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How a maths teacher and ‘boardroom’ meetings gave o...



How a maths teacher and ‘boardroom’ meetings gave one school the competitive edge

Living up to the Acudeo College Crystal Park motto #CreatingMyFuture are (from left) Ofentse Moraka, Marcus Shabangu, Kito Klaas, Bulelani Mashinini, Lathitha Mafika, Botshelo Mwale, Edward Madubela and Atlegang Letsolo. (Photo: Supplied)

'Mr Mahlangu is the best teacher I have ever had. He ... inspires us and encourages us. He can make the most boring thing interesting and now I am an investor for life. He has taught me so much in a short space of time,' says Lathitha Mafika, a Grade 9 pupil at Acudeo College Crystal Park in Benoni and leader of the Brand Nubian team. 

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

Since 2019, mathematics teacher Giba Mahlangu has been offering his high school students an extracurricular class – The Boardroom – teaching them all about entrepreneurship, current affairs and economics. There are about 50 participating students this year, with each grade selecting representatives to sit on an executive committee. 

Committee members are taught leadership skills and learn about the importance of succession plans in business. Mahlangu says most of the school’s prefects and leaders come out of The Boardroom. 

Team participation at the school has more than doubled from seven teams competing in 2020 to about 15 teams this year. Mahlangu gets the children interested by relating the material to something they are already interested in. 

This year, the theme The Boardroom is following is the history of hip-hop, which is where the teams got the inspiration for their team names. In addition to Eric B and Rakim (a hip-hop duo famous in the late ’80s) and Brand Nubian (well known for their hip-hop albums in the ’90s), other team names include the Beastie Boys, Run-DMC and Jam Master Jay. 

“We have seen a tremendous growth in interest in the JSE Challenge and excitement levels are still at their peak. All the children are keen participants, and we have a number of Grade 8 children already indicating their interest for next year,” Mahlangu says. 

The team members of Brand Nubian, which won the speculator category for August, are Lathitha Mafika, Atlegang Letsolo, Edward Madubela and Botshelo Mwale. 

“When I first started the challenge, I knew nothing about investing and now I feel I understand the markets very well. As Robert Kiyosaki says, you must learn how to make your money work for you rather than just working for your money. 

“My dad gave me the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad sometime last year and at the time I found it difficult to relate to what it was saying but now it’s all starting to make sense,” Mafika says. 

He says the turning point for his team came when they started looking at market movements on a daily basis rather than weekly and following share price movements more closely. The team also invested in penny stocks. 

The team members of Eric B and Rakim, which won the equity category for August with portfolio growth of 5.9%, are Marcus Shabangu (team leader), Bulelani Mashinini, Ofentse Moraka and Kito Klaas.  

“This challenge and our work with Mr Mahlangu has taught us a lot about investing, looking at stocks, buying and selling shares. We started reading financial newspapers and realised a few businesses were dragging our portfolio down. We sold Aspen Pharmacare and bought Capitec. Although Aspen has great long-term prospects, it was falling in the short term,” Shabangu says. 

He says the challenge has been a wonderful opportunity, and they all plan to participate again next year. Members of The Boardroom also participate in the Allan Gray Entrepreneurship Challenge and EasyEquities visits the school each year so that students can open trading accounts.   

August monthly winners

The winners announced for the month of August were: 

Income category: MP Unshaken Traders from Mpumelelo Secondary School with income of R17,088.19.

Equity category: Eric B and Rakim from Acudeo College Crystal Park with portfolio growth of 5.90%.

Speculator category: Brand Nubian from Acudeo College Crystal Park with portfolio growth of 11.52%. 

Speculator university category: Limpopo Goes to the Market from University of Cape Town with portfolio growth of 32.81%. DM168

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper which is available for R25 at Pick n Pay, Exclusive Books and airport bookstores. For your nearest stockist, please click here.


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All Comments 4

  • A teacher like this deserves 5 times his salary. Inspiring learners to enjoy learning, to help them understand how finances work (with the associated understanding of maths, graphs, trends and more), to get them excited about new skills has massive value, to instil in them the benefits of teamwork, not only to those learners but to South Africa. Well done Mr Mahlangu.

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