Progress in South Africa


The ‘Sandwich Lady’ starts most of her weekdays preparing sandwiches for each of the boys who attend Jim’s or Janet’s after-school mentoring or tutoring sessions. All the boys are hungry after a full day at school, but some also lack sufficient food at home.


L to R: Luyolo (16) and Siyathemba (16)

Two of the Bulele members from Percy Mdala High School fooling around after our most recent meeting.


Akhona (16)

Akhona has a new job working for a reputable house painting and renovation contractor in Knysna! This photo shows him holding the white overalls Jim delivered prior to his first day of work.


Acona (16)

5:20pm just as Akhona arrived home from day 2 on the job (work commences at 7:15am). He loves his new job, and the adult literacy program he also attends.

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Some of the youth Jim mentors at a local high school.


The boys, aged 14 to 18, have been quite cooperative and there has been some meaningful progress. However, it remains a complex and serious issue.


Bulele mentorship group at Concordia High School

Two representatives from the Khayamandi Foundation (Augusta, Georgia) spent last week in Knysna to further assess needs within the township. Recently retired, Kurt (seated at left) and Coop (blue shirt on right) focused on identifying the nature of projects Khayamandi may wish to undertake in Knysna.


L to R: Siyabulela, Buntu, Kurt, Thembinkosi, Phumlani

Kurt and Coop accompanied Janet, Jim, and our friends Ella and Penny, to learn even more about our township initiatives. It also served as a wonderful opportunity for the boys to interact with Coop and Kurt and learn how both men approached their education and successful careers. It was a fun time for everyone.


Grade 8 tutoring group

Coop (at blackboard) is a Civil Engineer and eagerly seized the opportunity to help Janet tutor the boys in math.


Masibulele (age 19, grade 12) and his little friend

Positive Change in South Africa (source: The Long View: Getting Beyond the Drama of South Africa’s Headlines, J.P. Landman)

The SA fertility rate (births per female) is currently 2.4 yet was 5.8 in the 1970’s. It remains 5.0 across most of sub-sarahan Africa.

Since 2009: GDP growth of 2.8% in SA exceeds population growth of 1%. Employment growth has been 1.5%.

Sunny and hot with mostly clear skies today in Knysna. Jim & Janet. 










More Youth & Needs



L to R: Siyambonga, Ntokozo, Siyathemba, Sonwa

Meet the 2 newest members of the Bulele mentorship group at Percy Mdala High School. Siyambonga (far left) and Sonwa (far right) are both in grade 8 and were recently invited to join based on the priority they place on education and doing well at school.


L to R: Kweila, Siyambonga, Ntokozo, Siyathemba, Sonwa, Siyabonga.

Six of the eight members of the Bulele mentorship group which was established 2 years ago, ranging in age from 13 to 17 (grades 8 to 11). Luyolo was absent due to his participation in a writing competition and Onke was attending a public speaking competition.


L to R: Oyama, Somila, Janet

Janet’s newest student is Oyama (far left) who is 17 years old and repeating grade 9. Oyama’s father died a number of years ago and his mother died 1 year ago. Her death required that he move to Knysna to live with his Aunt. Oyama’s older brother, Wanga, commenced a computer science degree in February 2015 at the University of the Western Cape and is a very positive role model to Oyama.


Robin (age 18)

Jim started mentoring Robin 10 days ago after being introduced to him by his older brother, Rieced, who Jim met 1 year ago. Robin graduated high school in December 2014 with a Bachelor’s Certificate, thereby qualifying him for acceptance into university degree programmes. His interests include becoming a high school teacher and he plans to commence university in January 2016. Robin’s home situation is challenging in a number of ways, which includes an extreme shortage of food. It is a very difficult situation for him and his 2 younger sisters and largely explains his decision to take a gap year and seek temporary employment. Robin & Jim will be working closely to make university a reality for this fine young man.


Afternoon sun filtering through the trees around Jim & Janet’s house in Canada, February 28, 2015. Thank you to our neighbours Sharon and Lincoln who submitted this photo. Now you know why we leave Canada during the Canadian winter!