It’s often said that big things have small beginnings; Kudo Institute is a township-based higher education institution conceived at a book club by Sarah Madingwana and Kwandile Sikhosana. They joined forces and founded Rudo Institute in May 2019 ‘in a bid to bring resources and opportunities to people in the township.’

“After establishing libraries across the country, hosting workshops, writing book reviews and hosting legal clinics with the Daveyton Book Club we wanted to do more. But most importantly we wanted to build our own university and that’s how Rudo Institute was born,” says Kwandile.

“Sarah and I have trained 500 people in various courses, 180 of which are employed. The libraries are all based in disadvantaged communities. I worked on these 14 libraries, collaborating with schools, the private sector, and government institutions, to bring accessibility and educational tools to the poorest communities. I am proud of what two young leaders from Daveyton managed to do in the education sector.”

Kwandile was to soar into the sky and travel the world. But it was his humble beginnings that kept him ‘grounded’.

“I’m the prospective president of South Africa who was born and bred in Daveyton, Gauteng. The time spent at my grandmother’s house in Zenzele settlement moulded me into who I am. I remember not having electricity, a tap, or sufficient room to accommodate family members that lived in the house.

“Through all that, my grandma was able to make everything seem perfect. She would read magazine recipes and prepare gourmet meals for us and we would all sit around her coal stove listening to folktales and how economic migration affected my grandparents. These are some of my fond childhood memories and I am very proud to speak of this time as that’s the make-up of my life,” he recalls.

Kwandile has earned himself some notable stripes, or ‘bragging rights’ as the millennials would have it. He was named in the Mail & Guardian Top 200, News24’s 100 Young Mandelas of the Future and has delivered a thought-provoking TEDxPretoria titled ‘From a Shack to a President’.

“I have also represented South Africa at the British Parliament, Youth to Youth Summit by the United Nations, and Youth Legislative Parliament in the African Union amongst other platforms.”

Kwandile is also an ‘Activator’ through the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, a programme that equips the youth with innovation and project planning skills.

“Activate enabled gave me an opportunity to be in a space that accepted people like me, put me in a room with like-minded people that I could work and collaborate with, and more importantly supported my dreams since I joined in 2016,” he extended his gratitude.

Sarah is another force to be reckoned with herself, she won the PostNet Helderkruin Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 award.

“I’ve had amazing women in my corner who shaped the person I’ve become, which is why I understand the importance of lifting others as I rise.” SowetanLive quotes her.

Kwandile says their aim is to secure funding to build a property for Kudo Institute within five years.

“We believe in creating access to higher education and vocational training in previously disadvantaged communities. Through this initiative we will be providing accredited courses in business and creating employment, internship and business funding opportunities.

“We will be offering NQF level 4 business development courses which are accredited and recognized with the Sector Education and Training and South African Qualification Authority. We will also work with our employment accelerator partners, business funding partners and other social partners.”

Kwandile, or ‘the Prospective President from a Shack’ sums up with a few words of wisdom.

“No one but yourself can validate your dreams, and it’s through pain and suffering that we will all live in a world worthy of our longing. So let’s all come together to make our dreams come true and that will make the world a far better place to inhabit. Sarah and I are coming for EVERYTHING!”

***

Tell us: What are your thoughts about Kudo Institute?