‘Shear’ determination leads to ‘woolly’ winsJanuary 23, 2024
Mine to school conversion
A visionary social entrepreneur transforms a derelict mining site into a thriving hub.
Images: The Allure Group
In a narrative unfolding over the past decade, Daddy Khuselo, a South African social entrepreneur with a passion for education, has embarked on a transformative journey. More than 10 years ago, in the midst of economic uncertainty, the community of the City of Matlosana, known as Klerksdorp in the North West Province, faced the imminent closure of mining operations, the supportive backbone of the region. Where many would see pitfalls, Daddy, a qualified engineer, spotted an opportunity. He envisioned repurposing the ruins left behind by a mining company. The derelict 11-hectare site, once plagued by illegal miners, became the canvas for Daddy’s vision: a hub for educational outcomes and a space to create entrepreneurial opportunities for the community.
A CHALLENGING BUT REWARDING PROCESS
Undeterred by the extensive repairs needed, Daddy invested personal savings and enlisted engineer friends to refurbish the dilapidated mine buildings. Cashing in on investments and borrowing one million rand against his mortgage, he demonstrated unwavering commitment to his cause. Additional funds were sourced from close friends to propel further development.
The initial sacrifices bore fruit when one residential block’s refurbishment caught the attention of local school principals. Recognising its potential, they proposed the facility as a Grade 12 examination camp. Hosting 1 300 learners, the hub’s positive impact reflected in the 2020 national results, elevating North West to third position. Acknowledged by the Department of Education, the facility gained recognition as a preferred Grade 12 camp venue. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, success ensued.
GETTING OFF THE GROUND
Daddy then initiated a textile hub using personal capital to establish a factory employing local women. Grant funding from the Industrial Development Corporation and support from the North West Department of Economic Development facilitated growth. The factory, now employing more than 100 women, produces protective clothing for surrounding firms. Collaboration with the Energy and Water SETA led to the training of 50 young people in cable jointing and termination. An asphalt factory contributed to road building and pothole filling. Plans for a foundry and fabrication factory were under way.
SKILLS TRAINING FOR A BRIGHTER FUTURE
Mbuso Management Solutions, led by Daddy, partnered with the South African Local Government Association to enrol 150 learners from five municipalities in a one-year water treatment and reticulation learnership. The aim was to equip young people with essential skills, addressing water scarcity challenges in the North West and beyond. Daddy has stressed the importance of imparting Fourth Industrial Revolution skills, working with the government to ensure inclusivity. “I am proud that I am part of the social entrepreneurs doing just that,” he says. As the Itireleng Learning & Manufacturing Hub approaches its five-year anniversary under Mbuso Management Solutions, senior officials from government, mining houses, businesses, and organised labour have joined the celebration, recognising the hub as a transformative tool in yet another community facing economic decline. The power goes to the people, in their search for a beacon of education and civil order.