10 February 2022


Disadvantaged pupils in the Hambanathi community on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast have commenced school all togged up in brand new uniforms provided by agri-business giant, Tongaat Hulett.

The pupils, who attend Nkosibomvu High School, were thrilled when they were presented with new uniforms and shoes and were full of praise for the generous donation by Tongaat Hulett.

The deserving pupils had been badly-impacted when their parents lost their jobs during the COVID-19 lockdown. Parents have had to decide whether to use their available limited resources to put food on the table or purchase uniforms.

Since food is a greater priority, many pupils struggled to secure much-needed resources, including school uniforms. 

Since many schools were closed during the lockdown, pupils in the majority of the communities where Tongaat Hulett operates had to rely on their own resources to continue learning remotely or through pupil-led study groups.

Mrs Rachel Lindiwe Xulu, a teacher at Nkosibomvu High School, said the school recorded an increased number of pupils with school uniforms in poor condition in 2021.

“Most parents had lost their jobs during the lockdown period. I contacted Tongaat Hulett, who did not hesitate to support the indigent pupils. The donation of school uniforms will ensure that the pupils have a good start in 2022. Parents will not have to worry about buying school uniforms with their meagre resources,” said Mrs Xulu.

Thabile Magwaza, chairperson of the school’s governing body, thanked Tongaat Hulett for supporting the school and for investing in the future of the pupils.

Nkonzo Mhlongo, Tongaat Hulett’s socio-economic development manager, said over the past eight years, the company’s back to school campaign has seen more than 3, 000 pupils benefitting.

“It is widely recognised that school uniforms contribute to an improved culture of learning in schools as it builds a sense of pride, increases pupil attendance, and increases attention in the classroom as pupils are not concerned about what other students are wearing. In addition, Tongaat Hulett has committed to working with a wide range of stakeholders to support communities negatively affected by COVID-19. Already in partnership with other stakeholders, about 250, 000 litres of sanitiser have been donated to the KZN Department of Health and 60 tons of instant porridge has been distributed in affected communities. We will continue to monitor and respond to the COVID-19-related impacts within our communities. Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our employees and the communities in the areas in which the company operates,” said Mhlongo.