At a time when South Africa’s prospects to be globally competitive are being damaged by below-par performance in mathematics amongst millions of learners, it is refreshing to find a young entrepreneur who is taking on this flaw.
For Lebang Nong, founder of Katleho Pele Education (KPEdu) and Go Maths, it began in 2004 when his mathematics teacher was indisposed over long periods following a tragic car accident. As final examinations were fast approaching, Nong took the reins and started teaching his classmates.
So impactful was his skill and hard work that his lessons soon spread to wider parts of Soweto and soon he was giving tutorials in mathematics to some 15 000 learners. Many would have dropped the subject altogether, but for Nong’s extraordinary character and a knack for turning challenges into opportunities.
Many of his prodigies have gone from zero to victory by assuming key leadership positions in key sectors of the economy, such as engineering and accounting.
Nong holds a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) Honours from the University of Witwatersrand specialising in Information Technology in Education; and a BA degree in Education majoring in Mathematics and Life Orientation. In 2006, he founded Katleho Pele Education (KPEdu) and in 2013, he established Go Maths which offers an engaging and interactive approach to learning and applying mathematics.
GoMaths has produced top learners in Tembisa, 2018, who in turn received scholarships to further their education at university level.
The impact of the organisation was also felt in Ganyesa, North West, where the matric pass rate increased, with many more learners qualifying for university and college education and training.
“Teaching is a journey. Whilst it has its ups and downs, I find that teaching affords me the golden opportunity to break barriers to quality livelihoods, and removes limitations. In that way, young people can play a more meaningful role in society whilst at the same time being able to achieve their dreams for a better tomorrow, regardless of their family background or circumstances,” Nong says.
He was listed as one of the 100 Top influential South Africans, 2017. Last year he was also profiled on the Universal Channel as one of the inspirational and best teachers recognised globally. He is also a founding member of the Soweto Hub, an organisation under the World Economic Forum. Nong tutors Mathematics in primary schools, secondary schools, ABET and university students (1st years).
In 2013, he was listed as one of the Top 100 Brightest Young Minds in South Africa by Avance Media (landing in the top 16), and he was voted the most influential in the category of philanthropy and social enterprise.