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School @ the Centre of Community
 

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Endorsements

Since the establishment of the Partners for Possibility Initiative in 2010, the project has grown in stature and reputation. Our work has been endorsed by some of the country’s most influential educational thought leaders.

Download/View our complete Endorsement Document here

Download/View our letter of endorsement from the Department of Basic Education

Download/View our letter of endorsement from Premier Helen Zille

Download/View our letter of endorsement from Prof Derick De Jongh

Download/View our letter of endorsement from Jane Tsharane

Download/View our letter of endorsement from Itumeleng Kgaboesele

Download/View our letter of endorsement from Louise Brits

Download/View our letter of endorsement from Brand Pretorius

 Professor Brian O’Connell
 Former Rector and Vice-Chancellor, University of the Western Cape
“It is clear that we all underestimate just how deeply our history has hurt people and institutions, but if our country is to have any chance of transcending that hurt and if our people are to take full ownership of our future then our schools must lead the way. I believe that Symphonia has it right and that partnership with our leaders in this critical venture, our principals, will create a new environment and release the kind of positive, confident energy, supported by knowledge that will put us on a new path. I support this project unconditionally and hope sincerely that the project will be supported: for all of our sakes.” 
 
To watch videos of Prof. B. O'Connell endorsing the project, click here.
To read the full endorsement letter from Prof. Brian O' Connell, click here
 Desmond Tutu
 South African social rights activist and former Anglican bishop
“I am always moved by the number of people who are engaged in wonderful acts of transformation, of making a real difference in the world. When each of us does something good – where we are – it’s these acts of goodness that together overwhelm darkness and change the world. I warmly commend Symphonia for South Africa for bringing together citizens committed to building our country through education – such as in the PfP programme. God bless you!” 

Advocate Thuli Madonsela
 Public Protector of South Africa
Sometimes we focus on moaning, but there’s far more nobility in taking the initiative and doing something about education. There is a very clear link between educational inequality and societal inequality, and the efforts of PfP are really about lighting a candle and improving people’s lives. Business must be commended for its involvement in PfP and I encourage many others to become involved in the future.

Pravin Gordhan
South African Minister of Finance
“In today’s complex and fast-changing society, leadership is particularly challenging, whether in a school or any other institution. School principals are expected to be visionary and ethical role models who nurture and care for learners, educators and the community. PfP provides an indispensable bridge so that both principals and business leaders share these qualities, the responsibility of leading change at a school and to enrich lives. Through this process business leaders and principals develop new skills, insights and a passion for change.”

         
Mohamed Enver Surty
Deputy Minister – Department of Basic Education
“The Ministry of Basic Education recognises and appreciates the work that PfP is doing with school principals throughout the country. PfP is a useful programme for the improvement of the standard of basic education in South Africa. Additionally, PfP is in line with the National Development Plan (NDP) which calls for the Department of Basic Education to align the interests of all stakeholders to support the common goal of achieving good educational outcomes that are responsive to community needs and
economic development.”

       

Kgalema Motlanthe

Former President of the Republic of South Africa 

“Through PfP, an educational initiative, Symphonia has demonstrated the value of social partnership in tackling current national challenges, which include inequality, poverty and unemployment. As they say, education is the great equaliser and thus the surest way of helping us rebuild our society, guided by the vision of unity, democracy, non-racialism, non-sexism, justice and equality. I am convinced that this is an educational initiative whose time has come!

 Wendy Luhabe
 Economic activist and social entrepreneur
“In a world where there is a chronic leadership vacuum and pockets of excellence, I am inspired by this home-grown, innovative and sustainable solution which places education at the centre of community. We invite you to join us in creating new possibilities, new partnerships, collaborative and experiential approaches for leadership development in a changing environment that requires a new intelligence. This is essential for us to leapfrog South Africa to realise her full potential.”

 Trevor Manuel
 Former South African Minister in the Presidency for National  Planning  Commission
“The National Development Plan is all about different parts of society working with government to increase capacity. The PfP programme is exactly what is needed to make the NDP real and take our education forward. I commend the initiative for what it does for education. But I also commend the initiative for how it develops business people and gets them into communities those business people would not necessarily get involved with. That has to help nation building as well. Well done PfP.” 

        
Vassi Naidoo
Chairman Nedbank Group Limited
“The key to inclusive growth, job creation, poverty alleviation and empowerment is Education. PfP mobilises active citizenship of business leaders with school principals to strengthen leadership and management capacity at schools… a true example of nation building! I fully endorse the programme, not only because of what it does for education and skills development at schools, but for the development of business leaders as true ambassadors of business in the 21st Century. Nedbank is delighted to be working with PfP

 Dr Thabo Makgoba
 Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town. Chancellor of the University of  the Western Cape
“Symphonia for South Africa’s core aim of putting the school at the centre of communities is the only way South Africa’s basic education challenges can be addressed. I fully endorse and support this initiative which resonates well with the vision of the Anglican Board of Education of Southern Africa (ABESA) of informing, forming and transforming communities in Southern Africa. I call on all South African businesses to give generously and to partner with Symphonia for South Africa as we together provide quality education for all children in South Africa.”

Prof Mervyn King
Chairman of the IIRC and of the King Committee on Governance
 
“The goals of responsible leadership, as reflected in the various King reports on corporate governance, are today perhaps more important than at the time they were identified. Organisations have a critical role to play in addressing the social ills created by years of institutionalised discrimination and I applaud PfP for bringing together business, civil society and government in a powerful programme that works at the heart of society – in schools and school leadership.
 
PfP has proven that the business sector can be a strong and positive agent of change and their programme not only touches the communities in which they work, but they change the hearts and perspectives of the business people participating.
 
I encourage business leaders to join in this powerful movement for change and make a difference in the
critical education sector.”

  
Hixonia Nyasulu
Former Chairman of Sasol Ltd
 
“Rarely have I come across a programme that so effectively builds educational capacity, while strengthening the very fabric of our society. By bringing together the leadership capacity, business acumen and networks of corporate South Africa and the grit, heart and shoestring innovation of school principals, PfP is creating great leverage in the education sector. Business leaders are sharing their knowledge and skills while at the same time learning how to deal with ambiguity, complexity and how to influence without direct authority. School principals learn invaluable leadership skills while making the school a place of learning for leaders who are courageous enough to cross a boundary to an environment so different from their comfortable corporate office. Reconciliation in South Africa will ultimately happen when people discover each other’s humanity and develop relationships across traditional boundaries as we see happen through programmes like PfP.”

        
Moses Tembe
Deputy President of Durban Chamber of Commerce
“Truly transformative business leaders recognise that they, and their organisations, have a role to play in creating an inclusive and prosperous society. Rather than just spend money, these leaders are intellectually and emotionally invested in their corporate social responsibility projects. I commend PfP in creating a platform that allows these leaders to create lasting societal change and, in the process, be transformed themselves.”

 Bonang Mohale
 Vice President of Upstream, Chairman of Shell South Africa
“I am personally honoured to be able to endorse this amazing 3+ years initiative, PfP, for its purpose of empowering our school principals, especially in previously disadvantaged communities. Isn’t it amazing that those learners whose teachers have high expectations of them, always do well! Our beautiful country will rise or fall, not so much on the quantum of our resources, but on our ability to manage plan, lead, coordinate & organise. The principal, just like a business leader, can have up to 40% positive effect on the results of our learners. Only meaningful education can seriously address our stubbornly high and increasing levels of unemployment which lead to poverty and inequality. We need to urgently continue to ‘grow our own timber’ if we are going to be internationally competitive.”

         
Irvin Jim
General Secretary of NUMSA
“Education is one of the most powerful ways of addressing the challenges of our highly unequal society. I commend PfP for bringing together civil society and business to make a meaningful and lasting change to the prospects of children across South Africa.”

 
Prince Mashele
Commentator on South African politics and author
 
“Blaming the past for the problems we face today will never build a better future. The PfP initiative manifests the spirit of South Africans who are committed to building social bridges that will move future generations from a country of problems into a country that is filled with possibility. Education is the surest escape route out of poverty and underdevelopment, and the school is where it all begins. By focussing on improving the performance of schools, the PfP initiative has identified the key that will open our country’s ideal future.”
 
 

 Professor Jonathan Jansen
 Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State
“I challenge every company concerned with the future skills set of high school graduates to join the PfP programme in linking principals and corporate leaders in making schools better now, but also in improving our economic futures later” 

Dr Reuel J Khoza
 Former Nedbank Chairman
“There can be no partnership more commendable than those who Partner for Possibility. Our political economy is bristling with potential for all manner of possibilities. It is catalytic agents such as Partners for Possibility, that render this real. This initiative has my whole hearted support.”

Thandi Orleyn
 Founder, Director and Shareholder of Peotona Group Holdings
“Partners for Possibility exemplifies the power of collaboration across boundaries. When business leaders leave their exalted offices to meet principals in schools and principals find their voice in the company of business leaders, it is a transformational experience for both. I am inspired by the reciprocal nature of this process. We should stop talking about social cohesion. We should do projects like Partners for Possibility and work together as citizens who all care about creating a South Africa that works for all. For our future and for the sake of all our children! It is these kind of projects that will enable us to create the South Africa we all dream about.”

  
Professor Adam Habib
 Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand
“Partners for Possibility (PfP) are focused on transforming our world. They have correctly recognized that we cannot transcend our racialised past and resolve the historical disparities that we have inherited without us learning to partner one other. This is especially so in the educational arena. I therefore wholeheartedly support the innovative thinking and passion that has gone into joining top business leaders with the school principals who most urgently need access to their skills. The lessons about society’s needs, which are gained by business leaders through their interactions in this program, are equally important for advancing nation building. Well done, PfP, for breaking ground and benefitting future generations of South Africans.”

        
Lwazi Bam
Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte Africa
“Our next generation of South Africans is vulnerable. These young and determined minds need not be. Rather, they need to be led by example. They need to be able to follow in real life footsteps; to walk a path that has harnessed strength in intellect, respect in attitude, and creativity in thought. Growth of our future base of leaders is very much down to education, making it one of our top priorities, if not thé foremost focus area for us all. For professional services firms like ours, education is the difference between us continuing to be in business or not, it is the one ‘input’ that we cannot do without. The PfP initiative could, very well, hold the solution that we have been trawling to secure. At the very least, I hope this book serves as an encouragement to the many dedicated principals out there that are working against difficult odds to secure the future of our country.”

       
Brand Pretorius
Director of Companies
“I identify fully with the aims and objectives of the PfP project. In my view it addresses one of the critical success factors in education in a practical and meaningful way. I am confident that this worthy project will, over time, improve the quality and effectiveness of education in South Africa.”
 

Clem Sunter
 Respected author and public speaker
“This project goes to the heart of what is needed to improve the performance of schools in South Africa. In my experience of 12 years at the helm of Anglo’s Chairman’s Fund, the principle variable in a school’s future is the quality of the principal. A good leader will automatically hold the teachers accountable for the results inside and outside the classroom and will inspire the entire community behind the school to provide the intensity of commitment which ensures excellence. I have no hesitation in giving my whole- hearted support to this initiative.” 

Paul Harris
 Co-founder of the Rand Merchant Bank Holdings 
PfP creates the opportunity for business leaders to give more than just money they get to contribute their knowledge and skills to help lead change in education. I strongly support the idea of partnering business leaders and school principals to help transform our education system."

      
Nicolaas Kruger
Group Chief Executive: MMI Holdings
“Supporting basic education is probably one of the most important strategic investments that any South African company can make. This sector is foundational to many of the challenges we face and it holds the key to a more prosperous, and equal society. In light of this, I firmly endorse the work that PfP does in targeting educational challenges at its very root and doing so in a structured and long term way.”

    
Jay Naidoo
Co-founder and Chairman of J&J Group
“Thank you for the hard work you are doing to build the ladder for education and training for our future generations.”

 Dr Franklin Sonn
 Renowned educational academic and business leader
“There are several support groups formed to try and enhance excellence in educati on and constructively assist in bridging the gap between performing and underperforming schools in our educati on system. Unfortunately they don’t all have positive results. Symphonia for South Africa’s PfP programme is conceptually sound. It produces positive results because it is carefully designed, well executed and managed. The energy and passion of Louise van Rhyn is in itself contagious. Because I am impressed with the educati onal framework and especially the strong leadership and devoti on to task of Louise van Rhyn I happily wish it to be publicly known that I support the PfP programme.”
 
 

Panyaza Lesufi
MEC for Education in Gauteng
“If our education system was a four-legged table, two legs would be broken, and as a country we need to ensure that those legs are fixed. I’m proud to be associated with Partners for Possibility through the 66 GDE Schools project. We have to stand up and do this thing together, and I really appreciate all of PfP’s support. In me you have a partner.”

 Professor Nick Binedell
 Founding Director of Gordon Institute of Business Science
PfP, led by Louise van Rhyn and her team, is a fantastic example of how individuals can make a difference in a critically important area. The creative idea of linking business leaders to principals in a mutually valuable way has had a remarkable impact. GIBS fully support this endeavour, contributing wherever we can and we hope that this project will continue to flourish and add to the many initiatives that will change the face of public education in South Africa for the sake of our country’s stability, prosperity and long term sustainability.”

      
Mzukisi Qobo
Author and Associate Professor, South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI) - African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, University of Johannesburg
“There is growing recognition globally that the most enduring solutions to complex social challenges do not come from the government alone. Crucially, engaged citizens working in partnership with various sectors of society, including government, communities and corporate leaders are the ones who shape the trajectory of change. That is why I am thrilled to endorse PfP. I believe PfP exemplifies a civic brand of transformative leadership that is solutions-oriented and that is passionately driven to create lasting change in the education sector. PfP has demonstrated that shouting from the sidelines does not produce change. It is taking steps, however small, to grapple with one of the biggest challenges facing South Africa, that holds promise for desired change. They are, indeed, true partners for change and possibility.”

 

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