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uBambiswano was born in 1990. This initiative was pioneered by Mr Frank Simmonds, who was the headmaster of St Andrew’s School for Girls from 1973 to 1994. Mr Simmonds’ vision was for the St Andrew’s community to reach out, in a positive manner, to the disadvantaged community of Daveyton, and share with those who had little of the educational facilities enjoyed by the pupils of St Andrew’s. This vision laid the foundation for the success of uBambiswano today.

During 1989, Mr Simmonds appointed Mrs Marilyn Young to open an outreach centre at St Andrew’s School for Girls in 1990. The Education Department requested that the focus be the East Rand, as there were no educational initiatives present in the area at that time. The Centre was to have independent funding, as the project could not be funded from the school’s main sources of revenue. Mr Neale Axelson, therefore, agreed to chair the funding committee, which would be responsible for sourcing sponsorship and administering the funds.

Mr Frank Simmonds

Mrs Gill Morris

Mrs B Walton, Mr D Tredrea, Mrs A Gunning, Mr N Axelson and Mrs G Morris

Student sponsorship, the Bridging Centre and the Outreach Centre were the three initial projects that formed the St Andrew’s outreach initiative. 

Mrs Gill Morris headed the Bridging Centre, and took over as Director of Outreach from Mrs Young in 1990.

Mr Dave Tredrea was responsible for the Daveyton Enrichment Programme (DEP) which was based at St Andrew’s School, on Saturdays.  Mr Tredrea liaised with schools in the Daveyton area to find promising children who would benefit most from this Saturday School.  

By 1991, the committee had raised the R500 000 required for the year. Twenty-six girls at St Andrew’s were receiving financial assistance through the outreach bursary programme, and the bridging centre was providing tuition in English, Afrikaans and Mathematics for girls from disadvantaged communities.


In 1992, the number of girls and boys in the Saturday School had increased to ninety. Historically, in South Africa Grade 1 to Grade 4 children were taught in their relevant vernacular until the end of 1992. In 1993 the teaching language medium changed.  In 1993 the St Andrew’s outreach decided to hold pilot teacher workshops for the teachers of grades 1 to 4 from Theo Twala School in Kwa Thema.  These were run by Mrs Gill Morris, Mrs Janet Axelson and Mrs Meg Grayer.  The Letterland method of teaching the alphabet sounds was implemented. Teaching methods for Mathematics, integrated studies, library organisation and utilisation were also included in the programme.

Eskom came on board as a sponsor of the DEP and TED programmes in 1994. Other original sponsors included: AECI, Anglo-American and De Beers Chairman’s Fund, BMW, Colgate Palmolive, Council of Education: Witwatersrand, First National Bank, ICI Educational Trust Limited, Johannesburg Consolidated Investment Co Ltd, Nampak, The Ackerman Family Educational Trust, Sasol, Scaw Metal, Zenex Oil.

1991 matrics

St Andrew's matriculatnts 1993

1999 The Mobile Library serving pupils at Daveyton Intermediate School

The Saturday School for children from Daveyton had grown from twenty-four pupils to ninety-six by 1996 with girls and boys in Grades 4, 5, 6 and 7. 

They studied Mathematics, Science, English, thinking skills, reading and computer skills in the morning and spent time on less formal activities such as sport, drama, art and occasional outings in the afternoons. Sporting activities were generally supervised by Grade 11 girls in the St Andrew’s Senior School.  

The Teacher Enrichment Programme (TEP) grew from strength to strength with the opportunity to provide in-service training for underqualified teachers from Daveyton schools.  By 1994 there were sixty teachers attending workshops. Workshops were introduced for some of the grade 6 and 7 teachers in Mathematics, English and Science. 

Mrs Meg Grayer involved the TEP with the Ekufundzeni Mobile Library and it is still an integral part of the uBambiswano partnership in Daveyton, offering invaluable reading opportunities to pupils at 32 Daveyton primary schools. 

In 1995, Mrs Busi Ndlovu was appointed to the Outreach staff as the liaison officer to visit all the Daveyton schools involved in the Programme. In her role, she was able to encourage other teachers, unable to attend the workshops, to share the experience of their colleagues who had attended the workshops. Mrs Ndlovu established an important support system between the workshops and the effectiveness in the classrooms.  Mrs Ndlovu then trained as a trainer for

the Ntataise programme so that she was able to implement it amongst the

teachers in Daveyton. 

A further addition to the TEP was that of Educational Management support

for the leadership teams of the Daveyton schools. This service was delivered

by a specialist in tertiary education.

Dave and Std 5 pupil

Mrs Karen Symons became the co-ordinator of the DEP and TEP from 1995. An outreach task team was formed under the new headmistress, Mrs Gunning’s, student leadership scheme. In 1998, a new director, Mrs S Ndlovu was appointed.  Further developments and growth continued under her leadership.

The success stories that have come about as a result of the DEP are numerous. Some include:  

  • Lungile Zabala went on to study B Com CTA Studies in 1994

  • Sizakele Khoza was hoping to study Pharmacy

  • Pearl Dilwayo went to tecknikon to study Management and Accounting

  • Boitumelo Maruping also went on to study B Com CTA Studies in 1994

  • Carol Dube, who regularly attended the Saturday School and a Benoni high school, went to the University of Port Elizabeth where she graduated with an LLB cum laude

  • Brenda Mashika, was the first pupil to be admitted to St Andrew’s School for Girls from the DEP programme. Brenda was also a member of the St Andrew’s School choir when it recorded a CD. She later became an air traffic controller and is now Senior Manager: PMO and Strategy at Air Traffic and Navigation Services Limited (ATNS). 

Mrs Karen Symons

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