These represent some of the highlights of my journey with Education Africa since 1989. I wish to emphasise that these achievements are as much those of the people who have worked with me at Education Africa over the years, and who share my commitment to deliver meaningful change to the impoverished communities that we serve. Together, and with the support of our donors, we have been able to Educate • Equip • Empower and I look forward to continuing on this journey with them for many years to come.
- James is named as one of the awardees of the 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Awards, an international award which honours social innovation and change-making in the field of child and youth development. The Jacobs Foundation is based in Switzerland.
- Education Africa hosts the first ever SAMUN alumni cocktail party and panel discussion to facilitate ongoing relations with alumni and introduce their employers to Education Africa and the SAMUN project
- The first ever Education Africa Education Africa Executive Experience ‘A Day in the Life of a Prisoner’ is held. This initiative is in partnership with Robben Island Museum and encompasses an exclusive overnight experience on Robben Island.
- CNN International Inside Africa produces a three-part documentary series on the African marimba and uses Education Africa as the backbone for the documentary.
- Friends of Education Africa in Germany gGmbH is registered in Germany, with James as a Trustee of the Board..
- Education Africa co-hosts the first Sounds of Celebration concert in partnership with the Sydenham Hebrew Congregation. Proceeds of this annual event go towards equipping marimba hubs for the Education Africa International Arts & Culture project.
- Hosted the Education Africa Strategic Development Workshop which was facilitated by Deloitte. Representatives from our international support structures, key donors and stakeholders attended this 2-day event.
- The first Education Africa International Marimba and Steelpan Festival is held. This event is held annually and has grown to become the biggest Festival of its kind in the world.
- Meets Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King where they spend several hours together at Cornell University with the SAMUN Model UN delegation to the US
- Opened Masibambane College High School, which was built from funding sourced by James from the Bentall Foundation in Canada.
- Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is the 4th recipient of the Education Africa Lifetime Achievement Award for Africa. We took a marimba band on tour for this event and the band performed live on stage with Gloria Gaynor singing her hit song “I will Survive”.
- The Education Africa International Arts & Culture Project is launched, and we take the Masibambane College Marimba band on a cultural tour to Vienna. This is the first of many international cultural tours for marimba bands. Subsequent tour destinations over the years include New York, London, and Slovenia, and the bands are invited to perform at a number of high profile events.
- Sir Richard Branson is the 3rd recipient of the Education Africa Lifetime Achievement Award for Africa. The gala evening takes place at the Mayfair Hotel in London.
- Launched Education Africa’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme and hosted the first graduation ceremony for caregivers that have participated in our programme. This is the first of many graduation ceremonies in future years. Today our programme has been developed further and our graduates receive NQF level 4 accreditation.
- Education Africa Inc. is registered as a Foundation in the USA, with James is a Trustee.
- Friends of Education Africa UK is launched, with James as a Trustee.
- Friends of Education Africa Vienna is registered as a Verein in Austria, with James as a member of the Advisory Committee.
- Met Sir Bob Geldof who was the recipient of the 2nd Education Africa Lifetime Achievement Award for Africa.
- Co-hosted the first Education Africa Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony in New York. At this event James received a Proclamation from the City of New York recognising the Walter Sisulu Scholarship Fund’s “outstanding contribution to South Africa and to humanity”.
- Hosted a celebration of the life of the late Walter Sisulu and produced a legacy pack on his life.
- Launched Education Africa’s Social Architecture Project. 14 pre-schools have been built to date in under-resourced communities.
- Proud to announce that Education Africa’s Model UN Debating Competition has been awarded the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award – an award which recognises programme excellence in furthering the ideals of the United Nations.
- Visited Masibambane College with both Walter Sisulu and Helen Suzman.
- Walter Sisulu surprised James at his office and presents him with a signed copy of his memoire, I will go singing, in which he speaks of his life and the struggle for freedom in South Africa.
- Launched Edu-bike Africa, a cross-curricular outcomes-based education programme which to date has reached an estimated 167 000 learners.
- Was invited by the Governor of Osaka, Japan, Mr Knock Yokahama to visit Osaka. The city was a supporter of Education Africa’s Cycle Aid for Africa project in the early years.
- Revived the Model United Nations General Assembly Competition for South African High Schools (now known as SAMUN) in partnership with UNESCO and the National Department of Education. Over 11 000 learners have participated in the project and through its educator development, the reach of the project extends to an estimated 1.2 million learners in just the past 10 years.
- Published the first of six Education Africa Forum books. President Nelson Mandela wrote a message of support for this publication.
- Established Education Africa’s Cycle Aid for Africa project. Deputy President Thabo Mbeki spoke at the official launch. To date 11 000 bicycles have been distributed to under-resourced schools in rural communities.
- Together with Walter Sisulu was instrumental in the founding of Masibambane College – a school in Orange Farm built with funding by the City of Vienna, sourced by Education Africa.
- Launched the Walter Sisulu Scholarship Fund together with Walter and Albertina Sisulu and accompanied Walter Sisulu on an awareness trip to the United States. Had the opportunity to meet President Bill Clinton in Washington DC and Boutros Boutros-Ghali at the United Nations.
- aunched the first series of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Presidential medallions at the South African Mint. President Mandela was there to officially strike the first 5oz gold medallion.
- Was presented with an award from the Hostels Peace Initiative for Education Africa’s “Contribution to peace and to bringing about a New South Africa”.
- Worked directly with Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Thabo Mbeki and other senior ANC members and was entrusted to facilitate the production of No Easy Walk to Freedom. In this historic video, James organised a coalition of South African leaders to unite their voices and call for the lifting of sanctions against South Africa, and to invite the world in the process of reconstruction of the country. The SABC would not air this video as Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika was part of the sound track, and James was able to persuade MNet to air the video in South Africa.
- Invited to be a guest speaker at Chris Hani’s funeral.
- Walter Sisulu introduces James to Nelson Mandela. They met on a number of occasions over the years, and as President Nelson Mandela attended a number of Education Africa functions.
- Officially registered Education Africa as a Section 21 Non Profit Company, Association not for Gain.
- Met Walter Sisulu and was mentored by him until his passing. Over the years James forged a close bond with Walter Sisulu who became a strong supporter of Education Africa. James attributes his success today to Walter Sisulu who moulded him into the person he is today.
- Founded Education Africa
- Met Helen Suzman who became a Patron of Education Africa until her passing.
- Met Aggrey Klaaste who became the first chairman of Education Africa, a position he held until his passing.