Welcome to Uplands Outreach
On a weekly basis, Violah Moya and I leave the serene Uplands campus in White River and take a thirty-minute winding journey down the granite hills to scenic Kabokweni, located in the heart of the Insikazi school circuit, here in rural Mpumalanga, South Africa. The purpose of our trips is to provide on-site support to the school leaders, teachers and learners who participate in our Uplands Outreach programmes.
Moving between these two worlds, one can never escape the inequalities that are so prevalent in our South African society. If you’re well-read, you will know that the debate on inequality took a prominent turn in 2014 with the release of French economist Thomas Picketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, an unlikely bestseller. Sparking widespread debate, Picketty’s tome explores long-term patterns and historical causes of inequality.
No matter where you fall on the Picketty or tax-opinion spectrum (bearing in mind the famous quote that taxes are the price that we pay for civilization), one cannot deny the savage inequalities that exist in South Africa. You may ascribe this to historical influences, economic growth, uneven wealth distributions, social classes, monitory and/or economic policy - all these themes are relevant in the South African context.
What interests me most in the debate on inequality is the compelling role of education. Without better learning outcomes and the generation of an educated workforce, greater employment and equality are simply unattainable in South Africa. There is undeniable truth in what my parents taught me: education gives you options. Without quality education, there are very few options.
Educational disparities have been the central focus of Uplands Outreach since our inception twenty years ago, thanks to the vision of the Uplands community. Recently, the Board of Directors at Uplands reconfirmed that Outreach is essential to the vision and mission of the school. As a top-performing independent school, Uplands is still committed to playing a significant, transformational role in the educational landscape for all of South Africa’s children.
I would like to express thanks and appreciation to everyone who has contributed to Uplands Outreach’s success over the past two decades. With your support and interest, Outreach will work industriously to create another twenty years of ‘raising achievement for all’ in rural Mpumalanga. If any of you wish to join Violah and me on our next winding journey over the granite hills, please don’t hesitate to be in touch.
Nicolette (Nicky) de Bruyn