LEPHALALE — This is his safe place where he feels at home. Mike Molekoa, a maths and science teacher at Hoërskool Ellisras, says he is very happy and fortunate to be where he is.
The 41 year was in a Roman Catholic school in Mpumalanga during his primary school years. His mother then moved to Bela-Bela and he attended Hoërskool Warmbad seeing it as an opportunity to be in a (especially during those years) mainly white, Afrikaans high school. “My mother taught us that the differences between people of different backgrounds means that you have an opportunity to explore the field and to learn something from them and vice versa” he said.
Mike studied for his Technical Education qualification at the Tswane University of Technology in Pretoria and says he initially wanted to become a doctor, but he realised that his real passion lay in mathematics and science.
He completed his BSc at the former Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit (RAU) in 2001. He also completed a one year programme course in Linear Algebra at UNISA.
He took a break from his studies and taught at Bela-Bela Technical School from 1998 to 2000. He then moved to Lephalale and taught at the former FET College offering N1 to N3 in science and N4 to N6 in mathematics. He also taught N1 to N6 during evening classes in Industrial Electronics. Mike says by 2012 he couldn’t handle the situation at FET anymore and he applied for a position at Hoërskool Ellisras. His application was successful and on 20 July 2012 he started at Hoërskool Ellisras as maths and science teacher. He says he never looked back.
Apart from the fact that he receives a lot of support from the principal, Louis Campbell, he is also privileged enough to have a home on the school premises. “I have wonderful mentors like Esmé Fourie for maths and Saret le Roux in science.
When talking to Mike it soon becomes clear that his job is his passion – he gives extra classes after hours to help those learners who struggle. He has a good relationship with both English and Afrikaans learners and parents, he says.
Mike attended a Roman Catholic primary school for seven years where he never really felt at home. His mom used to be a domestic worker in Mpumalanga and he can remember feeling sad about the way her employer treated her as well as the fact that her remuneration did not match the work she did. He was therefore very happy when they moved to Lephalale after his father passed away.
“Even as a single mom nothing was ever too much of an effort for her concerning her children – even during difficult times, she always thought of her children first” he says.
They were not spoilt as children and whenever they received something from her as a gift, they had to work to earn it.
“I always knew it was expected from me to study further after I matriculated at Hoërskool Warmbad. After all my sister, Magdalene, is a Chartered Accountant in Pretoria and my brother Hosea works as a Human Resources Manager in a hospital in Polokwane. My mother did a good job in teaching us to get somewhere in life” he said.
Mike’s message to the community of Lephalale is to encourage the youth to take education in a very serious light. “They must know that education is the key to success. The economy of Lephalale is growing fast due to mineral sources around town – therefore we need vibrant brains to manage the economy. It is my dream to see the youth of the town being employed by companies around Lephalale. Parents must help the teachers motivate the children to attend school.
“We have everything in Lephalale – you just have to press the right button at the right time” he said.
Mike is going home to his mother for Mother’s Day on 7 May because she really deserves a special day like every other mother. “I am going to buy her a dress and cook all the food that she loves”.