Yesterday, the spirit of former President Nelson Mandela was alive and well across the country as South Africans rolled up their sleeves in celebration of Mandela Day.


Mandela Day commemorates the icon's lifetime of service to South Africa and the world.  In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly declared Mandela's birthday, 18 July, Nelson Mandela International Day. 


In celebration of Mandela's life and legacy, people devote 67 minutes of their time, one minute for every year of Mandela's public service, to take action and change the world for the better.


In this spirit, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and its entities focused on improving teaching and learning at Khulubone Primary School in Mtubatuba, KwaZulu-Natal.


Led by the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, and the Director-General (DG), Dr Phil Mjwara, DST officials set to work doing upgrades at the school.  As part of the upgrade, the Department refurbished classrooms by installing new doors and windows.


The Deputy Minister and the DG also handed over nine laptops, two printers, school uniforms for 50 learners, sanitary pads and learning materials in the areas of science, engineering and technology. 


Khulubone Primary is a rural public school with 402 learners, 11 teachers and nine classrooms, one of which is used as a maths and science computer laboratory. 


The school principal, Mrs Doris Msibi, highlighted the challenges the learners experience such as water shortages and long commutes to and from school.  Despite these challenges, the school pass rate is between 80 and 100%.  Mrs Msibi said the school owed its success to the dedicated hardworking teachers and the computer laboratory.


The principal thanked the DST for its support which she believes will continue to inspire the spirit of success at the school.


Parents, learners and other community members supported the Mandela Day activities and were happy to be part of the celebrations at the school.


The DST worked with the National Research Foundation, Technology Innovation Agency, South African National Space Agency, Human Sciences Research Council and Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research to ensure the success of its week-long Mandela Day activities.