Johannesburg – A Gauteng businesswoman had to sacrifice her posh home in Knysna, Western Cape, and a fancy car in order to establish the first black-owned township private school in Ekurhuleni.
After successfully running a pre-school for 25 years, Margery Tyobo set her sights on opening Ayanda Junior Academy.
“I believed that if I can build this private school and get a good principal and teachers, I’ll teach our children the right values,” Tyobo, 64, said.
Tyobo opened the academy early last year from the expansion of Ayanda Pre-School which she opened in 1991.
She said in the 1990s she attended a principals’ conference and an idea to build a school was born.
She said there were complaints during the conference about the lack of commitment by township educators, and that parents had resorted to taking their children to more resourced schools in the suburbs.
“I dismissed the idea and said ‘I am 60, how am I going to open a school because I am losing my strength?’ But in 2015, I took the voice seriously because it would not give me a break.”
Tyobo said her passion for education came from her own personal story.
She said it took her six years to obtain her matric qualification because she got married at a young age and had a child which forced her to attend night school.
The school has 248 learners from Grade R up to Grade 2 and parents pay R1450 per month for Grade R and R1750 per month for Grades 1 and 2.
Tyobo said her biggest challenge during the building was obtaining financial support. The foundation alone cost her R1.5million.
“I compromised everything I had. I don’t have a bond or a loan. I had to compromise my car, I had a Range Rover and my house in Knysna for this,” she said.
Ayanda Junior Academy plans to expand the school to cater up to Grade 7 in due time.
“I want my legacy to say there was a woman who compromised everything to build a school for the generation of children that come after our children,” she concluded.