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How Obama influenced the empowerment of a Soweto community

makamba & kids 1JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – WHILE South Africa did not feature in United
States President Barack Obama’s itinerary when he toured Africa recently,
an initiative inspired by his historic ascendancy as the first black
President of his country is set to empower generations for years to come
in a largely impoverished community south of Johannesburg.

Coinciding with Obama’s visit to the continent, the Ibammo Foundation has
officially opened a library, refurbished at a cost of more than R360 000,
at the Mokgome Secondary School in Meadowlands in the sprawling township
of Soweto.

Ibammo, an acronym for Inspired by Barack and Michelle Obama, wholly
financed the refurbishment.

The library has been commissioned amid pomp and fanfare in an eventmakamba & kids
attended by a selfless delegation from the foundation, which has been
received by enthusiastic educators and students who expressed gratitude
and hope the facility would improve educations standards and subsequently
empower students reach their full potential.

Tumelo Moyo, one of 900 students at the school established in 1959,
welcomed the commissioning of the facility saying it would enhance his and
colleagues’ success in their final examinations and beyond.

He appreciated the gesture of goodwill by the Ibammo Foundation.

Nearby schools such as Meadowlands, Moruta Thuto, Inkonjane, Tietsi
Mashinini and Indoni are also set to benefit.

“Against all odds, we have a facility that will assist us improve our
education standards and realize our dreams. As students, we are
grateful.We thank those that have seen it worthwhile to provide us with
such a facility. We feel lucky and blessed to be chosen out of hundreds of
schools in Soweto to be the beneficiaries,” said Moyo the enthusiastic
Grade 11 scholar, who harbours hopes of becoming a gynecologist.

Another student, Mpho Vilankulu, was equally thrilled.

“We welcome the gesture by the Ibammo Foundation to select us as the
beneficiaries. We promise to put the facility and the donated books to
good use. The library will afford us an opportunity to be successful in
life,” Vilankulu said to applause.

Song and dance marked the official opening of the facility on a day that
would go down the annals of the school’s and students’ history as among
the most inspirational.

To further enhance the partnership with the school that caters for
children mostly from disadvantaged backgrounds, the Ibammo Foundation
pledged to provide a year’s scholarships to some students at a tertiary
university of their choice upon completion of studies at Mokgome.

Educators at the school also expressed excitement at the commissioning of
the library.

“We wish to express a big Thank You to the Ibammo Foundation for the
library and the continued support. We are proud to be chosen as the
beneficiaries of this worthy facility. We have for a long time dreamt of
having such a facility and that dream has at last come true,” said
Henrietta Seerane, the Mokgome Secondary School Governing Body (SGB)

Don Makhado, an Institutional Development Support Official, said the
library would be a catalyst for the success of the students enrolled at
the school, their future counterparts and subsequently, the community.

“The library is in line with policies by the government to make education
paperless. It is a very important part of that project. We appreciate the
gesture by the Ibammo Foundation and hope this cements a cordial and
fruitful partnership,” Makhado said.

Ibammo Foundation’s Chief Operations Officer, Agnes Hove Chiweshe
challenged the schoolchildren to make the most of the opportunity given to

“Education is the key that opens doors to success. Through this project,
we appeal to the learners to take full responsibility of their own
education, progress and own future. Through education, they can facilitate
their growth. We hope they use the library to ensure they reach their full
potential,” Hove Chiweshe said.

Prominent entrepreneur and philanthropist, Dr James Makamba, established
the Ibammo Foundation in 2009, inspired by the historical presidential
election of Obama and the support the history-making President received
from his wife Michelle.

That, and the attendance of a London concert that would catapult Obama to
the Presidency of the US, as well as the role that quality education
played in the Obama couple’s life, inspired the formation of the

An education-focused entity of the Makamba Holdings, the foundation
inspires and empowers disadvantaged African youngsters between the ages of
14 and 18 to develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

“Ibamo Foundation is inspired by the rise of Obama to the Presidency of
the US. The foundation is a legacy of that historic moment,” Makamba said.

He expressed confidence in the potential of youth from disadvantaged

“The next African billionaire will not necessarily emerge from the plush
suburbs of Sandton (South Africa), Borrowdale, Kumalo (both Zimbabwe) or
Victoria Island (Nigeria),” Makamba said.

“Rather, they will emerge from the so-called ghettos as Soweto, Nguboyenja
(Zimbabwe) or Kibera (Kenya). Like Obama said, the future of Africa is in
our hands. We have it our hands to become a continent of innovators,
discoverers and problem-solvers. There has to be a passion for
self-motivation and a better life,” Makamba said.

– CAJ News

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