To have a child attend The Kusasa Academy is a major commitment. Here, we intentionally nurture a close relationship with every parent and guardian. In order for the project and the school to be sustainable, we need to ensure that the caregivers of our beloved Kusasa-kids are fully onboard with what we aim to achieve. In this case, to deliver functioning, educated, and contributing members of South African society. 

Parents are expected to volunteer at the school throughout the year and attend relevant workshops. The volunteer hours vary between 20 and 30, depending on the number of children attending. Furthermore, we encourage parents to reach out to us with life challenges and other difficulties in order for us to extend a helping hand with the resources our donors and volunteers afford us. All this is done with the main goal of ensuring a healthy and peaceful home life for our Kusasa-kids. This allows them to focus on the most important part of their development; learning and top-quality education. 

With these commitments and juggling their working lives, we spoke to a few of our Kusasa-mothers to hear from them about how they feel about the role The Kusasa Project has in their lives: 

Kanyisa Mpahleni

“I met my husband in Cape Town after I moved to the area from the Eastern Cape in 2000. We came to Franschhoek in 2008 after my husband got a job here on a farm.” Kanyisa is a domestic worker for a family in the Franschhoek village. It is easy to see she is a hard worker who takes pride in what she does. 

She is the mother of a 10-year-old learner attending The Kusasa Academy, and she has an 18-year-old son who is completing his matric year. Kanyisa is a loving but stern parent. “They do everything for themselves, but I take care of the housework.” She values the independence of her children, but she is still always around to help with homework or if they are facing challenges. 

“I’m so proud of being a part of Kusasa,” she says. “We know the teachers. Many people are not familiar with sitting in a teacher’s classroom while they are telling you important things about your child. We are family of Kusasa,” she said. 

Thembisa Majule 

It’s been three years since Thembisa found out her life partner is living with blood cancer. “Since he started with chemotherapy, he couldn’t work because he is tired,” she says. Last year, he went into remission. “When he got better, he helped me a lot but now we think it is coming back. It is a challenge, and sometimes it affects [our child].”

As parents, they are very transparent with their daughter about her father’s illness. “She knows when he goes to the hospital, he might come back or he might have to stay for a while,” she explains. 

Thembisa works as a waiter in Franschhoek. “I have to balance my life very well. When I got home from work [while my partner was in the hospital], I had to help my child with school work, and I needed to cook and such,” saying it can be challenging. 

“I am coping; I can balance my life. I know how to separate wants from needs,” she explains. When her partner is well enough, he is a great co-parent and partner.  Thembisa is also proud of how her daughter handles life challenges. “We have story books everywhere, so when she sees I am busy cooking or doing something around the house, she will read,” she says.

“The Kusasa Project has helped me a lot; my child is the child she is today because of The Kusasa Academy,” she says. 

Dibakazi Funcuza-Ndzondza

Dibakazi is the working mom of two girls, one of whom attends The Kusasa Academy. “I have been a team leader at a bank for almost 12 years now. I am a part of the furniture by now.” She started off as a teller and has worked her way to where she is now. “It was a long journey,” she admits, but says she finds her work exciting. 

She balances her work and her involvement at the school thoughtfully. “It is not a walk in the park, it is difficult, but the only thing that makes it easy is knowing our children look up to us. They imitate us as parents,” she says, adding that she models responsibility by doing her part and being involved. 

Dibakazi lives just around the corner from the academy. Originally from the Eastern Cape, she now calls Groendal home. She has a tight bond with her 8-year-old; “she is such a cheerful child, and she is loud as well,” she says, laughing at herself. Dibakazi sees leadership skills in her daughter. “I will be doing her an injustice if I expect her to not voice her opinions; she must strive and be eager to get what she wants,” she says.

She says The Kusasa Academy has become a large part of her family’s home life. With advice from teachers and staff, Dibakazi feels strongly that she and her daughter do evening chores together. “Teachers introduce things to us that we don’t know, and it is our responsibility to take the information, understand it and implement it at home,” she says. Dibakazi says she is grateful that the school is teaching her child how to think and not what to think. “They are giving her the freedom to think for herself, and I think that is nice,” she adds. 

If you would like to support our hard-working parents and their amazing Kusasa-kids, click here to donate