Mpumalanga’s “Teacher-under-a-Tree” finally gets his Classroom

Written By: Keletso Chalo 

Mpumalanga maths teacher Jerry Mbowane was on wednesday given a classroom where he can finally share his passion for school children .

Mbowane (58) worked for more than 20 years giving afternoon maths and science lessons under a tree in a yard of his family’s home in Thulamashe .

“I have no words to express how happy I am today ” he said at the official handing over of the caltex Academy of maths and science at Zwide Primary School . It is within walking distance of Mbowanes home .

Mbowane has been teaching about 70 people under his tree . In the mornings, he visited government schools around Bushbuckrigde to teach .

He was able to have learners that got distinctions in maths and science . He believes that if one has knowledge it must be passed onto other people .

Petrochemicals Company Caltex gave Mbowane R150 000 sponsorship . This will help provide a place to teach and stationary .

The Academy could have started in January but because of delays the school decided to create space to accommodate it .

This meant that they had to redo the contract between Caltex and the Academy director Arnold le Roux explained.

He said Mbowane desereves to work in a proper place .

“We had to do something when we read about this in the newspaper . We are impressed with his work and should not be left to do it on his own .

Mbowane says he is grateful to the community for being supportive .

“Having to teach under a tree was nothing compared to the knowledge and power that the learners would receive,” he adds.

He grew up knowing that its not the circumstances that will define where or what you will become provided you work hard in maths and science you will have a better life .

“Mathematics and science is always seen as a difficult subject I want to change peoples mindset about the subjects.” 

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