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Our aim is to uplift high school learners and university students, bridge the gap between academics (learners/students) and the society and eradicate socio-economic issues faced by high school learners. The organization seeks to achieve its aims by motivating, tutoring, mentoring, monitoring the academic progress and providing career guidance to high school learners and university students. 



Why We Exist: The Eastern Cape is one of the underperforming provinces in South Africa

  • Khutliso Daniels Secondary School, TEM Mrwetyana Secondary School and Nathaniel Nyaluza Secondary are listed as one of the underperforming high schools in the Makhanda District. 

  • Many schools in South Africa (particularly those in the Eastern Cape) function under poor management and governance, which has dire consequences on the academic performance. 

  • A low proportion of learners make it to grade 12 with good marks. Many are being condoned.

  • South Africa has one of the most unequal education (demography-and-financially-dependent) system in the world. This gives some learners an advantage that some cannot afford. 


The Sophumelela Youth Development Programme (SYDP) was envisioned by Mr. Sophumelela Ketelo who gathered the founding members that were needed for the organization to exist.

Henceforth, the founding members of the organization are: Mr. Sophumelela Ketelo, Miss Unabo Qanata, Mr. Sandiso Mnguni, Miss Thabelo Fana, Mr. Masixole Pakamile and Miss Brenda Sayidi. The organization was successfully recognized as a non-profit organization by the Department of Social Development from 23 November 2017. The SYDP started fulfilling its mandate as guided by the plan of action upon receiving its certificate on 8 January 2018. 

To this date, some of the founding members listed above continue to serve in various offices of the Board of Directors (BOD).


All the founding members have different life experiences but share a common goal of understanding that learners from disadvantaged backgrounds are all faced with a challenge of lack of information, support and guidance. Our desire was then to support and guide learners to reach their fullest potential. To this end, on an annual basis, the organization provides tutors to 3 subjects that have been identified to pose the greatest challenge in the 3 identified underperforming high schools in the Makhanda District. We started with only 1 school in 2018.


Among other things, the SYDP undertakes the following activities every year – Loveday Sanitary Donations, Stationary Donations, Motivational Talks, Mini-Career Exhibition, Hiking, Fun Run, Exam Prayer, Graduation Ceremony and Grocery Donation. All the tasks are youth-driven. 



Our programmes are co-created with learners, tutors and Learner Support Agents. Our after-school sessions offer a range of services including academic tutoring, motivating, mentoring, career guidance, and tackling some of the socioeconomic issues faced by the learners. Tutors are primarily sourced from Rhodes University Community Engagement (RUCE) office. Many of them are studying at university or college, while some are alumni at various institutions. 


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