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Top Limpopo maths teacher began his academic journey counting cattle

Top Limpopo maths teacher began his academic journey counting cattle
Mpho Manamela. (Photo: Supplied)

From spending his early days counting his grandfather’s cattle in Moletjie, Limpopo, to clinching top provincial honours for excellence in mathematics education, the journey of Mpho Manamela (29) is nothing short of inspirational.

Earlier this month, the Bokamoso Senior Secondary School teacher was honoured with Limpopo’s Excellence in Teaching Mathematics accolade in this year’s National Teaching Awards.

Manamela emphasised that a teacher’s positive energy, when genuine, can naturally resonate with and inspire pupils.

“Each and every child can pass mathematics; it only depends on how we engage them on the subject. There are many physicians and mathematicians who know about the subject, but the delivery to the learners is a challenge. A good teacher breaks down complex mathematics to the learners’ level,” Manamela said.

His academic journey includes completing a master’s degree in under two years, with the official conferment in October 2022.

Manamela plans to complete his doctoral studies by the age of 30.

Recognising challenges from his own experience, he initiated the Manamela Foundation to help students with university applications and provide essential supplies to those in need.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Limpopo lad’s obsession with Isaac Newton and science puts him on the path to Oxford

Under Manamela’s guidance, maths marks have improved, with his pupil Lefophana Nthabiseng achieving Limpopo’s top marks. With bated breath, Manamela eagerly anticipates the results of the prestigious National Teaching Awards next month in Johannesburg. “People overlooked me as a boy from a rural area growing up, but now I look forward to the national results that will hopefully set me apart from my colleagues on a larger scale,” he said. DM

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R29.

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