele community (between Kommetjie and Fish Hoek near Cape Town) we took the liberty of asking them to assist with much-needed tracksuits.

We were very grateful and impressed by the many, many offers of assistance we received — especially from Kappa SA, ASICS SA and retailer American Clothing, who were first off the mark to generously offer free donations of tracksuits for community netball teams and their coaches.

Springbok suppliers ASICS SA did not hesitate to respond to our request: “We will certainly see how we can assist and support,” said marketing manager Sarah Mundy. “We do already support other causes, however, given the nature of your request, we will see how we can assist.”

While they did not have complete tracksuits available, Wesley Tam, Core Performance Sports Marketing Executive, supplied hooded tops and tracksuit pants for the coaches.

“As a brand, Kappa SA believes in helping to grow the community of South Africa,” says Ricky Joseph, who donated 14 tracksuits for one netball team. “A project such as this is something that we feel extremely touched by. While kids may have the most amazing skills and attributes, sometimes to look and feel good is as important. We believe that by donating these tracksuits to these athletes we will give them an added ability on and off the field. We want to uplift as many disadvantaged communities as possible and enable even those less fortunate in our country to be able to look and feel the best while competing.”

Kamlesh Chagan, owner of the American Clothing stores in Cape Town, believes in supporting the Southern Peninsula communities that have been supporting his family’s business for the past 50 years, after his father opened their first store in Retreat. “I believe in giving back to organisations that support the communities in the areas where I grew up, who provided our family with an income,” he says.

They receive requests for donations on almost a daily basis and he has become wary of everybody knocking on their doors. But, he does support organisations that are empowering young adults surrounded by influences like drugs, etc. to rather follow a path powered by sport or education, says Chagan. He therefore gladly bought matching tracksuits from Kappa at a special price to donate to another Masiphumelele netball team.

After considering several initiatives, Sports Trader decided to support the Masicorp Trust, which has been providing educational and community-based support to the Masiphumelele township since 1999, where more than 38 000 people live disadvantaged and poor (see

What appealed to us is the fact that the Masicorp Trust focuses on education as the way out of poverty, instead of hand-outs.

But, most of all, we were inspired by the enthusiastic sports organiser who, we believe, deserves as much support as possible. The Masicorp Trust pays the salary of community member coach Nceba Jonas, who chairs the community sports programme and also:

  • With the help of volunteers and in partnership with the NGO Goodsport, runs the physical education programme at Ukhanyo Primary School;
  • In the afternoons he also coaches the primary school teams in soccer, rugby, cricket and netball. They have been doing exceptionally well and often win their matches against sporting schools in this league and the principal’s office is filled with trophies won by the sports teams. Their netball team is the current holders of the Southern Peninsula League Championship title.
  • In addition, coach Nceba is chairman of the Masi community sports council and coaches community teams (who required the tracksuits) at the Fish Hoek Pirates netball and soccer club. And if that is not enough, he also runs aerobics classes in the community hall in the evenings.

The Masiphumelele community is very poor and parents struggle to afford sports kit — the primary school teams have therefore been competing in generic white T-shirts and shorts against well-equipped opponents wearing proper kits.

Coach Nceba has a dream that all his teams will one day be able to meet their opponents wearing proper school team kit, which would give his young learners the confidence to meet other schools on equal footing.