Clayton connects with the heart of JozaDate Released: Tue, 25 July 2017 15:29 +0200
It has been a few years since the technology-savvy Dr Peter Clayton camped on top of the water tank at Nombulelo High School in Joza, Grahamstown. When Rhodes University first installed wireless internet in local schools the signal was very weak. Dr Clayton would drive to Joza to climb up the tank and re-establish the connection.
“I spent a lot of days freezing up there, but it was worth it,” he recalls during his return visit to the same spot this week. Now Rhodes University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Development, Dr Clayton spent his Tuesday morning on a history outing in Joza accompanied and guided by Grahamstown Councillor, Ramie Xhonxa.
Established in the 1930s because settlers required local labour, today the township boats over 20 schools, outreach centres, a library, a sports centre, a dam and an impressive array of local businesses.
Dr Clayton and Xhonxa spent most of their time in the various semi-equipped sports grounds reminiscing about yesteryear rugby and their icons who stomped the same grounds in their junior years before becoming famous.
He was introduced to community members whose livelihoods depend on institutions and resources in their own neighbourhood. Clayton was particularly impressed by the footprint of Rhodes University in different thriving community development projects, especially in education.
At Nombulelo High School, one of the biggest schools in Grahamstown with over 1 000 learners, principal Nicci Hayes enthused about the crucial relationship the school has with the RU Department of Education and its educators. Up to ten educators from Rhodesare currently filling in the gap left by vacancies at the school.
Dr Clayton’s tour is part of the Rhodes University Mandela Day programme that kick started this week. Rhodes University has embarked on an intensive citywide ‘Trading Live for Mandela’ movement that takes place from March to August each year and supports the development of the whole Grahamstown community.
By the end of this week, over 140 events that will take place in Grahamstown involving Rhodes staff, students, state and independent schools, business, civil society, non-profit and community based organisations, all coming together to share their skills and assets for the benefit of each member of the Grahamstown Community.