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Isaac Metembo is a finalist in The Herald Citizens of the Year Awards in partnership with Nelson Mandela University.

Retiring from education has not stopped a Gqeberha man from ensuring less-privileged residents get theirs.

Isaac Metembo, 65, along with colleagues, formed the Northern Areas People Development Initiative (Napdi) to offer various programmes to the disadvantaged youth.

The NGO initiated the Second Chance Matric Programme (SCM) in 2011 which has since grown and seen 563 residents register for the course this year.

It is this type of dedication to see more people achieving their academic goals that earned Metembo the title of education category winner in The Herald Nelson Mandela University Citizens of The Year.

Metembo, who comes from a family of teachers, said being in education and seeing how people’s lives were affected due to not attaining a matric certificate sparked the SCM idea.

“Myself and the rest of the Napdi trustees knew we needed to start something to assist those willing to invest in themselves,” he said.

“It would never have been possible without the 12 teachers who turn up every Saturday after a long week at their respective schools to reach out to those in need.”

The classes run on Saturdays from 8am to 2pm in twohour slots covering various subjects.

“Since Covid-19, the ever-increasing dropout rate among our adults is very worrying,” Metembo said. “We recently signed a partnership agreement with the Raymond Uren Education Trust that ensures financial security for our Second Chance programme for the next three years.”

He said he was excited to be associated with an organisation that honoured an icon like Raymond Uren and Napdi was more determined than ever to take the programme to new heights.

“We are about to enter into an agreement with Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Learning Technologies, and through this agreement, our students would be able to access the thousands of matric lessons taught by the best teachers in the country in both English and Afrikaans at no cost and with no data required,” he said.

Metembo said Stellenbosch had opted to support the programme after noting articles in both The Herald and Weekend Post.

He said it was an honour to be recognised by one of the oldest newspapers in the country.

Metembo was nominated by Paul Geswindt, who said the role he played in the community was commendable and deserved to be acknowledged.

“It is important to commend people like Metembo, this is also a message to those who want to make a difference ... as what he is doing, goes a long way for the community,” he said.

“So far more than 500 people had registered [for the programme], it really shows how much of an impact it has.”

The top 10 category winners will be celebrated at a formal black-tie gala awards ceremony, which will be held on Friday September 9 at 6.30pm at the Radisson Blu Hotel.

Corporate and single tickets are available for supporters who would like to join the celebratory event.

Contact Berna Ulay-Walters, The Herald marketing manager, to book your seat:

This article appeared in The Herald (South Africa) on 17 August 2022 written by Yolanda Palezweni


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