Walter Malatji dreams in red. To be more specific, wearing red. “One day I will wear a red gown when I graduate, and I will be a master.”
What inspired him most, was being one of 304 graduates at a graduation ceremony for Palabora Copper and Palabora Foundation employees and beneficiaries in April 2017.
“There were people from all levels – like me, who graduated from the Adult Education and Training (AET) Programme, to engineers and managers. I was so proud and I told myself, one day, I too will be like those engineers or managers.”
Walter graduated in Communication and English Level 3 and 4 of AET and plans to do the same in Natural Science, Mathematics and Life Orientation next year. Then he wants to do the two year Foundational Learner Competency programme that will give him access to opportunities like learnerships at the Palabora Copper mine.
Walter is also doing this for and because of his son, Kanego Condent, who is 12 years old and lives with his mom in Tzaneen. “I am panicking. I only have 12 years to do something for my son so that he can go to university.”
Walter dropped out of school in Grade 10 in 2008. He worked as a security guard at the Palabora Mining Company and although he could read and write, “I always had a problem with spelling and my English was not good.”
HIs English has improved greatly and so has his confidence. He is unemployed at the moment and lives in his sister’s house in Namakgale, while he is a doing AET at the Foundation. A family friend assists him financially “and I can say without his help, it will be very difficult.”
“People often ask me why I am doing this, and I say to them, one day you will follow me because you will see I am right. I realised if you want a better job, you need education.”
Walter’s determination is fueled by his AET facilitator Gloria Khoza, whom he says encourages them with enthusiasm and understanding: “Nothing comes from not working. You have to work, so that God can see my child is working and He can give you what you need.”