2011 Stars in Education Winners

The Stars in Education Awards 2011 announced the top three winners and worthy finalists on 5 October 2011 in celebration of World Teacher’s Day.
Congratulations to our top three winners!

1st place: Phuti Ragophala – OVC Centre featuring Permaculture and IT
Pula- Madibogo Primary School, Mankweng,  Limpopo
2nd place: Mmalenala Sekotlong
– OVC Centre with vegetable tunnel and chicken farm
Tintela Primary School, Koringpunt, Limpopo
3rd place: Samuel Mphuthi
– Engaging Youth in Charity
Rekgotsofetse Secondary School, Paul Roux, Free State

Stars in Education Awards visited Phuti Ragophala’s project in Limpopo

and well done to our worthy top ten…  

4. Mmipe Mokgehle - ICT and Indigenous Knowledge, Mankweng, Limpopo

5. Simon Dlamini  - OVC Meal Centre, Umlazi, Durban

6. Kritisha Rajcoomar  -  Phoenix Environ Team (PET), Phoenix, Durban

7. Sibongile Rose Khosa - OVC project and vegetable garden, Hibberdene, KZN

8. Brenda Bukelwa Joyi – Soul Buddyz and teen pregnancy awareness project, King William’s Town, Eastern Cape

9. Ruth Hlahu – Permaculture project, Lebowakgomo,  Limpopo

10. Dlayani Enock Shishenge – Eqinisweni Poetry Club, Tembisa, Johannesburg 


Mrs Phuti Ragophala  - Pula Madibogo Itsosheng Permaculture Orphans and Vulnerable Children Resource Centre, Pula Madibogo Primary School, Mankweng, Limpopo


Stars in Education would like to commend Mrs Phuti Ragophala for turning a former dumping site into what she calls a “forest of food” which benefits community members, orphans, nearby orphan homes and neighbouring schools. Mrs Ragophala also scooped the ISPA Super Teacher of the year 2011 for her passion for IT. She organised computer training for 25 project members, links many school projects to computers and encourages all to join her quest to “Teach a Teacher” about IT.  The project also partnered with the Department of Agriculture to develop a poultry farm, supplying the school with 900 laymash chickens to help feed the community. Overall we would like to honour Mrs Ragophala for her understanding of the essential role parents and community play in educating and caring for children.


Mrs Sekotlong  - Orphans and Vulnerable Children Drop in Centre – Tintela Primary School, Koringpunt, Limpopo.

The only thing that seems to surpass Ms Sekotlong’s passion for supporting the rights of orphans and vulnerable children seems to be her talent for inviting partnership from sponsors and experienced partners. She has motivated for support for a vegetable tunnel that feeds 700 families, egg laying chickens, food parcels, RDP houses, uniforms for 87 learners, counselling and skills training for youth. She personally sees to learners who are exploited or need to go to the police station or the doctor.She has stood alongside youth in highly trying times and gone beyond the call of duty. In extreme circumstances, Ms Sekotlong certainly shines!


Samuel Mphuti - Engaging youth in Charity – Rekgotsofetse Secondary school , Paul-Roux, Free State


Moved by the poverty in Fateng Tse Ntsho township outside Bethlehem, Samuel Mphuti mobilised youth to support their community. Adopt a Granny/ Grandpa is a powerful program encouraging youth to serve an elderly person by regularly cleaning their home. In between this work Samuel also found time to write a moving novel about the struggles of two teen girls(see  www.samphuthi.com).  Samuel has organised clothing collections and fundraising events to support the poor and partnered with The Ratanang Group and Save the Children to find the most worthy families to support. He’s also an entrepreneur who has empowered youth and Matriculants by employing them in a typing shop which creates jobs and supports their studies. We admire you for inspiring our youth to excel in serving others.

4. Mmipe Mokgehle- Indigenous Knowledge Systems for  Biodiversity Conservation – Toronto Primary School, Mankweng, Polokwane, Limpopo


Information and Communications Technology, is the way of the future and is one way that our communities can access vital information to improve the conditions in which they live. Mr Mokgehle holds a masters degree in Indigenous Knowledge Systems, has multiple IT qualification and has won various awards. His programme has encouraged both the wise use of indigenous knowledge to create vital herbal medicines but also training in ICT which develop over 25000 youth in the community around him. His programme has set up computer labs in 47 schools, with a total of 987 computers added to schools and 30 000 learners impacted. His school projects include 2 gardens (one food, one medicinal), a chicken coop and livestock to train learners and the community in farming skills. For developing your own skills in order to benefit your community, we honour you.

5. Simon Dlamini - OVC Meal and Care Centre - Ogwini Comprehensive High School, Umlazi, Durban


After a 2004 departmental census of learners showed that 10% of learners were orphans and unemployment was rife, Simon Dlamini decided to act. With a group of concerned teachers, he decided to counter the devastating effect that HIV/AIDS and poverty by providing learners with one meal a day. At first financed by teachers and parents in the school, they then wisely sourced sponsorship from SAB and Old Mutual to set up a kitchen. Fundraising is ongoing in order to employ the two full time “aunts” to act as mother figures and ensure the children receive this vital meal. For your longstanding commitment and leadership we salute you Mr Dlamini.

6. Kritisha Rajcoomar -  Enviro Education – Rustic Manor Primary School, Phoenix, Durban

Teacher Mrs Rajcoomar founded the Phoenix Enviro Team eight years ago. At first the team was 3 members strong and influenced ten schools to care for their environment. Eight years on the PET Mrs Rajcoomar still leads a committee of government officials, corporate and institutions. It impacts learners in 120 schools through projects like community cleanups, workshops, arbour day, vegetable garden planting, performing arts competitions, Enviro market days and more. This year Mrs Rajcoomar heads up The Enviro Plant for the Planet Academy, training 149 learners from 34 schools as climate justice ambassadors for COP17, Durban.  For your longstanding service and leadership we salute you!

7. Sibongile Khosa-  Hlalaleni Vegetable Garden/ OVCs - Rosettenville Primary School, Hibberdene, KZN

Sibongile Khosa leads an initiative to develop a School garden that is worked on by 50 community members, who feed their families from the garden. Learners make up the School garden committee (some of whom are OVCs) who are then trained to grow organic vegetables and set up their own home gardens. A merry-go-round water pump has been successfully installed as have 6 donated rain water tanks. Mrs Khosa, her learners and community members have won Eco-School second position in 2010, Edu- Plant 2nd place trophy won in 2010 and their large school garden was featured on SABC2 in 2010. In 2011 they are proud to launch a project called "Happy Kids – which involves learners raising and selling plants for money as their own small business. Mrs Khosa, “Well done!” for wisely partnering with other organisations to make your hard work go further.

8. Brenda Bukelwa Joyi – Soul Buddyz Teen Pregnancy Awareness, Sesethu Primary School, King William’s Town, Eastern Cape

Brenda Bukelwa Joyi is a school principal with a passion for supporting teenagers and for Soul Buddyz – an amazing programme where teachers get to facilitate learners getting involved in community projects. After achieving platinum for Soul Buddy Status at one school, Brenda Joyi had to relocate to a new school and immediately started up a new Soul Buddyz team which presented teen pregnancy awareness campaign using poetry, drama and stories from real life. Four Grade 6 children selected to pilot a group of peer group trainers to prepare learners for high school. For your courage and dedication no matter what, we honour you Brenda.

9. Ruth Hlahu - Permaculture Garden, Piet. N. Aphane High School, Lebowakgomo, Limpopo.

Since 2001, Ruth Hlahu has headed up a committee that has excelled in creating a garden and orchard that feeds a community.  Community members get involved, area cleanups get held and learners  take a very active role in ensuring the garden is taken care of. Mrs Hlahu has been key in getting support for the garden from Lotto and playing fields for the school are a new project. She has also taken up every opportunity to become trained in her field so that she may benefit the project even more. We salute Mrs Ruth Hlahu for her hard work and leadership over the last ten years!

10. Enock Shishenge, Eqinisweni Poetry Group - Eqinisweni Secondary School, Ivory park, Tembisa, JHB


Enock Shishenge helps the townships of Johannesburg come alive with artistic expression as he leads youth in expressing themselves through poetry in their mother tongue. Enock has seen the power of poetry and hip hop to empower youth, build self esteem and keep them from friends and behaviours that would damage their future. The youth have performed their own poetry and hip hop at events like a Bill of Responsibilities Workshop (Alexandra Township) and enjoyed an exchange trip to Wales in July 2011. At the Beacons of Excellence Awards in 2011, learners had the opportunity to perform for deputy President of South Africa, Mr. Kgalema Motlanthe.  Enock Shishenge we respect your drive and passion to see youth uplifted!


Stars in Education Awards is an annual national teachers competition recognising teachers for going above and beyond the call of duty in projects outside the classroom. In 2012 the awards celebrate their fifth year and are sponsored by Transnet and Macmillan.

We believe that every teacher is a “Star” in their own right and The Stars in Education Awards is our way of celebrating and rewarding the teachers who have gone the extra mile in making a positive difference in the lives of their learners and their surrounding communities.
The Stars in Education initiative recognises the central role that teachers play in our communities, and provides a platform for key role players to make a difference in education and communities. Of  8 national teachers' awards in South Africa, the Stars in Educations Awards is the only award that rewards teachers for their non-curricular contributions. The top three winners receive R10 000 towards their project and we look forward to growing the competition in future years.

Each year the Argo team is overwhelmed by the dedication and passion of teachers running the projects.  The first Stars in Education Awards was hosted on 10 July 2008. It was a great success, bringing together various organizations ranging from the National Department of Education, corporate South Africa as well as educational institutions.


If you would like to find out more about  becoming a sponsor or how to act as media partner to the  Stars in Education Awards, email Argo on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , our sponsorship manager, Lauren Bright would be happy to give you more information.

About The Sponsor, Via Afrika

The Stars in Education Awards, which were initiated by Argo, a multi-media publisher focused on the educational arena, and sponsored by Via Afrika, a publisher of top quality educational textbooks and literature serve to celebrate and reward teachers who have gone the extra mile in making a positive difference in the lives of their learners on a non curricular platform.

In the true spirit of nation building, Via Afrika is proud to have been part of the 2008/09/10 Stars in Education Awards.

These awards recognise and showcase those educators who go beyond the call of duty to ensure that the learners and communities they serve are taken care of. Via Afrika is humbled by the various community building projects implemented by these unsung heroes in their respective areas.

For example, wonderful initiatives in gardening, literacy and child care were undertaken. They congratulate the winners, but more importantly, congratulate all the participants in this worthy exercise. Via Afrika hope that their small contribution will make a huge difference in the lives of the beneficiaries of the projects.

Via Afrika is also the exclusive media sponsor for the 2011 Stars in Education Awards.

About The Media Partner, Metro FM

Metro FM has come on board as a media partner for The Stars in Education Awards and is flighting 26, 30 second radio advertisements from mid July to 31 August 2011. This campaign is targeted at generating entries for the 2011 Stars in Education Awards.
METRO FM is a music focused progressive lifestyle brand. It epitomizes black success and leadership, with attitude. Its listeners are high achievers with a lot of style, confidence, potential and the enviable ability to feel at home in modern South Africa. Its playlist and genres includes R&B, Hip Hop, Kwaito, House, Contemporary Jazz, Gospel.

Service Offerings
•    Entertainment - music, features and competitions
•    Information - news, weather, sport, financial, and traffic reports
•    Community - fundraising, sponsorships, events
•    Advertising platform
•    Lifestyle - reflect the social, economic, developmental, fashion, etc.

Entries open: November each year / Entries close: 31 August each year
Visit to winning school: World Teacher’s Day – 5 October


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