Bantu Maqabuka, a reading coach at Kim Kgolo Primary School in Kimberley, believes he has found a purpose in life that is bigger than himself.
Maqabuka was studying towards a National Diploma in Public Management when he was invited by the department of education to try out for the role of a reading coach.
He found the experience both daunting and exciting, and chose to follow his heart.
Five years later he is working full time as a reading coach and, despite having completed and qualified in Public Management, he is now studying towards becoming a teacher.
“Being a reading coach has helped me to grow so much. I was initially scared to work with children and didn’t think I could make a difference, but now I actually feel like I have a purpose that is bigger than me,” he says.
The value of a reading coach
As a reading coach Maqabuka is tasked with supporting teachers, many of whom struggle to help pupils on an individual level, while also helping the children improve their reading and literacy.
“It takes time to give a child the help they need, even for me as a reading coach. I often stay in at break time and after school on many days to give the children extra help,” he says.
He recognises that teachers cannot carry the burden alone, and believes parents should also assist their children with homework.
Unfortunately, many parents work long hours and have not had access to a proper education, and so they are unable to assist.
Helping the community
The literacy programme Maqabuka is involved in is funded by Droogfontein Solar Power and supports the department of basic education’s primary school literacy drive that focuses on reading improvement initiatives, quality teaching in the pupils’ home language, English as a first additional language, reading clubs and reading competitions.
“The Reading Assistant Programme means children are assisted individually or in small groups, according to their ability, paying particular attention to those who struggle,”says Zuki Ndlela, economic development officer at Droogfontein Solar Power.
Having found his true passion, Maqabuka wants to keep on making a difference to the children he works with, especially those in his community.