Khanya and Safmarine: Making History in Bonnievale
The launch of the Khanya computer laboratory at Bonnievale Primary saw Khanya and Safmarine - its partner at Bonnievale Primary - achieving yet another first: the first computer laboratory in containers, converted by Safmarine as part of their corporate social investment in South Africa.
Safmarine, who supply containers all over Africa to be used as classrooms, clinics and community centres, became involved at Bonnievale Primary when, despite being included in the Khanya Project, the prospect of their laboratory receded further and further into the distance as a result of a lack of physical space in which to house it. Speaking at the launch on 5 May 2006, Ms Dollie Plaatjies, a representative from Safmarine said that education was a key focus area for Safmarine and it is because they believe so strongly in it that they had donated the three containers and the infrastructure for the laboratory to Bonnievale Primary.
Mr Robertson, Deputy Director of the Overberg EMDC complimented the school on their ingenuity and their determination and urged the learners to keep their Khanya laboratory alive; to use it to empower themselves and the community. He added that through the laboratory they could now give real voice to the school’s motto, “Reik al Hoër”.
The vibrant atmosphere which permeates Bonnievale Primary was evident in the singing of the choir and the dance item that entertained guests at the launch. A sign board was unveiled marking the addition of the Khanya laboratory to the school by Kobus van Wyk, Programme Manager of Khanya, and Gerhard van den Berg, the Khanya Private and Public Partnerships team member who had been responsible for initiating Safmarine’s aid to Bonnievale Primary.
Mr van Wyk encouraged the school to become technologically independent now, to strive to empower their educators to load software, to maintain the computers and, generally, to be responsible for the sustainability of their laboratory. He pointed out that technology was not a luxury but a necessity in a school and that while Bonnievale Primary had been given an opportunity by Khanya, the ‘baton’ had now metaphorically been passed to them and it was up to them to run with it.
Bonnievale Primary, Safmarine and the Khanya Project have once again shown what can be achieved where the desire is strong enough and people are willing to pool their resources. Bonnievale Primary, not a school to rest on its laurels, has already entered into negotiations with Safmarine for another laboratory so the needs of their 1300 learners can be addressed more efficiently.