A group of students are driving a #WriteALetter campaign, which aims to encourage and motivate matriculants through the academic year.
Boitumelo Mbangeni, a second year LLB student, and seven other colleagues, from various academic institutions including UP, NWU, UCT, and Oxbridge Academy are behind the campaign. According to Mbangeni, she and her counterparts started the We Make A Change organisation in 2017, when they were in grade11. Their objective was to create a platform to help their community and their former school, Princess High School.
She says that their first project was tutoring Mathematics and English to primary school learners in Soweto, during the school holidays, that was where they realised that helping learners in lower grades is what they loved doing. Mbangeni said, “We are presently driving a #WriteALetter campaign, through which are writing letters to matriculants.” She says that they chose this initiative because several members of their team are students at different higher education institutions in different parts of the country. “I came up with the idea in order to ensure that we are all involved as a team,” said Mbangeni.
She added that they asked students from different academic institutions to write letters to their “matric-selves”. She mentions that “the letter could offer tips, guidelines, and motivational messages, to get matriculants through the academic year successfully”. She further states that “the letters could be in any format”. Mbangeni said that they have already received 110 letters in different formats, including poetry.
“Their objective was to create a platform to help their community and their former school”
Mbangeni mentioned to PDBY that they are hoping to create a positive space for matriculants. “When I was in matric, I felt alone, and I experienced a lot of pressure from everyone in my circle of life,” she said. Mbangeni and her team want matriculants to know that they are not alone. “I want them to receive different perspectives of what the year can be like, from different people. I hope that this will motivate them to do their best, and to be the best versions of themselves,” she adds.
The team initially planned on printing the letters to personally distribute to different schools, however, they decided against it in an effort to save paper. They then decided to compile an e-book consisting of all the letters that they have received, which they are currently working on, and they intend to distribute it on social media platforms. She further mentioned that “this is the best way to get the letters to the learners especially considering the national lockdown that [South Africans] are faced with.”
“I hope that this will motivate them to do their best and to be the best versions of themselves”
Svenito Sivanda, a teacher at one of the local schools in the Free State province told PDBY that “this is an amazing initiative. I believe that it will contribute very positively to the lives of the current matriculants, and the academic lives of many other learners.” He added that he hopes that the e-book reaches all matriculants, in all parts of the country.
The President of the Representative Council of Learners (RCL) from Princess High School, Keatleretse Ramapatsi, said that she feels that this is a great initiative, because “as matriculants, [they] go through quite a lot emotionally, psychologically, and physically, therefore, [they] appreciate everyone that is willing to help [them]”. She added that she believes that this campaign will change their lives, and that Mbangeni and the others in the #WriteALetter campaign “are really good people who are always willing to help others. I do not know how I would have made it this far in matric without their help”.
Mbangeni said that they are still accepting letters from students and former matriculants. She mentioned that “[they] need as many letters as [they] can get. The letters can be sent to [Boitumelo] via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively via WhatsApp on 0723370850”.
visual: Zurika Raubenheimer