Author Inga Kabane heads project to restore Butterworth High School

Inga Kabane was shocked when she visited her alma mater Butterworth High School to see how much it had deteriorated, so she set about to restore it.
ON A MISSION: Inga Kabane was shocked when she visited her alma mater Butterworth High School to see how much it had deteriorated, so she set about to restore it.

Now a self-published author raising her own family, a Butterworth High School alumnus was taken aback when she visited the school to donate her books in 2023 and saw how much her former model C school had deteriorated.

What Inga Kabane, 37, saw at her alma mater prompted her to take action to return the school to its former glory.

Kabane said she was reminded of its excellent state when she was a pupil there from 1996 until she matriculated in 2003.

“When I was nine years old in 1996, about the time when black kids were allowed into multiracial schools, I was amazed by everything the school had. We were only about 300 learners at the time, and it felt like I was in another world.

“When I was about 10, I discovered my love for reading and writing because there was a library at the school. There was so much to explore, and it shaped much of who I am — the discipline that I acquired there shaped much of the adult I ended up becoming,” Kabane said.

When Kabane published her own books, she decided to donate some to the library that had inspired the author in her.

“To my horror what I saw there was not my Butterworth High School. I was horrified. 
“Because I'm the admin of the [school's] alumni Facebook page, I did a Facebook Live to show everyone how bad it was. It was horrific. People were in tears because we knew what that school once was.”

Kabane met the school's principal, Mncedi Nohesi to brainstorm solutions.

When Nohesi welcomed her suggestions, Kabane and other alumni joined hands to restore the school.

Top of their list was to restore discipline by reintroducing prefects. The alumni donated prefect badges to the 24 pupils who were appointed. 

“The kids were surprised by this and became interested in becoming prefects,” she said. 

Their next task was to eradicate the drug abuse challenge the school faced by starting an awareness campaign which became a success. 

Kabane then spearheaded a project to equip the school’s grade R class with the necessary material to make it a conducive learning environment. Donations came from Butterworth High School alumni across the world, she said. 

A former hockey player herself, Kabane further championed the establishment of a hockey team at the school, while a plan to revive the library is in the works. 

“I started purchasing second-hand hockey sticks and was fortunate to purchase valuable hockey sticks for R20 each,” she said.

Kabane also convinced the school to bring back honours blazers. 

“It’s important for kids to be acknowledged for their hard work. I searched everywhere for the original colours but couldn’t find them, so eventually we decided to choose new colours. We bought five blazers — two for sports and three for academics. I  awarded the blazers to the kids myself. As I was awarding the blazers and shaking their hands, more and more learners promised they would be wearing their [honours] blazers the next time I came back,” Kabane said. 

Kabane was nominated by fellow Butterworth High School alumnus William Awusi.

“Ms Kabane has raised funds for school resources and for students to attend various events, liaised with former alumni and multiple stakeholders towards resourcing and capacitating the school and supporting its students.

“I applaud her for her selfless commitment to improving Butterworth High School for the benefit of current and future students,” Awusi said.



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