It's so much more than a desk: Fatherhood

According to a 2015 study (Gould and Ward), South Africa has the second-highest rate of fathers' absence, low rates of paternal maintenance for children and a high rate of abuse and neglect of children by men. It is said that 50% of the children in South Africa grow up in families with fathers in absentia.  

Thembalitsha Foundation believes that South African men can do better. Actually, we know they can. Meet Khumbula and Munuel. Both matriculated from School of Hope and now have children of their own. Below, they share a bit about their stories and what they hope for the education of  their little ones as they grow up.  


Hi, my name is Munuel Mouzinho Afonso and I'm a musician and community activist.

I was 13 years old when I started at School of Hope in Grade 8, in 2005 and 19 years old when I matriculated in 2011.

Favourite subjects/teachers?

I loved English in school, Ma’am Christelin was the best teacher. I felt I was able to share my life story best and of course English helped me write my music. My fondest school memories were writing music during my lunch breaks. 

What are your hopes for your child's future in education? 

I see a lot of myself in my son, he has that love for music and dancing. I hope to guide him to be the best of who he really wants to be. But, education will be the first and most important thing in his life… then we do the dancing and music-making in-between.

Do you think SOH has helped shaped you into the man/father you are today?

Yes, definitely. I remember one day in class we were in class and the question was brought up… “If you happened to get a girl pregnant, what would you do?”. 

...Well, I remember saying that I would be the father I never had, meaning I would be very different from my own father.  School Of Hope teachers were like family to us students, another version and example of good parents.

Munuel  and son, Unako


Hi, my name is Khumbula Mndende and I currently work for the DA. 

I was 16 years old when I started at School of Hope, in 2006 and I matriculated in 2010.

Fondest memory of School Of Hope? 

My fondest memory was going to America for a mentorship programme in 2012.

Favourite subjects or teachers? 

I had a few favourite subjects, they included: Maths, Economics and Business studies to really narrow it down. One can’t just pick a favourite teacher at School of Hope, all teachers were my favourite. 

Thoughts on the importance of education? 

Education is the key to success, it really opens up many doors and helps deliver one out of poverty.  

Do you think SOH has helped shaped you into the man/father you are today? 

Yes, it has shaped me into the man I am today. Coming from a disadvantaged background it isn’t really easy to attend what you call a “Model C’ school… but School Of Hope gave us an opportunity to a great education system that anyone could ever have asked for.

What are your hopes for your child's future in education?

I hope my children can better their education, so as to better their lives while achieving their dreams through Education.

Khumbula and his daughter, Iyanah

Through Sponsor a Desk, we know the impact is so much more than creating educational opportunities for young people.  

Data shows that access to education increases employment opportunities, which eliminate many of the stumbling blocks facing fathers today. We don't have to look very far to see that this is true-- both Munuel and Khumbula show us-- the proof is in the pudding.  


Many of our students at School of Hope wouldn't be attending school without our Sponsor a Desk initiative, will you consider sponsoring a students' education today? 

To sponsor a desk, visit:


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