News Release

The Church of Jesus Christ Makes Dreams Come True for South African Students 

Church provides additional funds for improvements at South African school

The Tsakani Primary School in Kagiso, South Africa will get a much-needed athletic field thanks to a donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder S. Mark Palmer of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder Edward Dube and Elder Denelson Silva of the Africa South Area Presidency visited the school on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, to make the donation.

“The goal of all education is to help grow future leaders within the community, and you look at the smiles on these young people’s faces and they’re enjoying learning and they’re thrilled to be here,” said Elder Palmer.

This donation will go towards two future projects at the primary school. As mentioned, the first project is to develop a sports field, net ball court and athletics track to provide enhanced physical activity for the students and community. Part of this project is upgrading the school’s stormwater drainage system to prevent flooding.

Ms. Comrade Tshikosi, a member of the school’s governing body and mother to four children who have attended the school, is happy the school will have a safer place for the children to play.

“If you look at the current sports field that [we] have now, it’s uneven, it’s unsafe. But we still have children wanting to play soccer,” Tshikosi said. “We don’t only need this program for formal sports. You need children to be able to go outside of the classroom and be children because I really believe that we learn better when we play.”

The second project is providing six additional mobile classrooms to help create smaller class sizes. Currently, some of the classes have 50 students and one teacher. Ethel Khoele, a teacher at the school, believes the smaller class sizes will help improve the learning outcomes for all children.

“We cannot even reach the learners sometimes because the class is so full,” Khoele said. “I need to focus on applying the principle of individualization, but I cannot because of the bigger numbers. So, if the classes can be smaller, I’ll be able to achieve a lot.”

The Church of Jesus Christ first began helping the Tsakani Primary School in 2018. The project then was to build a drainage system by the classrooms and refurbish 10 mobile classrooms and six teacher offices. Two years later, another drainage system was installed, and two mobile classroom blocks were also refurbished. And earlier this year, two buildings with bathroom facilities were constructed to serve children in grade two and kindergarten.

This school serves more than 1,800 students and is the only school in the West Rand School District that teaches Tsonga and Venda, two of the 11 official languages recognized in South Africa. The demand for providing school for those two languages is increasing.

“The school is growing. Last year, it was 1,700 [students], and this year it’s at 1,800,” said David Chauke, Tsakani Primary School Principal. “This donation will help us to accommodate more kids because the demand is quite high. Everybody that speaks [these two languages] wants to come to this school. There’s no other school for them.”

Principal Chauke expressed his gratitude for the donation and believes it is an investment in the future.

“We want to develop leaders, future leaders, we want to develop doctors and lawyers,” he said. “We have kids coming out of this school who are in Japan as scientists. We have others who are working in banks … [and] some are running their own businesses. That’s what we want to keep doing so this school can be a center of excellence for everybody.”

The name of the school, Tsakani, means “be happy” in Tsonga. Principal Chauke knows why the school founders chose that name. “They wanted this to be a happy place for everybody. They wanted the kids, the parents, the entire community to be happy.”

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.