Ukhahlamba High, a school that defies the odds…big time!

Meet Thys Mokoena. He’s a large man with an even larger voice. He’s quick to smile and even quick to praise his colleagues. He’s a disciplinarian. Above all, he’s an effective teacher.

History teacher Thys Mokoena takes his Matric class through World War 1 on their first day at school last week. PICTURE: MATTHEW SAVIDES


Mokoena is the Head of Department and a history teacher at Ukhahlamba High School, a run-down facility at Dukuza, outside Bergville, in central KwaZulu-Natal. He’s been at the school since 2007 — which was the last time that the school, in an impoverished village on the banks on the Woodstock Dam, failed to get a 100% Matric pass rate. Yep, for every year since 2008 until last year, the school has never had a pupil fail Matric.

To read more about this remarkable school and their staff, check out my piece from the Sunday Times this week.


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